alternative animal feed

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by moonwolf, Oct 23, 2004.

  1. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I thought I would bring up this topic in a general sense about what foodstuffs, waste, or things you grow to feed your animals.

    For example, is feeding redworms to poulty a good idea? How does it affect the meat or eggs taste, in any?

    What about growing crops like beets or something for pigs or other stock.

    What gain can be done by adding some type of specific growth for animals in pasture, maybe such as kale or trefoil? Just ideas, I haven't had experience with any of the above.

    So what 'other' things you feed animals other than what you have to buy in the feed store?

    Rich
     
  2. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    I was going to ask the same thing yesterday and lost the post! Me, I'm mostly curious about what people grow to feed chickens through the winter... cutting grass and weeds over the summer to feed the rabbits "hay" in the winter works fine, but chickens need more than dry greenery.

    Next year, I'll plant corn and sunflowers for winter feed, but I bet there are more ideas out there :)

    Almost forgot to add: Whatever I don't eat goes to the rabbits... what they don't eat goes to the chickens... what the chickens don't eat (unlikely) goes on the compost. Rabbits will eat just about any kind of veggies and fruit, along with bread, pasta, rice, cereal, chicken scratch, roadside weeds, tree bark and leaves, etc. Chickens will eat anything from dead skunks and dog poop to seed heads, bugs, table scraps, leftovers, grated cheese, watermelon, spaghetti - meaning, they'll eat ANYTHING that they can get in their beaks.
    The rabbits are tasty with their varied diet, but I don't know how the chickens would taste. Never had any complaints about the eggs until the hens stopped laying a while back, except for a seemingly unrelated, temporary little problem with flat yolks.
     

  3. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    We are going to try feeding the chickens left over pumpkins from our (temporary)farm stand. I guess we'll have to get back to you in a few months about how that goes. I'm kind of wondering how we will store them to make them last into the winter.

    (the stand is temporary because we just tried it this year and don't know if we will monkey with it next year. We sold corn shocks, pumpkins and straw but all were handy this year, with the front field all corn this year.)
     
  4. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    You can grow all your own, people have done so since they started keeping livestock. However, you need to really watch how the protein, carbs, fats and vitamins are balanced. Particularly if you have production breeds and expect them to produce really well, they will need the right kind of feeds. I think it would be worthwhile to research what grows well in your area for the animals you want to raise.

    Some things that are easy to raise are proso millet, sunflowers, beans, alfalfa, clover, comfrey, nettles, thistles, amaranth. I've not tried to figure out ratios yet. But these are some of what I intend to raise for my birds.

    Pumpkin and winter squash are good supplements, but be careful of summer squash, it does not have enough calories.
     
  5. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    These are great replies. Thanks.

    Zuchinnis. When these were in overabundance, I used a machete knife to roughly chop for the ducks and chickens. They loved it, but were also supplemented with regular feed. I'm cautios about feeding fish or too much protein to egg layers, as it might affect egg taste.

    It's good to know about pumpkins. I didn't know the feed value is better than summer squash.
    Pigweed is the same as amaranth???

    I am thinking it's a a good idea to interplant sunflowers with corn, assuming that there is some bird (crow) control from stealing the corn. I would think interplanting with spreading squash plants in the corn help keep racoons away.
    The sunflower seed also would be nice for the winter bird feeders besides mixing with poultry feed. I'm also thinking Chard as a useful nutritous poultry feed, but not easy to store large quantities after harveting. Millet and buckwheat fed together is supposed to be a balanced feed for chickens. I suppose it could be fed without threshing and is piced at with the stalks remaining for llitter, then remove it with coop housekeeping for the compost pile.

    :yeeha:
     
  6. JAS

    JAS Well-Known Member

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    This year we tried a few new items. I planted mangels, Jerusalem artichokes and some field corn for the feeder pigs.. My garden was three times larger this year so I had the room. I also planted zuchinnies, sunflowers, and extra cuccumbers for the chickens.

    The mangels were a hit, the pigs and the goats liked both the tops and the roots.

    The Jerusalem artichokes grew very well but I didn't plant very many and we are going to plant the huge amount of roots harvested this year in the pig lot for the feeder pigs next year.

    I planted the giant striped sunflowers but will see if I can get black sunflowers for next year.

    The field corn is being enjoyed by all. The pigs and the goats eat most of the plant along with the corn.

    I will be doing some research for new items for next year.
     
  7. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Pigweed is in the same family as amaranth. But there are some varieties of amaranth that are improved for cultivating. Nice thing about growing grains/seeds for chickens is they love to thresh it for you.
     
