«Previous    Next»
Dogs Replace Hogs
Barking dogs have replaced squealing pigs in Edwin and Barbara Shultz's farrowing building. For less than $4,500 in remodeling costs, they removed their farrowing pens and installed dog crates on their farm near Rutledge, Mo., to hold 100 small purebred dogs.
They say the conversion paid for itself in the first three years of operation, which was quicker than expected. In comparison, the hog market was so swamped that prices were barely paying for the cost of production.
It was seven years ago when the Schultzes, already dabbling in the dog business, decided to build another kennel. Because they had sold all of their hogs, a neighboring carpenter convinced them to remodel the farrowing building. So they built 33 indoor-outdoor crates on the east side of the building. Later they added a whelping room on the west.
They had to build according to codes placed on dog kennels by the USDA animal health inspection service. Their operation passed inspection after a few minor changes.
The Schultzes raise purebred Poodles, Schnauzers, Yorkshire Terriers, Shetland Sheepdogs, Maltese, Pomeranians and Shih Tzus. They also raise some crossbred dogs like Pom-poos and Cock-a-poos which sell for half the price of a purebred dog.
Most of the puppies raised on the farm are sold to an area dog broker. Barbara finds it easier to deal with one reliable broker instead of trying to find buyers herself.
Occasionally, they have puppies with coloring or composition not in line with the breeding. They sell those on an individual basis at half price.
Barbara receives $45 per puppy for the crossbreds and up to $120 for a purebred Yorkshire Terrier puppy. Depending on size and breeding, a purebred Poodle puppy will bring $65 to $75. The broker then sells the dogs to pet shops around the country where the price almost doubles.
"When I got into this business 12 years ago everyone said pets would be the first luxury to go when the money was tight," Barbara says, "but the demand for puppies has increased every year."
The chores are divided so that Edwin feeds and water the adult dogs while Barbara handles work in the whelping room. Puppies need to be treated like pigs in many respects. Some have their tails docked and ears clipped at a young age, At five or six weeks of age they are weaned and given their shots. Barbara gives them a parvo virus vaccination, DA2P (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza) shot and worms them with a liquid wormer.
Barbara averages four puppies per litter and sold 248 puppies last year. She grossed $16,000, but her feed bill for the year was $7,000. Veterinarian and medicine bills added another $1,300 to the expenses. It also costs Barbara $11 to register a litter of puppies with the American Kennel Club.
"It's definitely not a business that will make you rich," Barbara says, "but it gives me something interesting to do at home so I'm making money instead of out spending it." (Reprinted with permission from Missouri Ruralist.)

  Click here to download page story appeared in.

  Click here to read entire issue

To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.
Order the Issue Containing This Story
1985 - Volume #9, Issue #1