As I’ve been thinking about writing this, I’ve been doing a little research (otherwise known as googling) into what others have to say on the subject.
Maybe it’s because our Internet has been crawling along at a snail’s pace, making the research painfully slow and boring, but I have been completely unimpressed by what I’ve found.
Most of it consisted of keeping up on maintenance veterinary visits so that you don’t end up with a sick dog or cat, or looking for manufacturers coupons on animal feed.
Those things surely can help, but since we’ve had the coupon thing drilled into us by tv shows, blogs, and financial gurus over the past couple years, I’m going to assume that this is a no brainer and not even go there.
So what are some ways to make animal feeding less expensive? Here’s a few ideas.
my parent’s dog… who likes to hang out on the car.
- Dogs – find a local butcher shop/processor and ask about dog bones. Beef and/or deer bones (with some meat still on them) can often be had in fairly large quantities for very little money. The other huge money saver is table scraps, which, I’m sure, your dog would never let you forget.
Not very pretty, but she was a good “mouser”
- Cats – felines love table scraps as well. They especially love the (raw) trimmings from whatever meat you prepare for your family – at least, ours always have.
For both cats and dogs, my mom has always taken the parts of an animal that aren’t fit for human consumption (parts with lots of sinew, the fat, etc.) and either canned or frozen them. I wish I could give a number as to how much cash this has saved them over the years – because it’s a lot – but I really have no idea.
- Birds – firstly, for those who don’t know, you can usually find bird feed much more cheaply at feed stores (the ones horse and cattle owners patronize) than an outlet stpre, or Walmart.
Anyway, here’s the idea. If you keep birds, why not exchange your ornamental pets (parakeets, cockatiels,) for a chicken or two? They wouldn’t make any more of a mess – less mess even – they’d make less noise, they’d make fertilizer out of your kitchen scraps, AND they’d provide you with some eggs. In other words, they’d be cheaper, quieter, and contribute to the family economy. The only draw back I can see with keeping a chicken in the living room is they may need more space. I’ve seen up to three chickens kept in a space the size of a baby crib.
- Goats – speaking of animals that pay their own way, maybe you could consider a backyard goat. They’d save you money by eating your lawn instead of you having to maw it, and provide you with delicious, healthy milk. It’s a two-fer!
Hey, there’s enough cow pics on this blog. Time for a horse or two don’t you think?
- Horses and cows. As is true to some extent with all animals, there’s really no way to get around the fact that horses and cows are expensive. In terms of feed, you either need pasture land they can graze (expensive), or you need to buy hay (expensive). Usually a combination of both – unless grass grows 365 days a year in your climate. One thing you can do is to minimize the amount of grain you feed these animals. Cows were not created to consume grains in significant quantities, and horses tend to be healthier on a low grain diet as well. By feeding more hay/grass, and less grain, you’ll not only lessen you feed bill, but your long-term veterinary bill will be greatly reduced as well.
Those are some of the things we practice for keeping our animal feed bill down (except our chickens stay outside ).
I hope you find something helpful in all that.