  8. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    I guess I should add, I was planning to feed the pumpkins ot the chickens in addtion to their regular feed and calcium (oyster shell) as a treat and something to play with and something to give their winter eggs color.

    Once the barn is cleaned out ... I kinda wonder where all we will find volunteer pumpkins next year :haha:

    ann
     
  9. superduperchickenman

    superduperchickenman Well-Known Member

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    winter rye, mustard, swiss chard, sprouted oats, meat scraps, boiled potatoe peels, winter squash seeds,, mmmm yummy! and of course you can raise some of the grains, cut the heads off and store them for the chickens to peck at during the winter.
     
  10. JAS

    JAS Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I forgot. I am going to try millet next year. I've read that if you hang it in the coop just with-in reach it will give your chickens some exercise in the winter.
     
  11. tonto

    tonto Well-Known Member

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    Not to mention being entertaining. :)

    -tonto
     
  12. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I grow just about everything my animals eat. Most farmers do, otherwise you can't make any money from livestock.

    There are lots of ways to stretch feed dollars and there is tons of material on that. Rotational grazing to extend grazing seasons, stockpiling grasses, planting fall/winter forage. Different types of forages for different types of livestock, etc.

    Get a good feed book such as "Feeds and Feeding" by Morrison and you are sure to get good ideas. If you get an older book, it will give you plenty of ideas on avoiding feed store feeds. Of course, as mentioned, you will not get the same productivity out of some things.

    Jena
     
  13. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Look at how the old timers did it. This farm was a dairy farm during the depression. The cows were fed (among other things like pasture) mangel beets, leftover from the process of making whiskey (corn mash) and beer (hops). You can check with local processors for that kind of thing. We feed the stalks from sweet corn to cattle just after we harvest the ears.
     
  14. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    >>>>>>>For example, is feeding redworms to poulty a good idea?<<<<<<<<

    I know there is a parasite of chickens that has part of it's life cycle in worms. That said, my chickens will be getting worms from under the rabbits. Those worms won't have had access to anything from the chickens, so should not be part of the cycle.

    Meg :)
     
  15. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

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    The goat (before I sold her) and the chickens love squash-yellow, zucchini, acorn doesn't matter as long as I split them up so they could get to the insides. The winter squashes keep well too. When I can spaghetti sauce I use a "Squeezo" type thing that removes the seeds and skins of the tomatoes and just leaves the juice. I froze all the seeds and skins and gave them to the chickens all winter-they loved it. Unfortunately, I didn't get enough tomatoes to can this year because of the weather.

    Stacy in NY
     
  16. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    For my cattle, i typically plant 5 or so acres of oats with a 50% plowdown mix (clover. alfalfa, sweetclover mix) and 50% turnip as an underseed.

    I swath & combine the oats; bale the straw; let the cattle graze the mixture of oats regrowth, plowdown mix, & turnips; gain the fertilizer value of the legumes plus what the cattle leave behind. This grazing crop kicks in about the time my pastures go dormant for the summer heat, so it works well for me.

    Note that grazing legumes (clover, alfalfa, etc) can cause some serious bloat issues if you don't manage it well, so know what you are doing.

    I also fence off 20-40 acres of cornstalks along with some field road grass about now and let them graze that until winter shuts it down.

    --->Paul
     
  17. MikeD

    MikeD Well-Known Member

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    I'm kicking myself for not saving the link now but I tripped over a study that was done a year or two ago that focused on feeding muscove duck offal to rabbits. I believe that the study showed that the rabbit growth rate was acceptable when feeding between 25 and 50% offal. Maybe a quick net search would turn up the study...
     
  18. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't think so, Mike. Feeding offel to animals is not a healthy practive for the animals or people who eat the animals, nor is making food animals cannibals a good practice either. Your choice of course.
     
  19. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Our livestock guard dogs eat all the offal and any other animal parts we don't eat. They also get all the bones after we've made soup. They love it and thrive on it. That isn't the only thing they get of course, it is just a treat during slaughtering and soup making times.

    The critters we eat get veggie matter and what ever they forage in the pastures if they're so incline - bugs, worms, grubs, slugs... mmmh! :)

    -Walter
    in Vermont
     
  20. MikeD

    MikeD Well-Known Member

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    GL, I know it sounds a tad off but I'm almost 100% positive that it was a university sponsored study. The experiment was designed and possibly even conducted in "third world" settings to help maximize the usage of livestock and various "feed" available. The diet wasn't exclusively offfal but between 25 and 50%. If I come across it I'll definitely post a link.