Raising goats as pets 0 354

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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3 surprising behaviours of pet rats 0 358

Pet rat behaviour

Rats have been given a bad name by decades of bad press. Far from the dirty, disease-filled pests that are portrayed on our screens, these sociable, clean animals have a few surprising perks to owning them.

These sociable, friendly pets are highly trainable animals who show affection for their owners and have many cute little quirks that make them great companions. They also have a very strange way of showing they’re happy!

With that in mind, here are three surprising behaviours of pet rats.

1. They are incredibly playful animals

This one will be no surprise to those who will have seen the boxing, chasing and excited jumps with their own eyes, but many are unaware that rats spend lots of time playing with each other and their owners. One scientific study actually showed that rats giggle when they are tickled. It’s highly recommended that you fill your pet rat’s cage with lots of enrichment toys and interact with them daily. Many owners report that their pet rats love being chased or to wrestle their hands!

2. They are incredibly social animals and love to show affection

Rats are incredibly social creatures. While of course every animal has its own personality and there are exceptions to the rule, they need to live with at least one other rat and most enjoy lots of daily interaction with their owners. It is not a rare sight to see pet rats snuggled up in the laps, pockets and sleeves of their humans. They will also nibble and lick them, as they would other rats, in a show of affection.

3. They boggle their eyes when they are happy

Surprising when first witnessed, one of the most peculiar aspects of rats is the way they display their contentment. While cats purr and dogs wag their tails, when a rat is very happy or relaxed they will brux and boggle – which is a sort of teeth grinding and very fast bulging of the eyes.

Rats are brilliant pets for all ages and there are many positives that come from owning these friendly, misunderstood animals.

What can degus eat? 0 481

What can degus eat

When they’re living in the wild, degus focus on dietary fibre. It makes up about 60% of their diet, with the other 40% consisting of natural vegetation. But when they’re kept as pets, you’ll need to keep a close eye on what you feed your degu.

Good quality hay

For the most part, your degu’s diet should consist of good quality hay. There are lots of brands that will suffice, but two of particularly good quality are Timothy Hay and Meadow Hay. Keep an eye on the colour: if it’s pink or white, you should throw this hay away as it’s growing mould. If it’s green, it can cause bloating. Occasionally, you can mix some Alfalfa hay in with your regular hay. It’s high in protein, so great in small doses.

You can top up your degu’s bowl with a little bit of guinea pig or degu-specific food, but don’t go overboard. It’s important that your degu doesn’t start ignoring the hay because it’s got a range of health benefits, including the maintenance of a healthy gut and strong teeth. Around 10g of degu food a day should do the trick.

Human food in moderation

The good news is you can feed your degu some of your human food! Give them to your degu in moderation though, as they can cause gas and bloating. On rotation, you can feed them the following foods around once or twice a week:

• Asparagus
• Carrot tops
• Dandelion leaves
• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Fresh herbs
• Brussels sprouts
• Celery
• Cabbage
• Courgette
• Green beans
• Beetroot
• Dried herbs
• Pumpkin
• Butternut squash
• Marigold flowers
• Radish

Some sugary foods can be an occasional treat for your degu. In excess, they carry the risk of diabetes, so we’d only recommend doing this once a month.

• Apple
• Cherry tomatoes
• Peas
• Sweet potato
• Carrots
• Cucumber
• Sweetcorn or corn on the cob

When it’s treat time for your degu, give them a tiny amount (one or two) of:

• Sunflower seeds
• Peanuts
• Pumpkin seeds
• Whole nuts

As a general rule, the main thing to avoid giving your degu is fruit not listed here, rabbit food, hamster food or anything with molasses.

Just like us, degus love food – whether it’s good or bad for them. Bookmark this page to make sure you give your degu a balanced diet, and happy feeding!

Learn more about caring for your degu and other pet care advice here: http://www.nichepets.com/category/mammals/degus/