alternative livestock / exotic pets

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by DayBird, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    I'm very curious as to who is keeping and breeding what. Is anyone finding alternative livestock to be profitable?

    We've figured out how to incorporate our parrots into a fairly profitable venture. I do manage a petstore and can sell our birds directly to the company, but even if I didn't, I still think we could come out ahead. It's taken years of work, most of which I considered it to be a hobby. For several years, they've been paying their own bills, but this year we finally sold enough babies to save up a respectable down payment on the 3 acres we just bought.

    We also have rabbits, chickens, chinchillas, guinea pigs, ferrets, many reptiles and amphibians, two aquariums, Sam (our beloved Great Pyrenees) a tabby cat and a serval cat. (I do not recommend these as pets. He was a rescued animal.) When we move, we want to have some type of goat, probably alpines or nubians, and I can't wait to get an emu and some blue slate turkeys.

    What do you have?
     
  2. WolfSoul

    WolfSoul Well-Known Member

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    Nothing exotic, but I have trained wolf dogs which are exotic, I guess. I have 2 cats, 2 Golden retrieves (both Service Dogs-that's my profession-one of which does laundry for me,) 9 goats-2 Alpine, 1 LaMancha, 3 Nubians and one mutt, 3 Miniature Horses rescued. As I said, nothing very interesting, but a friend of mine sells exotic birds (ciagues ???? does that sound right) and some exotic turtle which I babysat for. They're huge. She does very well with those.

    Wolf

     

  3. Rouen

    Rouen Well-Known Member

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    "but a friend of mine sells exotic birds (ciagues ???? does that sound right)" I believe your thinking of caiques, you were close.

    DayBird I know several bird breeders one of which breeds anything from congo african greys to zebra finches and they'll all tell you if your breeding for profit your nuts and if your actually making a profit your birds must be some sad looking creatures :rolleyes: .. unless of course it's hyacinth macaws your breeding.

    I have 4 box turtles, 2 budgies, 1 cockatiel, 2 rouen ducks(pets), 2 cocker spaniels a male veil tail betta and fish.. and 36 hatchling turtles that.. nothing too exotic.
     
  4. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    Nothing different here either; just goats, chickens, cats and Aussies. Wolfsoul, our neighbor trains service dogs also. She imports German shepherds from Europs as the Americans have ruined the breed. Her dogs are truly amazing. We plan to take our Aussie pups over there to learn her secrets when the time comes.
     
  5. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    No, I do think you're wrong. Mine are extremelly happy and very healthy. They're allowed to raise just a few babies each year. Nothing sad about them. They're all very well fed and well taken care of. They have huge flight cages and get plenty of excersise. Fresh fruits and vegetables along with pellets, nuts and sprouted seeds. Fresh air, full spectrum lighting, automatic watering, daily baths. They're happy. Nothing sad about that. The key with any business venture is to find your niche and specialize. I could never make money breeding zebra finches. They're too easy to breed and are raised by the thousands by large, corporate-type farms. African Greys and similar, larger parrots sell for much, much more and therefore fewer people are able to purchase them. Like I said, I may be so successful doing what I do because of the special circumstances of my managing a store.
     
  6. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    What kind of parrots do you raise, Daybird? My youngest sis is really into birds. Cockatoos and cockatiels and I know she has african greys and I think some other parrot. Her husband keeps boas. And of course they raise rats and rabbits for snake food. Not sure if they still have ferrets. They live down in Texas. They also have chickens and ducks, dogs and a cat. In the suburbs! oh, and a huge salt water aquarium.

    All I have at the moment is a buncha dingey rabble rousers in the backyard. AKA Russian orloffs! LOL And 2 extremely spoiled cats.
     
  7. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    I have other, larger parrots strictly as pets, but I only breeder, smaller to medium sized birds that are easily affordable by most people. I have 3 species of conures, 2 colors of Quaker parrots, 7 colors of Indian Ringneck parrots, Alexandrine Parrots, Moustached Parrots, white capped pionus and 32 different color combinations of cockatiels. The cockatiels pay the bills for the others. Anything over and above that, I consider profit.

    I have a red-tailed boa, a ball python and an Eastern Kingsnake, a Tokay gecko, a Schnieder's Skink and a black and white tegu. Other than Sam, the fish and most of the birds, everything here can be considered a rescue of some sort.
     
  8. ponyexpress

    ponyexpress Well-Known Member

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    <<< We also have a serval cat. (I do not recommend these as pets. He was a rescued animal.) >>>
    If you have time, could you tell me about your serval! I absolutely love the one at the zoo! I would never try and buy one but I do enjoy all the "big" cats!

