Raising goats as pets 0 58

Goats are an excellent choice from all of the types of pets you can keep and they can offer you milk, companionship and entertainment too. Before you get a goat, however, you should consider these factors that are key to raising a goat as a pet.

Local laws

While it is legal to keep goats as pets you do need to consider the local laws around doing so. Goats cannot always be kept within city limits so be sure to check that you are allowed first.

Room to roam

Goats need space to explore, play and exercise. A standard garden is not big enough for a goat, so you need to ensure you have the space for them. A goat should have at least 250 square feet of grassed land (each) to roam and a shed or barn for cover too.

No fence is ever enough

Goats are notorious for escaping through fences and over barbed wire and electric fences. You will need to install significant fences to your field or garden if you can to keep the goats in. You won’t be popular if your goat escapes into your neighbour’s flowerbed.

Goats need vets

You need to be able to get appropriate veterinary care for your goats when you have them. Goats will need to be de-wormed and may need to have their horns removed and hooves trimmed. Veterinary bills for goats can be expensive, so ensure that you have taken these costs into account before getting a goat.

Goats are fussy eaters

While a goat will happily bite the buttons off your coat, they are actually very fussy eaters. Goats will need more than just grass so you will need to keep a store of goat pellets and will need to feed them twice daily, whatever the weather.

Lots of fun and lots of work

Goats are sociable, intelligent and independent so they will give you a great deal of enjoyment. They are also a lot of work, however, so you need to ensure that you are prepared to care for them properly. Goats are a long-term commitment, but one that will pay off if you give them proper care.

Find out how to keep a pygmy goat as a pet.

Photo: Goat Off! by Pinti 1 licensed under Creative commons 2
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Is it easy to take care of a pet rat? 0 43

Pet rat

Rats get a bad press when it comes to being a pet. Often thought of as vermin and feared by many, pet rats actually have lovely personalities and are surprisingly low maintenance to keep.

As with all pets you need to look after them properly, so here’s our pet care advice on how to take care of your rat.

Get a pair (of the same sex)

Rats are social creatures and it would be cruel to keep one on its own. However, don’t fall into the trap of buying a male and a female. Rats can breed from five weeks old, their litters can be as big as eight babies, and the female can get pregnant again in 24 hours. That’s a LOT of rats to deal with.

Buying a pair of the same sex will solve this problem and provided they are socialised well together when they are young they should get on well.

Get a decent sized cage

Rats need a large wire cage because they love to climb (and they can gnaw through anything less substantial). The bigger cage you can get the better because rats are really active creatures. Get one with a solid bottom, away from draughts and direct sunlight.

Believe it or not you can train rats to use a litter tray just like a cat so that the rest of their cage is dropping free.

They will need a nest box, something like a cardboard or wooden box with shredded paper or straw in.

Feed them a healthy diet

You can buy food specifically for rats at pet food stores, but rats also like grains and vegetables. They love eating scraps, but give these sparingly as they can easily put on weight which will reduce their lifespan.

Make sure they always have a supply of clean, fresh water.

Keep them entertained

Rats need time out of their cage – at least an hour a day. Make sure the room is rat proof and even tiny holes are sealed up to avoid escape. Rats are sociable creatures, so make sure you spend time handling them, as well as playing with them.

It’s important to keep them entertained – so make or buy toys to put in their cage that will give them something to do.

The must-know basics of caring for a ferret 0 53

Pet ferret in a cage

Ferrets can be a great alternative to cats and dogs for animal lovers looking for something a little different. They are domesticated animals, with the propensity to develop deep bonds with their owners. However, they are also incredibly energetic animals, often requiring more time and attention than more popular species of pets. To decide whether a ferret is for you, read the following pet care advice every ferret owner should know.

1. Make sure your ferret gets enough play time

Ferrets are very social animals and tend to be happiest when in small groups. In this way, ferret owners are often encouraged to adopt at least a pair of ferrets so that they will have companionship and a partner to play with. In terms of play, ferret owners should be aware of the highly inquisitive nature of ferrets and the need to provide them with playthings to nip and get rough with. If you don’t, you may find your furniture becomes the next best thing. (5 Fun Ways to Play with a Pet Ferret)

2. Invest in a decent cage

Ferret cages tend to be designed with their needs in mind, featuring two levels and a small dark hut for sleeping. Make sure the cage has enough space for your ferret(s) and add enough cosy materials for bedding. The cage and bedding should be washed at regular intervals.

3. Food

Ferrets are carnivores and meat is an absolute must in their diet. There are a number of specialised ferret foods available from pet stores, but make sure they are not too high in vegetable or grain matter as this can lead to health problems down the line. Generally speaking, ferrets can be fussy eaters, so it is best to buy their food little and often to avoid having to waste it. Always ensure that they have fresh water to hand.

4. Ferret-proof your home

As ferrets are so agile and able to wend their way through tight spots, ferret-proofing your home is an absolute necessity. Losing your ferret in the home can lead to them getting injured or even escaping. In this way, make sure any tight spots are kept to a minimum and make sure electrical wires are kept well out of reach.