We have had cows, sheep, chickens, and pigs, but these principles would apply to any animals your child might want to raise, large or small.
Here are a few of the benefits our children have received from raising their own animals:
Raising livestock is not something my husband and I grew up doing, so our children have had to find mentors to learn about proper animal management.
They have developed the skills to listen, make notes, and when they don’t understand something, research and ask questions. After all, a living animal is counting on their knowledge and actions.
We have found the Storey’s Guide series of books to be helpful for them to read first so they can ask knowledgeable questions.
When one of their animals is sick, they have to be able to communicate their animal’s problem to the veterinarian.
Being the primary caregiver for animals requires responsibility. They have to make sure the animals have food and water every day and be ever watchful of their animal’s health.
Pens have to be cleaned regularly and supplies must be re-stocked.
When the kids were younger, we oversaw these jobs. Now that they are older, they have accepted the responsibility with minimal adult oversight.
In order to know whether or not their animal project is financially successful, they have been required to keep accurate financial records.
They record all of their expenses by date and category as well as any income from their operation. This has helped them as they have gotten older and been required to handle their own money.
I am sure they could have developed these skills without raising animals. But, with animals, they didn’t even realize they were learning.
They were just having fun taking care of their “pets”. I think having fun is the best way to learn something!
If your children are clamoring for a puppy or a gerbil, getting one could turn out to be an educational experience for them.