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universal feed ??

kathryn mims


Joined: Apr 06, 2012
Posts: 10
Location: Trenton, SC
I am spending a ton of money on feed for my goats, chickens and even horses. Plus the feed is factory prepared so who knows what chemicals were put on it....i would like to be totally organic if i can...so what one (or two) foodstuffs might feed my goats, chickens and eventually pigs and cows (and the darn horses too)??

If i can narrow it to only one or two grains for example i can either find a source not adding chemicals, hire the crop grown, or grow it myself...

there is so much written on the right feed for every animal....i just know $10 plus per bag is going to run my costs way too high...

seems like maybe oats would be good choice for all? corn too rich and not naturally in diet of most cows or goats, is it?

your help appreciated, the simpler the better...thanks, kathryn
Jay Green


Joined: Feb 03, 2012
Posts: 587
    
    8
kathryn mims wrote:I am spending a ton of money on feed for my goats, chickens and even horses. Plus the feed is factory prepared so who knows what chemicals were put on it....i would like to be totally organic if i can...so what one (or two) foodstuffs might feed my goats, chickens and eventually pigs and cows (and the darn horses too)??

If i can narrow it to only one or two grains for example i can either find a source not adding chemicals, hire the crop grown, or grow it myself...

there is so much written on the right feed for every animal....i just know $10 plus per bag is going to run my costs way too high...

seems like maybe oats would be good choice for all? corn too rich and not naturally in diet of most cows or goats, is it?

your help appreciated, the simpler the better...thanks, kathryn


The ruminants need only grass and grass/hay to thrive, as do the horses. I'd pasture the chickens and hogs to supplement their feed ration with foraged foods.

Then I'd just combine three grains like barley, oats and cracked corn and I'd ferment them before feeding.

Fermentation extends your feed by increasing the available nutrients, increasing the protein levels, increasing the total nutrient absorption by the increased villi development in the small intestine that have been noted in animals fed fermented feeds, and contributes to overall health due to the natural probiotics present in the live cultures therein.
greg patrick


Joined: Mar 17, 2012
Posts: 168
Location: SoCal, USDA Zone 10b
    
    3
We feed our goats:
  • 25% Natural browse, which winds up being mostly rosemary, trees, mustard and weeds.
  • 25% Tree trimmings
  • 25% Farmer's market green waste
  • 25% Alfalfa - when I'm too busy/lazy to graze them, etc.

  • Zero grain as that ruins the fatty acid profile of the meat/milk.

    The chickens get:
  • 50% pasture/browse/what they can find
  • 20% worms and snails we feed them
  • 20% green waste/food scraps
  • 10% organic barley


  • Two bales of alfalfa last my six goats over a month. A $12/50# bag of barley lasts my chickens several months. All animals are happy and healthy, and so is their milk and eggs!


    'Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance.' - Hippocrates
    Burra Maluca
    Mother Tree

    Joined: Apr 03, 2010
    Posts: 4500
    Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
        
    168
    Have you heard of the saying 'All flesh is grass'

    That sounds like your answer.

    When I was at college we were given an exercise involving calculating appropriate rations for various types of horses, such as a racehorse in training, an endurance horse, a riding school horse, and a native pony in foal to a thoroughbred. We had to calculate energy/protein requirements and come up with an appropriate diet. It did not go down at all well when I came up with a diet of 'grazing 24 hours per day with organic meadow hay fed ad lib when grass was in short supply'' for the pregnant mare. I was told that although it met all the criteria, it was not considered a suitable diet. Especially as hay was so variable. So I dug out the results of the hay analaysis we'd just performed and showed them that my own hay (well, my mother-in-law's, I was young and landless at the time) was by far the best hay of the bunch tested, and that the lab-tech had told me that it was actually the best hay the agricultural college had *ever* tested, even though it was obviously cut too late as it was so stemmy, and it was difficult to get good samples from as it was made up of so many different types of grass growing in patches, so some bits were much drier than other bits and made it difficult to get a representative sample.

    All that happened long before I'd heard of permaculture, but listening to the taunts from my fellow students about the poor quality of my 'organic meadow hay' compared to their 'proper hay' before we did the titrations compared to their sulky silence on the matter afterwards was, I think, one of the factors that led me towards the idea of 'natural growing'. My end-of-year report from my tutor included the description 'Has her own ideas!' I think it was meant as veiled criticism, but I took it as a compliment.


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    Tyler Ludens
    pollinator

    Joined: Jun 25, 2010
    Posts: 5326
    Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
        
      20
    I personally avoid corn because unless it is organic (unavailable here) it is GMO. I feed my poultry a little whole oats and whole sunflowers and either allow them to forage or bring them large amounts of plant material from the garden. I have several flocks who sometimes fight with each other so I have to rotate who gets to forage each day.


