• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
  • r ranson
  • Jay Angler
  • Pearl Sutton
stewards:
  • Leigh Tate
  • paul wheaton
  • Nicole Alderman
master gardeners:
  • Timothy Norton
  • Christopher Weeks
gardeners:
  • Saana Jalimauchi
  • Jeremy VanGelder
  • Ulla Bisgaard

Feed Prices, Tho'... Can we share feed make and grow tips?

 
pollinator
Posts: 177
Location: Barre, MA and Silistra, Bulgaria
35
kids foraging bee
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A lot of us with livestock have noticed a wicked increase in pre-mixed and pelleted feeds.  And there has been some mumbling about a suspected formulation change in certain commercial brands that is making them less than satisfactory.  So... The obvious answer is to see if buying separate ingredients and mixing our own feeds can be less expensive.

Right now, we are feeding a commercial organic pellet and for 15 dairy goats (none in milk, none bred), we're spending $600/mo (!!!)  between the feed and hay.  They can browse.  We need an LGD, though.  The predator pressure has increased unbelievably in the last two years.  Prior to that, we had NO issues (for 10 years).

So if you have a mix you like, can you start with what critter/s you're feeding, whether they are dairy or meat or egg layers, and maybe where you are located?  Some feed crops grow better and are better suited for animals living in that area.

Not all of the folks here can grow all of their own feeds right now for one reason or another.  But it would be good to have that info to come back to, if you'd care to share.  Sometimes we permies can get a little 'pie in the sky'.  Let's try to keep this one really practical so that the info can be used today, if needed.  

Thanks heaps,
 
steward
Posts: 15118
Location: USDA Zone 8a
4150
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Since it is winter here I like to suggest growing microgreens for animals.

Since you mentioned that you have goats, what do the goats like to eat that would be good for microgreens?

Actually, any seeds for veggies that you have might be loved by goats and other livestock.

Here are some threads that might give you or others some suggestions:

https://permies.com/t/126944/Selecting-Sprouts-Feed

https://permies.com/t/178017/Saving-money-chicken-feed

https://permies.com/t/202855/Growing-chicken-feed
 
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you find a farmer or grain cleaner that might have screenings or scrap grain for cheap. I got lucky and have that which I use in a fermenting tub(thats not big enough) mixing everything in;  lots of water, store bought pellets, kitchen scraps, garden leftovers could even use hay or other plant material. Works well even the wild oats seem to be digested by the pigs and goats. Without cheap grain I was paying $400/month now 50$.
 
steward
Posts: 15301
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
4714
7
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I buy organic whole grains and mix my own chicken food.  I wish I could grow it but I don't have enough space, though I may try with the flax.  I also wish I could get organic field peas to replace the roasted soybeans...

5# oats
5# corn
5# wheat/barley
4# roasted soybeans
1# flax
some mineral additives as well
 
Posts: 672
Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
81
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
ive replaced chicken feed with my own concoctions and they are laying more with it. i mixed beans , brown rice, pasta , cat food, oatmeal with some herbs and some honey for taste. filled a 3gal  pot with water added ingredients and simmered for 1 hr. once cooled i added some sourdough starter. i feed 25 hens a qt. of that a day. i still have layer pellets available but they havent touched them. i get my food from expired stuff at a local salvage store for free or little money. takes me 10min. to put a batch together and they eat off that pot all week.
birds look great and are really laying well for this time of year. even the goats like it. if you hit up the grocery store managers they can get you expired stuff with little effort.
 
Posts: 35
5
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I dont have goats. However what about growing mulberry trees as coppiced green feed in summer and "hay" in winter
In my area they grow like weeds.  
I get whole grains for my chickens from a local organic mill. They sell a " livestock" grade at a reasonable price, so we stock up.
 
steve bossie
Posts: 672
Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
81
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i have 3 mulberry but theyre young still. the closest whole grain mill is 200 mi. from here.
 
gardener
Posts: 1644
Location: N. California
752
2
hugelkultur kids cat dog fungi trees books chicken cooking medical herbs ungarbage
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have 20 laying hens. I've recently stopped buying layer feed and gone to hole grains only.  I have been fermenting grains for a few years now. I recently decided to add to it and eliminate the feed. My reason is it just seems healthier to feed real food compared to processed food.  I did a bunch of research, watched a ton of YouTube, and went for it.
First I confess I didn't cost it out. I doubt it's saving me money. Since I had to buy all the ingredients at once the cost was quite high. Thank goodness I work for a Co-op so I do get a discount. I definitely don't have the land of time for that matter to grow my own grains. ( Wish I could )  It's hard to know cost until I know how long it will last. I mixed a 50 lb. Bag of whole wheat, oats, and barley, a 25 lb. Bag of black oil sunflower seeds, 1/3 of a 50 bag of soybean meal.  That's the base. Then I added 5 lb. Split peas, 3 lb. Flaxseed. I had some steamed corn I threw in (I won't add corn again until late fall). That's it. I have some of the mix in the feeders, and I ferment 4 cups  of the mix and feed each day.  There's a dry feeder that always has oyster shell. I give dried mealworms as a treat not every day. And they get lost of stuff from my garden.  I'm lucky to have mild winter so I always have something growing in the garden.
This is new to me, so the results are unknown at this point. Before I was fermenting wheat, oats, and barley throwing in millet, and or, peas, and or flaxseed, and or Chia seeds. Depending on what I could afford and went to the store.  They got 4 cups of the fermented grains and the feeder always had layer feed. Mealworms as a treat, and garden extras.
So far they seem to be doing well. They look a bit shinier. Seem to be laying well.  The only concern I'm having is if they are getting enough minerals.  
They do have access to there chicken yard. Nothing grows there, ( I'm working on that). The ground is covered with wood chips. They can dig for worms and bugs year round.  
I hope this isn't costing me more, but my main motivation is healthy food.  That being said I definitely don't have lots of money so we will see if I can afford to feed them this way.
I would love to hear comments, especially if you think I should add something to make sure they are getting the vitamins and minerals that may??    be missing. Or something that I should eliminate ( I have read to be careful with flaxseed).
Thanks
 