    WolfSoul --- I find it fascinating that a dog could be trained to do laundry! You must be a very talented trainer
     
  9. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    Here's a cut and paste PM that was originally sent to Jamo:


    I am lucky, but not because I have a serval cat. He is a rescue animal. The owners of a very successfull restuarant chain thought it would be cool to have an exotic pet but couldn't find anywhere to board the animal while they went to Australia for 3 months so they were going to have the animal put down. He was kept in a cage in their garage and is a very frightened animal. We've had him for about a year. He's in a very large cage in our barn with an attached outside run. He's a nice animal, to be an undomesticated wild animal. He growls and spits and hisses. When he first came here, we did try to keep him in the house. "They" had said that when he was younger that they had let him loose in the house. He started to do exactly what you'd expect a 40 pound African wild cat to do. He destroyed things.

    The first night he was here, we put him in the second bathroom, near my son's room. We shut the door and thought that everything was good. He opened that door, opened our bedroom door and was circling the brooder where our baby cockatiels were on our bedroom floor. My wife woke me screaming, "The cat's loose." We had no idea what his real temperament was like. I so very slowly raised up and reached over for the remote control to turn the tv on so I'd have some lights to see. When the light came on, the cat froze and I jumped up and ran to the other bathroom to get the carrier. I slipped it down over the cat and pushed it against the wall. I had the cat in the box but the door was still open but the opening was against the wall. I took a picture down off the wall and slid it between the wall and the carrier. The cat emptied his bowels all over the carpet, the wall, the picture and me.

    Servals are the only spotted cat that is not endangered. Ours is a cat that never should have been born. He's pretty to look at, loves raw chicken, but is not a pet. I would highly recommend that noone try to keep one as a pet.
     
  10. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    And here's a follow-up cut and paste sent to Jamo:

    Thank you. In this hard world, I've learned to take compliments from whereever I can get them and to receive one as sincere as yours is a great compliment indeed. I'm noone special. I just do what I can do. I had always thought it would be "novel" to own an exotic. After volunteering at the Oak Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and at the Birmingham Zoo, I now know that these animals simply do not make good pets. I would never go in search of purchasing one of these animals. I do, however think that F4 or more of their hybrids can and do make pretty good pets. Last month, the Cat Fancy Magazine featured the Savannah cat, a hybrid between a domestic cat and the serval. I do think that these would make decent pets for most people. Very similar to the Bengal. Statistics show that exotics kept as pets rarely see their second birthday. Prints is now 3 and I certainly expect him to live for at least a dozen more years. No vets in the area will see him so I must vaccinate him myself. That is something, that if you're ever in the Birmingham area, you can come by and help me with .

    He's a great animal. Would be better as a display animal in a zoo, but because they're not endangered the AZA and the Feline TAG (Taxon Advisory Group) have both recommended that the servals be "phased out" of North American Zoos. There's also a very, very slight chance that he's been exposed to feline leukemia so no sanctuary will take him. The only other option is euthanazia and that's not something that I can live with.

    He eats Eukanuba kitten food, Zupreem canned exotic carnivore, and raw chicken every day. He especially likes when we put goldfish in his pond.
    __________________
     
  11. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Fascinating info about the serval cat. I didn't realize that they were the only spotted cat not endangered.

    I think my Troubadour is part Bengal. A breeder in our small town in colorado lost some of her males a year or two before Tru was born. He is much larger than most domestic cats and has some of the copper coloring of her bengals. He also has been known to open doors when they had the lever style knob. Very intellegent (for a cat) and very self aware and alert. He was wild as could be as a kitten when I got him. The rest of that litter went feral.

    You certainly have a variety of birds! I personally wouldn't have expected the cockatiels to be the ones you would do the best with financially. My sis would prolly like to know this. She is considering breeding once she is moved to her stead. Bet she would like to go see your birds, but she lives in texas.
     
  12. JoAnne in CA

    JoAnne in CA Well-Known Member

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    In addition to an Old English Sheepdog, a Heinz 57 shelter fella, 5 hens, 1 rooster, 3 lop rabbits and 2 Persians, we are the sometimes proud owner of a Chausie. He is a cross between a Jungle Cat and a Maine Coon. The breeder said he could reach 30 pounds. At 9 months, he is on his way! He fetches, walks on a leash, carries his favorite stuffed toy around and leaves it in the most unusual places. He is very assertive. It has taken almost the entire 9 months for him to "tolerate" our Sheepdog. He still goes after the Persians now and then, but mostly just to aggravate them. Talk about two beeds of cats at opposite ends of the spectrum! He is very sensitive, and if he is unhappy about something we've done to him, he shows his disdain for us by "emptying his bowls" in the middle of our bed. Needless to say, our bedroom doors all stay shut now. He has been an indoor cat for the most part, other than when he is staked outside. When my husband gets the long lead, he is at the door waiting. We stake him as I fear for the safety of the neighbor's mini pinscher. My concern is that we are moving to our six acre homestead in two weeks. We will be living in a fifthwheel for a year while we build our house. So he will be an outdoor cat there. I'm no so concerned for his safety as must as the livestock's. So far, he has taken no interest in the chickens. He's a great mouser and that is definitely an asset. If anyone else out there has a Chausie, I'd love to hear from them.
     
  13. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    Your Chausie sounds like an F1 hybrid and as such, probably has little "homing" instict to speak of. Please, do not move to your six acres, open the door and let your beloved cat out. Even with domestic breeds of cats, there is usually a "breaking-in" period before the cat can be let outside, and even then it's very dangerous. There are too many predators and diseases that can cause problems to your beloved pets. Every day, I hear horror stories at work about people letting their cats outside.

    Buy a chainlink dog kennel. Get one six feet high and put the sunscreen top on it. Both of your cats can live outside in that until you get your house finished. Put in a couple of dog houses filled with blankets or straw and they'll be happy. Several rotting tree trunks for them to scratch on and play with and they'll love you. Build some shelves so they'll have several levels and they'll be in heaven. Our serval has a wading pool in his outside run that we routinely put goldfish or minnows in for him to fish out. This will also keep him away from your chickens. I'd be willing to bet he'd kill and eat any chicks, you've got to remember, if he's an F1 hybrid, he's only one generation removed from the wild stock.
     
  14. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

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    Don't know if they qualify as alternative livestock, but I raise shrimp here in my Oklahoma windmill pond. I haven't raised any to sell yet, just for my own use.
     
  15. ponyexpress

    ponyexpress Well-Known Member

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    Daybird,
    Thanks for taking the time to tell me about your serval! You are a very kind person to take him in!

    Anne
     
  16. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    They most certainly do. I read your article in the magazine and I'm very jealous. Do you think they'd be hard to raise in a tank? I have a 125 gallon aquarium that isn't being used. I thought I could hang some kind of plastic mesh grids in there so they'll have structure. With something this small, I could even keep them in salt. How many do you think I could start with? Do they ship well, I'm in Alabama?
     
  17. 65284

    65284 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    For many years we made very good money raising and selling bottle fed Coatis.
    Females and neutered males made good pets. Not for everyone, but quite amusing and interesting, the best exotics we have had. Just don't trust an intact male that has his canines. They are easy and a lot of fun to raise, the down side is they can't be left at large in the house without supervision. Too nosey, too agile, and dexterous. Much like a small child they are into everything, cabinets, drawers, shelves, absolutely love shiny, glittery (breakable) things.
     
  18. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

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    Sorry it took me so long to post this, my computer is giving me trouble today.

    Here is a good link on raising them in tanks. http://county.ces.uga.edu/habersham/aqua/upstrom.htm

    I used netting weighed down with fishing sinkers to give the shrimp area to get away from each other. I'll bet your 125 gallon aquarium would hold quite a few to start, you might need to divide them when they get bigger.
    I have about 25 in four smaller (15 gal.) aquariums, they aren't growing as fast as the ones in my pond, but I know it's because I have been crowding them.
    As for shipping, I have not had any shipped to me, I don't have a major airport close enough. My supplier says he ships all over the world, so I guess it can be done. I think he said that they can stay packaged up for 14 hours. They are shipped in tropical fish boxes. The boxes I get are about 18" square.

    There are suppliers in Mississippi and probably some in Alabama by now. If you check out the site listed above, it will take you to the Mississippi site. They have a list of suppliers that would be closer to you than Texas.
    Hope this helps! I sure have been enjoying raising my own, they taste great too!
     
  19. JoAnne in CA

    JoAnne in CA Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, DayBird, for the suggestions on housing our Chausie in his new environment. You are right. He is an F1 hybrid. My husband does have plans to build him a habitat. He is planning to enclose an area--sides and top--that includes a scrub oak for his climbing pleasure. The wading pool is a great idea--both for his fun and as a diversion from the chickens. I'm not sure about puting the two Persians in with him. He can really torment them, and they need room to escape! Thanks again.
     
  20. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    Our serval grew up with two F3 Bengals. They both died of feline leukemia when Prints was about a year old. That's when they say he went crazy and they put him in a dog crate and stuck him in the garage. He's tested positive with the FeLeuk antibody test with a low titer, that's why none of the sanctuaries would take him. He has, however tested negative with the DNA probe which means that he was exposed but doesn't clinically have the disease. Hopefully, he'll live out a long, happy life with us.

    We are, however, evacuating our mobile home for Ivan. We've spent all day catching birds and preparing. We've got some birds in their aviary barn, some in our trailer, some at my mom's house, some at my sister's house and most of them at work. Pray for us, we'll likely be without power for an extended period of time. We're in a pine forest near the Sipsey Wilderness Area across the road from the Warrior River in Sumiton/Cordova Alabama.