When planning this adventure we said we wanted to get a dog and also keep a few hens for our own supply of eggs.
There are several things that have made us have a rethink:
Our land is not totally fenced in, and can’t be – we have other farms around us and because the area is terraced there’s no real way of fencing the back of our land or one end. We have redone the fencing along the front and one side. We don’t want to keep a dog on a chain all the time, that’s just cruel. Our neighbours have 4 dogs that they leave on their bit of land, and a couple of these escape regularly and have a trot round our land. So we could end up with the mother of all dog fights, or our dog could escape and cause problems for our neighbours. As for hens, we don’t have a lot of spare room to build a decent sized coop, and if we let them just wander about the farm during the day they would be easy prey.
Cost – having had our lovely Shiba Inu, Ella, for 14 years, we know that keeping a dog is not cheap, and we’re on a budget here. The same would go for the hens. We use about 6 eggs a week, which cost less than €2 – keeping hens would definitely cost more than that a week.
Freedom – this sounds really selfish now but at the moment we can come and go as we wish, and the amount of work we have here already keeps us busy. If you’re going to have animals you have to devote the time to look after them properly.
We do have predators here that would endanger the animals too – losing Ella 2 years ago broke my heart, so we couldn’t allow ourselves to get too attached – we’re on our second cat and we’ve only been here 5 months!
Those reasons aside, I do still feel a pull towards having some animals at some point but I don’t think it’s something to rush into – maybe we’ll review it in the future once we’ve got the farm more under control and we’re confident in what we’re doing.