Pets & Livestock
Just some general words about the category of livestock. We've seen
many people move here and buy one or two of everything. They think it'll
be fun for the kids. The problem is, they know nothing about any of the
animals they buy and often are responsible directly or indirectly for
their ill health or death. Please, learn first. Then if you're willing
to make the sacrifices and financial commitment necessary to own and
properly care for animals, go for it.
Just remember that for every critter you have, you're also adding
work for yourself or your family. Are you willing to make that commitment
for the long term?
for Livestock is not Horseplay!
When one of our
neighbors moved in, they bought some of every kind of critter
imaginable. They'd inhumanly slaughter the pigs, and bought a
beautiful yearling horse and put it on a pasture ...
There are two
major problems. Horses are herding animals, so keeping one by
itself is like torture. But that wasn't all they did. They NEVER
fed the horse, so when the poor thing ate the grass off the
pasture, she just starved.
tried to offer advice, offered feed for free .. and finally
called animal control. They came out and instructed the owner
... to no avail. Finally, about 10 horse lovers and breeders
decided we'd wage war on animal control so they would actually
pick the animal up while it could still be rehabilitated.
Finally they picked her up. She was 70 pounds underweight and at
2 and a half, she had never had any shots, had never been
Know what you're
getting into if you're going to raise animals. There are lots of
very nice people out here who are willing to offer up
information and help, but you have to do your part as well.
It seems everybody loves horses. They're beautiful and we humans have
quite an attachment to them. But, they're big. They eat a lot. They need
training. And if they're untrained, can kill you or a family member
quite easily. Don't get me wrong, they may not kill you on purpose, and
they certainly don't kill humans for food, but being kicked in the head,
thrown from a not well-trained horse, or being crushed in between one
and it's stall or corral fence can be deadly.
If you're going to have horses, and haven't had them before, either
buy well-trained horses and allow a budget for a trainer to work with
you and the horse to teach you how to saddle, ride, etc. Or, if you're
determined to get young or untrained animals, then you'll need a much
bigger budget for a trainer. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TRAIN A HORSE YOURSELF
unless you are very experienced in doing so. It's a good way to get
The other thing to keep in mind is that once the initial fascination
wears off, we see many horses out to pasture and seldom ridden. They're
nice pets (if they're trained) but they cost a lot to feed for just the
purpose of watching them or telling your friends "yes we have
One of our co-authors, Suzanne, used to breed and raise Peruvian Pasos
and is our expert for this section. Here are some of the things you
must consider, if you're going to have horses on your property.
General Care - they need annual shots for flu, tetanus and encephalitis.
You can buy and administer them yourself if you're a experienced with
horses. Otherwise you'll need a vet to do it.
Worming is necessary every three months. The easiest one to give is a
paste that covers a broad spectrum of worms. Generally you can do this
yourself if you can hold the horse still.
Horses need their feet trimmed or shod regularly by a professional
farrier (horse shoer).
If you're pasturing them make sure you have a safe secure fence not
using barbed wire as the horses can get seriously hurt on it.
Rabies shots are recommended if you're living in the country.
Disease -- the most common is colic (from eating acorns or founder --
a green, rich pasture, and other methods). You should have medicine on
hand for colic since it can take a vet quite a while to get to your
There are many other diseases as well but they'll take a vet to
diagnose and treat. It's an excellent idea to have the Merck Veterinary
Younger horses often get bitten by rattlesnakes on the nose. Call the
Breeding should be left to experienced horse people.
Feed costs monthly per horse: $60 - $400 or more if the horse is
being breed, ridden a lot, or on a high-grain diet.
Note: in this area,
pastures are only green for 2-3 months and each acre of pasture can only
support 2 horses -- only during that time frame. The rest of the year
they must be fed.
Goats & Sheep
These four legged weed eaters don't stop at just weeds. Basically
they'll eat almost anything... including your garden and landscaping
plants if they're allowed to wander free.
But, they can only be free during the day. If allowed to wander at
night they'll become prey for a mountain lion, free-roaming domestic
dogs, or possibly coyotes. Unless you've got dogs around their pen to
chase off predators, goats and sheep should be sheltered inside a shed
or barn at night for protection.
Another unlikely, but effective protector is a donkey. They become
attached to the sheep and goats as part of their "herd" and
are strong enough and aggressive enough to take an active roll in
kicking and biting a predator that gets into their pen.
Chickens... Fresh eggs are wonderful. But chickens need a fully
covered cage with big rocks at the bottom and well attached everywhere
so predators can't dig, climb or claw their way in.
You can also keep ducks, geese, pheasants, and other foul for eggs or
just as pets. Just know that if you get them to place in your ponds,
they're susceptible to many predators. You WILL lose some unless you go
to great lengths to protect them.
Peacocks provide a beautiful splash of color and require little
attention. They roost in trees and night and so are generally safe from
predators. They do have a loud call, so don't get these birds if you feel
that will be annoying. And, keep in mind, peacocks live for 40-50 years,
so if you get them they're apt to be around for a long while.
Cattle -- be sure you get help with your fencing. These
animals are extremely strong and will break through fencing meant for
lesser creatures. Also, check with the Cattleman's Association for
details on raising beef cattle and or milk cows.
Llamas are beautiful, but unless you just want a pet or want to show
them, about the only other productive thing they're good for is their
wool... if you sheer it.
As an avid hiker, I always thought I'd like a llama as a pack animal
for long trips. The problem is they're not allowed into the National
Parks at all, and are excluded from most state parks too.
Information on Llamas
Feed costs: Feed costs for animals in this area can vary greatly
depending on annual rainfall and the quality of feed given to particular
animals. For instance, hay alone can range from $8 - $14 a bale here
which is much higher than most parts of the country.
We suggest you thoroughly investigate current feed prices BEFORE you
get a bunch of animals you can't afford to keep.
All photos on this site are
copyrighted. Many are available to purchase, however, at www.19thCentury.us