Goodness me that’s a hard one. I’ve been asked a few questions recently but this was the hardest. Especially as it was asked by a rescue fanatic who was mid rant about the greed involved with breeding, and the evil and the greed some more and something else. I tuned out, it’s hard to listen to people who rant at you 😀
I went away and thought about it. How do I answer that. I mean, I know why I breed but it’s actually difficult to put into words. Not because I’m a shameful and greedy person and all that but because it’s genuinely a hard concept to frame. I’ll give it a go.
This whole blog focuses on the frustrations and hard ships of breeding as well as the good. It’s that moment when your beautiful, friendly, healthy hamster produces an amazing litter in their own likeness that you feel, not like god, not like a money-maker, but like a parent I guess. Proud. You did something good. You chose the right ones, the dice rolled the right way and look. Amazing. There’s nothing like that feeling. And you get to share it, with every owner of the babies you can’t keep and at every show you visit where you can show them off.
A sense of the everlasting.
We are getting a little more abstract now. Bear with me. Each hamster is precious to me. Every one is a pet, first and foremost and I love them all. When my beautiful Dougal died recently in his old age, I mourned him. But I have his daughters, granddaughters and grandsons. There are nieces and nephews. He lives on. His cute little droopy ears, that are not really standard but I like them anyway. His way (temperament). You can see it in them. And that is special.
Even when I breed a ‘rare’ variety. I’m not choosing it because I want some sort of fame from it. I like it and I don’t want it to die out. So I breed it, I give it to other breeders and it becomes more popular and widespread. So, if I were to breed it for the glory of it being rare then I’m doing myself out of the glory there.
What about the reasons I’m told I am breeding really. Here is a list of ‘not why I’m breeding’.
HA. That’s all really. HA. £180 on 6 months of bedding, £100 a month on food. Not to mention cages, time, travel, paper and ink and so on. For £10 a baby? Maybe 10 babies every 3-4 months. There’s no profit in that. There may be times when it’s not a total loss but over the year you lose money. Definitely not greed. I’m actually laughing at that idea. Can you imagine how many hamsters my husband would let me have if they actually made money?
HAHAHAHA. *cough* When you are a breeder who generally does not win shows and generally does not even achieve the first five places, where exactly is this glory? Even the ones who do…well. You tell me who is the premier hamster breeder in the country right now? Exactly. We breed hamsters people, not racehorses!
Enjoying the selfish suffering of animals .. or something…?
Breaks between litters, two litters max each, eat better than me, sleep better than me, have more toys than I do. Really. I mean they are selfish I grant you but it’s not their fault 😀
And believe me, although they should have a choice, you see what happens if your male and female are placed somewhere they can choose to get away and she happens to be in season. My putting them together intentionally is nothing short of what they would ‘choose’ to do. All I’m doing to stacking the deck, so to speak, by picking the parents. Hamsters don’t tend to hold hands or buy each other valentines if they can help it.
In all seriousness, rescue related ranting only serves to alienate people. They don’t listen. And the only ones hurt are the animals that miss out on homes because people want to go to a sane person. Target all the angst towards the people who really cause a problem, not the nearest easy target.
I’m totally, 100%, fine with what I do. I know my guys are healthy because they rarely need the vet. I know they are happy because they show well, or those that prefer to stay at home are not neurotic, or skinny, or even obese. That’s more than enough for me.
Saying that, I do enjoy answering your questions. I’m not all offended by being asked. I’ve a few more to answer in the coming days and I’ll try my best!