    Idle dreamer

    kathryn mims


    Joined: Apr 06, 2012
    Posts: 10
    Location: Trenton, SC
    thank you for your responses, great ideas. i do feed non-meat scraps to chickens and goats. no grass yet -hoping to sprig some soon-hay is also pricey. I hear that hear goats do better without pasture regarding worm levels unless off it for long periods, i am in the south so alfalfa all imported here and $$$. Interesting about the fermented grains, do you have any links for more information? not sure if that would be okay for horses but i give them hydrated beet pulp now with an oat/pellet mix at this point and a few alfalfa cubes.

    Has anyone had success finding organic soybeans or oats? thanks again...we are just learning all we can...
    Cj Verde


    Joined: Oct 18, 2011
    Posts: 2521
    Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
        
      47
    kathryn mims wrote:
    Has anyone had success finding organic soybeans or oats? thanks again...we are just learning all we can...


    Organic tends to be twice the price of conventional.

    I think you're going in the wrong direction. I strongly recommend you read Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture by J. Russell Smith, first published 1929. Note the sub title. He's the grandfather of permaculture.

    Trees have many advantages over annuals, particularly on hilly land.

    My project thread
    Agriculture collects solar energy two-dimensionally; but silviculture collects it three dimensionally.
    R Scott


    Joined: Apr 13, 2012
    Posts: 2290
    Location: Kansas Zone 6a
        
      28
    kathryn mims wrote: Has anyone had success finding organic soybeans or oats? thanks again...we are just learning all we can...


    Most oats are near-organic already (relative to commercial ag, anyway). Not fertilized, not sprayed--but could be grown in ground that has residues from previous years.

    Here is a link from another thread: http://velacreations.blogspot.com/2011/12/rabbit-fodder.html

    Doing this with oats, wheat, barley, and possibly corn will boost the output you get for your money. Plus it can be a single common food store for both you and the animals. It is time consuming and not scalable to large quantities of animals, but can save money. You can grow these as microgreens for you, then feed the extra to the animals.


    "You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
    "Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi. "Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
    Abe Connally


    Joined: Feb 20, 2010
    Posts: 1393
    Location: Chihuahua Desert
    I feed that fodder to my rabbits. The thing grows thick like a mat. They eat the grain, the roots, the grass, the whole thing. It raises considerably in protein over the 8 days it grows. It can increase the feed value of your grain considerably.

    And yes, it is viable on a large scale, you just need misters and stuff. Google "hydro fodder".


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    Tyler Ludens
    pollinator

    Joined: Jun 25, 2010
    Posts: 5326
    Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
        
      20
    Folks fertilize the oat fields here with conventional fertilizer.

    R Scott


    Joined: Apr 13, 2012
    Posts: 2290
    Location: Kansas Zone 6a
        
      28
    Tyler Ludens wrote:Folks fertilize the oat fields here with conventional fertilizer.


    Really? I stand corrected.

    never around here--if farmers spent the money for fertilizer, they are planting corn or beans or wheat. Not enough extra yield to justify fertilizer--it is considered a fallow/green manure crop that gets a little money out of it--about enough to break even on fuel costs or as feed for their own livestock.

    Tyler Ludens
    pollinator

    Joined: Jun 25, 2010
    Posts: 5326
    Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
        
      20
    So they're alternating with crops which get fertilizer? Here I think oats are the high-value crop, though folks also grow sorghum.

    R Scott


    Joined: Apr 13, 2012
    Posts: 2290
    Location: Kansas Zone 6a
        
      28
    Tyler Ludens wrote:So they're alternating with crops which get fertilizer?


    Exactly.
    Tyler Ludens
    pollinator

    Joined: Jun 25, 2010
    Posts: 5326
    Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
        
      20
    Ok thanks, I guess that's different from what I would consider "near organic."
    R Scott


    Joined: Apr 13, 2012
    Posts: 2290
    Location: Kansas Zone 6a
        
      28
    Tyler Ludens wrote:Ok thanks, I guess that's different from what I would consider "near organic."


    Fair enough.

    Around here, "near organic" means it didn't get sprayed or oversprayed from the neighbor. It is absolutely impossible to be truly organic unless you import your own air

    Walter Jeffries


    Joined: Nov 21, 2010
    Posts: 907
        
      18
    About 90% of our feed comes off our pastures for our pigs, sheep, chickens, ducks and geese.

    We don't feed the poultry during the warm months as they get everything they need from pasture. They are our organic insect patrol. During the winter we feed them pastured pork - left overs from butchering.

    Our pigs eat pasture for most of their diet plus whey which provides lysine, an amino-acid, pumpkins and such we grow and occasional veggies, spent barley from a local small brewer and sometimes apple mash from a local cider mill. Once in a while they get a bit of bread as a training treat to load them.

    The pasture is grasses and a lot of legumes such as alfalfa and clovers. That raises the protein mix.

    Cheers,

    -Walter Jeffries
    Sugar Mountain Farm
    Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
    in the mountains of Vermont
    Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
    http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop

    Check out our Kickstarting the Butcher Shop project at:
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sugarmtnfarm/building-a-butcher-shop-on-sugarmountainfarm
     
     
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