How much fodder to grow?

Shiloh Acres

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Interesting article.

If I can ever manage to raise a cow, I want it to be primarily grass-fed. It just seems to me the animals are healthier eating what they are designed to eat.

I've processed mainly chickens and rabbits around here. I'm quite pleased with the Roos raised by silkies that I process. The silkies are great foragers and teach their chicks the same. Even young Roos from my RIR, who is tall but not that stocky, are meaty enough with lots of nice yellow fat. I do still feed layer pellets and scratch, but the silkies raise chicks to bs perhaps 80% foragers, with scratch grains as well. They eat lots of insects, grasses, plant material, scraps, and who knows what else.

The rabbits I processed were raised on pelleted feed. I'm just learning to switch a bit for them. So far mostly clovers, grasses, and hay. I can't comment much on the effect on their meat.

I haven't slaughtered any goats here, but they get mostly browse and hay, with grain for the does.

I'm thinking the effects will vary depending on type of animal? Some I think are perhaps more suited to grain than others? Or I wonder if we should look to restricting grain all around?

I know I'm always hearing various reasons NOT to overfeed corn, though it IS a major ingredient in many animal feeds (I'm sure because it's traditionally cheap -- wonder if the increases in corn prices will result in reformulated feeds?)

Sorry, kinda thinking out loud here. Thanks for the info on mangels. I haven't been able to order seeds this year, but I may order JUST those. If the beets grow anywhere near as large as they say, it can't help but save money in the long run, assuming they will grow here.
 

old fashioned

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The article talks about CAFO animals, but I don't think any of us SSers are in that line and I think most of us lean toward more sustainable and healthy practices such as natural diets and foraging/grazing. So I don't see how that would apply to us.

Currently we only have 2 #%$@ hens in our backyard and they get atleast a large penned area, if not the whole yard-depending on the time of year. But even if we had goats or cows, I don't see a problem with supplementing their grass diet with some grains.

Or am I still missing something here? I'm sorry I don't mean to make any trouble here, but I just don't get how that article would really apply. :hu
 

Wifezilla

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Ruminants aren't built to eat grains. CAFO's are an extreme example, but it still doesn't change the basic fact that cows, goats, etc... are not made to eat grains.
 

Shiloh Acres

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If I'm not wandering too far afield, it gets back to something I've wondered about.

When goats get into chicken feed, it's a disaster, right? Goats can and sometimes do die from eating not-huge quantities of chicken feed.

My goats have never gotten chicken feed, but the does (when out of their main pasture/yards) do know how to get into the guinea pen out front and will do so just to snarf up a few scratch grains. If I feed my does grain (which I feed them a little dairy-formulated sweet-feed type grain) ... How is that so fundamentally different from chicken feed?

Don't worry -- I'm not planning to give the does chicken feed. It'd be a lot cheaper to give the chickens dairy feed! But I've wondered before if I'm missing something here, since just about everyone grains their milking does?
 
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