Anne Miller
steward
Posts: 15118
Location: USDA Zone 8a
4150
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Usually feed store offer corn, sorghum, barley, and oats in 50-lb bags.

These can be fermented or sprouted to feed most animals.

 
gardener
Posts: 372
188
personal care foraging urban books food preservation cooking fiber arts medical herbs ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I do not currently have animals but this is a topic I have always been interested in so I will link a Youtube video with a "recipe" and calculator for chicken feed - she ferments it and free-ranges her chickens as well:
 
pollinator
Posts: 365
Location: Appalachian Mountains
176
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When my husband was young his family had a dairy farm with Holstein cows.   County agent told them to give them a soy based feed.  All the cows started giving less milk and a lot of mastitis issues.  Their holistic vet came to the rescue and said stop all soy, give them buckwheat., and mostly forage.    Buckwheat is 12% protein, but a complete protein, and is a seed, not a grain.  They did, all cows recovered, more milk, more live calves, etc.  The secret was in getting the pastures highly mineralized which made it more nutritious with more protein and digestible nutrients.  

Cows and goats don’t digest grain well if they get much of it.  It can cause e.Coli.   I do feed some sprouted oats, sunflower seed to goats and chickens.  

Duckweed is 40%protein and easy to grow in ponds or containers.   I try to throw a handful in their drinking water every day (chickens) and they pick it out and eat it.  I put a little cal/Phos and trace minerals in the water to make it grow faster.  Tree hay is often higher in protein and minerals than alfalfa at 17%.   Alfalfa hay here is almost $1. Per lb., so cost prohibitive.  Mulberry is 18 to 28% protein, highly digestible and has 25x more calcium than milk; however, can block absorption of carbs and cause weight loss.  So feed sparingly with other stuff.   Sunflower or sunchoke (same family) has as much as 28% protein and lower leaves are highest in calcium.  Chop finely or cook for chickens and they eat more of it.  Poplar leaves have 15 to 16% protein and goats relish it.  Goats and sheep can eat black locust, which is 24% protein.  Multiflora Rose has a whopping 14.5 to 18% protein and is anti-bacterial so a medicine plant for goats, sheep, cows.  Sweet potato leaves are 17%, autumn olive 26.5, although protein can vary with age of leaves on most things.  Younger growth is a bit higher.   With any feeds, it is important to feed a wide selection and then watch to see what they pick out.  Then give them more of that, as they intuitively will balance their diet.  And expect it to change every few days as they get enough of this mineral or that, and suddenly too much so they stop favoring that as a feed source.  

I also grow a lot of winter squash, because it is so easy and it stores all year.  I feed it cooked to the chickens, or raw and sliced into small slices for goats.  The seed are a natural wormer too.  A good carb for energy and weight gain.  In Europe that is a primary swine feed in winter.  High also in Beta carotene.  

I feed a high copper mineral mix to my dairy goats.   Otherwise I would just give everyone, including chickens, a little Redmond conditioner.  Kelp is a good mineral source too.  

With high feed prices, and sometimes not even able to get hay or grain, I’m looking for any alternatives I can find.  

My plan this year is to grow more of those big long neck butternut (weigh up to 25 lbs. each), and more duckweed and sunflower for both hay and seed.  The chickens can be given a whole head and will pick it out themselves and it gives them something to do so they don’t get bored.  The seed are 30 to 40% protein.  

Most soils in the entire world have been leached out of most minerals, and humate levels which sequester minerals and water in the soils have decreased from over 25% to sometimes less than 2% in many areas.  Therein lies a lot of the problem.  Until we heal and regenerate the land, the nutrition for livestock and the resultant health which comes from eating that, just isn’t there.   If the mineral isn’t in the soil or is locked up and unavailable because the microbes are dead, it won’t be in the crop.  Remember, calcium governs uptake of all other minerals.  But you don’t want to overdo it either, as that creates more imbalance.  
 
Don't touch me. And don't touch this tiny ad:
Established homestead property 4 sale east of Austin TX
https://permies.com/t/259023/Established-homestead-property-sale-east
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic