Keeping animals can be an excellent learning experience for the whole family. Taking care of animals is something that family members can do together to create memories and build bonds. Caring for animals requires dedication to responsibilities, which teaches young family members the skills that they need for life. Being around animals also provides several benefits to the owners. Here is a look at some ideas on keeping animals and how that benefits your family.
Caring for animals can help promote fitness in your family. Whether you’re playing with cats, playing fetch with a dog, or chasing after farm animals, your animals can keep kids entertained, help them burn extra energy, and ensure that they are getting exercise. Animals are also believed to help lower blood pressure.
Children raised with a dog during their first year of life typically have fewer respiratory infections and a better immune system, according to a pediatrics study. This study found that animal contact likely helps young children resist respiratory infections.
If reading is a challenge for kids, they sometimes have higher success when reading to a pet because animal interaction is believed to lower stress. Certain animals can help kids who have disorders like autism and ADHD to improve their cognitive and communication skills.
It is believed that animal interaction can also improve your child’s self-esteem. Spending time with animals is shown to increase empathy and understanding of others. Animals can be a comfort and a source of unconditional love when life gets stressful.
Responsibility and family bonding
Kids benefit from learning responsibility early in life, and caring for animals is a rewarding activity that your family can share. This is an opportunity for parents to act as teachers where children can see tangible results. From feeding animals to scooping litter, children learn that they have to work hard to keep their animal companions happy and meet their needs.
Types of animals to keep
You might know that keeping a dog requires walks and a cat requires litter box cleaning. Aside from that, the basics that they need are food, water, vet visits, and love. Animal lovers who enjoy spending time outdoors and have spare land or a small farm might want to consider adding some farm animals.
Chickens and eggs
Keeping chickens provides the reward of fresh eggs and garden fertilizer. Check local regulations, and if you have extra space, consider keeping chickens.
First, determine how much space you have for the chickens. Then determine how many chickens you will keep, and research which type of chicken coop you want to get for them.
Daily tasks that must be carried out when raising chickens include feeding, refilling water, collecting eggs, and taking a look at them to make sure they are healthy. You should clean the coop at once least weekly. Change their bedding monthly with the thin litter method, or change it twice yearly when using the deep litter method. This can be composted and later used as garden fertilizer. You will need to clean nest boxes and water monthly as well.
Twice a year, you should clean and sanitize the coop by removing everything and washing it down with one part bleach to ten parts water. Prepare for winter by heating water, adding a light, and providing some roosting space.
Goats and milk
Goats produce healthy milk, provide low-fat meat, create great fertilizer, and keep you entertained with their high energy and stunts.
Goats need companions to survive, so consider getting a female or two and a male. Goats like to graze, so they need space. Their housing is simple, but they need heavy-duty fencing to prevent them from escaping.
Goats raised for their meat need hay and grass, while dairy goats require hay and commercial feed. You need to rotate goats occasionally to new pasture for fresh grazing. Kids of any age can help feed and water them or bottle-feed young goats.
Pigs and piglets
Pigs are somewhat intelligent and come with cute pink noses, but they require more strength and abilities than chickens and goats in some ways.
Pigs are large and are better at getting out of fencing than goats, so they require extra-heavy fencing. For this reason, they are better kept by adults and teenagers rather than young children. Hogs can be kept in small spaces so their area is turned to mud within days. Pigs only require about a dozen square feet of space when raised this way.
Pigs require a large amount of food, and it is most nutritious when they get it from pasture grazing. They don’t require special feed; they can eat hay and dairy.
Keeping animals provides health benefits, companionship, and fresh produce, but caring for them requires a good amount of dedication. Caring for animals teaches young people lessons of responsibility and empathy. With the right requirements and commitment, you and your family can enjoy the bonding experience of caring for animals together.