This Domestic Animal Care Page contains ideas for cutting the cost of caring for your farm animal, small mammal or reptile.
Farm Sense for Chickens, Pigs and Worms
Here are several ideas for recycling or reusing common household items to benefit your farm animal care.
- Egg Shells: I bake my egg shells for a few minutes. Usually I pop them into the oven after turning off the oven, and let the shells bake while the oven is cooling down. Then I crush them and feed to my chickens (along with their food). This acts as a calcium additive w/o having the expense of buying it at the store.
- Potato Peels: If I feed potato peelings to my chickens, I semi-cook them first. I pour the boiling water left over after boiling them away. The raw peelings take as much energy for the chickens to process as they would get from them. So by boiling the peels, the chickens get the energy without burning as much.
- Molting: Also, if your chickens are molting, offer them dry cat food along with their regular food. The cat food gives them the protein they’re burning trying to grow out new feathers.
- Cayenne for Laying: If they’re not laying well, give them some Cayenne pepper flakes. I just sprinkle it over their food once a week. It does help them lay and they’ll snap the flakes up faster than the food.
- Cayenne for Pigs: I also put Cayenne pepper flakes into a compost bucket for my feeder pigs. This goes along with any other scraps that don’t include bones. I try to de-bone all meats before cooking and offer the raw bones to my livestock guard dogs. Cooked bones aren’t good for any animals.
- Worms: All paper products, used napkins, paper towels etc, are put into the compost bin. I also add used muffin tin papers, coffee filters with coffee grounds, and tea bags as food for my worms. Mona T. – Viola, AR
Happy Thrifty Gerbil Animal Care
Gerbils are desert animals and love sand. I bought some Critter Bath sand from the pet store. It cost about $6.00 for 15 oz. I calculated that I was paying $12.00 per month for bath sand – way too expensive. Big Savings Idea: Then I read an article that said children’s play sand is just as good for gerbils. So, I went to Home Depot and bought a 50 lb. bag of Play Sand for $2.95!!! That’s enough sand for a whole year! I put 2 cups of sand in a shallow bowl and left it in their aquarium. They loved it! They dig in it, roll in it, use it as a bath and litter box.
Cardboard Tubes are Great! I also save by collecting toilet paper roll tubes at work. Gerbils love to chew on cardboard and run in little tubes. I put a small collection box for cardboard tubes, with a picture of my gerbils, at the office. The janitor has been very helpful leaving up to 20 tubes a week at my desk. Everyone thinks the gerbils are cute and some coworkers have even brought rolls from home.
For people thinking about getting gerbils – be aware that they are chewers and gnawers. When buying them a place to live, skip over the wire cages and fancy colorful plastic homes. They will get destroyed! Always put gerbils in glass aquariums or terrariums. They last much longer and are a better investment. Liz Swafford – Tunnel Hill, GA
Guinea Pig Pet Request
When my fourth grader wanted a guinea pig, I made her research all the expenses and write them out for me in a short paper. You could say it was her first grant proposal. She’s just submitted her dissertation, so these skills weren’t wasted.
Kathy Kuhl – Washington, D.C.
Don’t Trash Feed Bags
Just discovered your first book and love it. Here’s a money-saving idea I have been using for years and it is especially helpful for folks who have horses or large dogs. I haven’t purchased a plastic garbage bag in years. Instead, I package all my trash for pickup in my empty paper feed sack bags and staple the bag tops closed. They are 1000 times better for trash because they are extra large, have a waxed inner lining to contain moisture, and are more eco-friendly. Maria Willsey – Eldorado, IL
If you are interested in adopting a bird click here for adopt a bird network. They are not in every state of the U.S.A. yet.
Also be sure to check out our blog on choosing a pet for your kids.
If you have other ideas about caring for farm animals or reptiles, please leave it in the comments below and we will review!