Frugal Tips for our Livestock

FarmerChick

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Any rumen, feed roughage. Hay is way more important than any grain you can provide. Hay/roughage first, then the extra.
 

StupidBird

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Any tips for chickens and rabbits? I'm in a situation where they can't be free-ranged. This fall I planted a large cover crop of winter greens (collards, mustards, kales, etc.) and will harvest and hand feed these. An experiment in letting the hens graze a patch completely destroyed it in two days, so no more of that.

Next summer I am planning on more corn: sweet corn for people, grain corn for the hens and people (flour and grits). Also, a large patch of sunflowers. Some other grains to experiment with: sorghum, buckwheat...

Can I feed sunchokes/jerusaleum artichokes to chickens?

How do I start a patch of alfalfa for cutting by hand?
 

hqueen13

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mandieg4 said:
I guess the tip for my long-winded story is to make sure you have animals that best fit your actual situation and not try to make the situation fit the animal. If you don't want to feed grain, find an animal that does well without it because not all will.

My second tip is learn about pasture rotation. I'm still trying to figure it out and I'm sure it's going to take several years to get it right, but I can already see how important it is.
Yes, rotating pastures is imperative to the health of the grass. I know there are concepts to rotate livestock to also improve things. I know that cows will eat poor-er hay than horses will, so rotating cows into an area where horses have made a mess of hay will help clean up and utilize hay that might otherwise be wasted. My hope is that when we get our own farm all of our pastures will be able to handle all of the various types of animals so that any group can be put anywhere depending on the needs. We'll see how well that goes when it happens :p

Have you ever tried researching rotational grazing online? There have to be some sort of resources out there. Here at the non-profit equestrian facility they actually did a study in partnership with the USDA looking at various grass types, regrowth rates, and grazing preferences of the horses. It was really interesting, and we gained quite a bit of info that way that helps with future planting and things. I am sure there is info through the county extension office or even just online to improve upon whatever practices you're able to use.
 

Beekissed

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Joel Salatin has a great book on rotational grazing called Salad Bar Beef. It is very detailed and comprehensive...the man does know his pasture.
 

BarredBuff

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When I say pasture I mean yard/lawn that is currently is just grass and clover. You are saying that she will prbably be just fine on it???? I have enough yard space for her, we are fencing large places in. But I personally want to give her grain as a treat I guess something to take her mind off milking. Does that make sense?
 

Beekissed

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Yes..many a folk give their milk cows feed while they are milking. That way, you don't have to try and catch the ol' girl, she'll be standing at the gate waiting for you when it's time to milk. It's a wise thing to do!

I kept whole grains that I mixed for my chooks, but could also use for my sheep, when I wanted to train them to move where/when I wanted them to...a little BOSS, a little oats, a little barley, etc.
 

BarredBuff

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Bee, I have a question. When your sheep were in your yard, were they healthy and productive with the fescue and clover present??
 

miss_thenorth

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I'm not Bee, but my sheep have access to our pasture which is planted with pasture mix seed, and they also grazed on our lawn in the warmer months. they did fine. I have no idea how they were fed before I got them, but I did grain them when they were raising young ones, but now, are only getting grass hay--same as the horses, cow, and goat. i grain the goat when she milks. ( oats, BOSS, and alfalfa cubes and loose minerals.) When my sheep have their babies, I will re-evaluate at that time. My cow only eats grass hay and pasture. I offer loose minerals to all of them, the cow seem unintersted in them. When the cow calfs, I will also re-evaluate the feed situation, but horses, sheep, goats asnd cows do not need grains. Their stomachs are not designed to digest them. So if you do feed them, you need to be careful. I am not a believer in feeding grains to my critters.


And as far as the egg shells are concerned, I throw them out whole tothe chooks. I do not dry them, grind them or do anything. I have a container under mysink and I collect them for a few days and them toss them outside. My birds are fine. I am sure you will hear so many opinions, -you need to do your own research and find out what YOU believe. then give it a try. Me?-- I research everything when it comes to my animals. And then, test the waters.

Regarding your cow, who much land do you have for her? Considering she will be a full sized cow, if you don't have enough land, you will need to supplement hay. I have a small breed cow, and she eats ALOT!! At least as much, if not more, than my two sheep and goat put together. I wish you luck!!
 

BarredBuff

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I dont know the actual measurement of the land, but Im sure we will find out. I do plan to supplement with hay anyway just incase. Our journey with this cow has progressed a lot actually, from a dry lot to a little pasture, now most of the yard :p I just hope we will have enough area for her to graze efficiently. :fl
 

Beekissed

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BarredBuff said:
Bee, I have a question. When your sheep were in your yard, were they healthy and productive with the fescue and clover present??
Oh, boy, were they! Too fat, really. Of course, a yard in my area is just a former pasture that gets mowed alot and only allows the shorter grasses to thrive. That's all yard are in the country...now, in the city I'm sure some have been seeded with certain grasses that aren't as nutrient rich.

BB, your yard/pasture will improve with the grazing and rotating of the graze. You should see that lawn now after having the cows and the sheep on it...the grazing and the manure/urine did some kind of magic....lush, deeply green and soooo much thicker than it was when I first arrived there.

Check out that book I mentioned from your local library. Salatin tells just how and why grasses improve with proper grazing from livestock and with judicious rotation of stock. He may be a rude man but he sure knows his pasture! :p
 
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