It happens to every parent at one point or another. Your little one looks up at you with big, wide eyes and asks if they can have a pet. Immediately, your mind might drift around searching for a plausible excuse because you think you know what a pet entails. Hair everywhere, chewed up furniture, nasty surprises around the house when you get up in the morning and of course, fleas. I have 3 cats, a dog a budgie and 2 fish that all I’ve inside of our home, and whilst I love them all equally, I am all too aware of the mess that they often bring inside with them.
The dog often likes to walk mud through the house (normally just after I have mopped) or shake wet rain water off of his fur all over the sofa. The cats have in the past brought me lovely gifts of bird corpses, normally dropped onto my kitchen floor, the budgie flicks his food all over the sideboard. The only ones that seem to keep their dirt to themselves is the fish.
Other animals that live outside won’t mess up your home and will still be wonderful companions for your kids. We also keep 10 chickens, who (obviously) all live outside in the garden. They give us fresh eggs daily, some we can sell, and they seem to keep the bugs at bay from attaching my vegetables. If you are very house proud, an outside pet might be better for you. So, let’s look at some of the possibilities and consider the advantages and disadvantages of Just some of your options.
Count Your Chickens
Pros: Chickens are pretty easy to keep, with minimal fuss. You will need a sturdy fox proof chicken coop but their outside run can be fashioned from many reused items. Fencing can be made from pallets with strong chicken wire nailed along it, to keep them in.
Obviously the eggs are a wonderful bonus and will taste better than any shop bought version. There are many breeds to choose from, but it always feels nice to rehome ex battery farm chickens. You will be giving them a new life that they have never experienced before. They are friendly, and will soon learn to come when called for a cuddle.
Cons: Mr Fox will become your worst enemy, and a run that isn’t fox proof will end up letting Mr Fox in and destroying your flock. Chickens also destroy grass. If you let your hens roam free, expect to have no lawn in matter of days and they will eat any home grown veg. They will create a lot of mud during wet weather, and mixed with poop it can become a bit pongy.
Start Horsing Around
Pros: Well, this lovely, majestic beast lives outside, and you’ll probably have to keep it at a yard away from your home. Or, if you have enough land, you can use a company like Vale Stables to get a private area for your horse outside.
Horses are wonderful creatures and when you look at them, you can tell they are incredibly proud animals. They are also a pleasure to ride, providing the perfect hobby for at least one of your kids growing up.
Cons: They’re expensive, there is no getting around the fact that a horse could cost you at least a few hundred each month and quite possibly thousands every year. You have livery to think about, vets bills, the farrier to pay for and feed, bedding and tack to buy. They also are a lot of work, and while they don’t need walks, they’ll certainly want to ride either with you or independently. So be prepared for someone to spend a lot of hours with them at the stables.
It’s So Cute And Fluffy!
Pros: Rabbits and guinea pigs are all examples of animals that you can keep outside in a hutch. Again, no mess in the house and when you do want to play with them, you take them out for a run in the garden. They’re cuddly and love attention once they get used to you. Chinchillas are also brilliant fun to watch darting around the garden at light speed. Rabbits can quite happily be left to hop around the garden, as long as your garden is secure and are a joy to watch.
Cons: Well, there is a slight problem with attracting the wrong sort of crowd to your garden. Rabbit hutches have been known to bring foxes hunting, and that’s the last thing you want to wake up to in the morning- if you know what I mean. They can also make your garden a little rabbit poop mine-field. In the summer months flies can become a problem, if you aren’t tip-top with cleaning out their hutch.
There are probably some people who think they can get a dog that will live permanently outside, but this is a mistake. Dogs are naturally pack animals, and they desperately want to feel like part of the family. Leaving your dog outside all the time even with a lot of attention could lead to one miserable pup. If you’re going to do this, they need a proper place to live in the garden and at least one friend out there with them, but it’s still not recommended. Instead, look for ways to resolve the issues that are making you hesitant to keep that furry pal indoors.
Do you have any unusual outdoor pets? Let me know in the comments box!