FEED for all?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by PFSfarmer, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. PFSfarmer

    PFSfarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just wanted to share a thought.

    I dunno bout all of you, but when feeding one or hundreds of animals it seems at sometime during the season you are going to buy feed. It maybe winter and everything is covered in a snow blanket or it could be a summer drought turning everything to a dust bowl. Now if you have one type of animal and only a few its pretty simple to hopefully give it left overs and buy very little feed from where ever, but if you have different types or species and numerous animals what do you do? Again its easy if you have a couple of chickens, but if you have 100 chickens, 3 pigs, 4 diary goats, 3 rabbits, 7 cows, and 2 dogs what do you do? I dont have these numbers, but one day I might and I see this as very possible.

    What about free feed? Left over produce, bakery goods, etc.? How many of you do this? This is what we want to do, but what is in it? Which animals do you feed it to? I hope to all. How do you go about doing such a thing? This seems to be the cheapest method besides the fuel it is only your time spent.

    Everyone wants GMO free and Organic. That is great, but the cost is expensive. I found a feed mill that sells exactly this. GMO free and Organic, but is 2-3 times the cost of the other feed at the feed store or tractor supply. Well I do think they will make a custom blend, but what blend would feed all those animals? If you buy at least 500lbs they will sell to you right at the mill otherwise you have to find a feed store that sells their products. This would be nice, but obviously the most expensive if you have to buy a few pounds to a few tons of feed a year for each type of animal. I would probably go out of my way to buy in bulk if there was an all around blend that could be fed to all animals. Is there a such thing?

    Another thought is that long ago there was no such thing as bagged feed. What did they do then besides pasture for all of these animals and cut hay? I guess you could give your left overs, such as eggs, diary, and baked goods that are getting ready to go bad and left overs.


    I would like to hear others thought, opinions, suggestions, experiences, and how tos on FEED for all.
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    My cousin raises pigs. She has a deal to take away all the culls from several grocery markets, Shaws and Hannafords where she lives. It ends up being the pigs sole diet not to mention a lot of it is still fit for human consumption. Very small food bill at her house.but many dented cans. I've no experience with goats but have heard they eat anything and of course they'd be eating the hay your feeding the cows too. Feed hay of course not mulch.
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The grist mill has been around since Colonial times, here in North America. Farmers would sell their harvest to raise cash and also take their locally grown grains to be ground and the mill would often take a cut as payment. Of course, that mill then sold the grains as cracked grains to small holders who didn't grow their own, grind it into flour for villagers, etc. Most towns and villages sprang up wherever a local mill was constructed.

    To be sure, the science of dietary needs wasn't up to snuff back then, but the ability to buy sacks of feed has been around for 300 years, at least.

    For certain, no blend of feed is appropriate for all the animals you listed. But.... the base is often quite similar. It is the vitamin/minerals package that makes these different feeds different for the most part. After all, ground corn is ground corn and it likely 60-70 of the base of most feeds. Soy, oats, alfalfa meal, wheat, bran, and other chaff type byproducts too. Just sayin'.

    If you bought a ground meal in bulk and then dressed that base with the appropriate additive package of minerals for each species, in a porta feed mixer, it could certainly be done. Might want to chat up your local feed mill operator and get his take on the economics of it all.
     
  4. Talihofarms

    Talihofarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are an Organic operation.
    GMO is not permitted in Organic.
    The only way to save money is to mix and grind your own or bulk purchase from the mill.
    1 Ton minimum is the standard.
    Prices vary from location.
    Our hog 18% is $480 a ton.
    Poultry producer 20% is a little more per ton.
    In our state we are not allowed to feed pigs for resale garbage. ( grocery store, left overs. bakery other sources)

    You can expect a hog to eat around 6 pounds of feed per day each.
    We use pasture for our poultry and hogs, this covers around 30% of our feed cost.
    Lambs are 90 % pasture.
    There is no universal farm feed, each species needs its own ratio and minerals.
    Buying a 50# bag of feed at a time is the most expensive way to feed out meat animals.
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Fred and Tallyho make good points. A lot also has to do with where you are, how much land is available for pasture and how pristine that pasture is.
    As was said, there is no universal feed, especially if you want any performance from your animals. For example, if you feed chickens straight grain it won't be long before they quit laying.
    In Texas you probably have pasture and bugs much longer in the year than I do but your droughts can be worse.
    As Fred said, you could get bulk grain and mix in your own supplements to meet the optimal nutritional requirements of each species. Trouble is some of the necessary micro-nutrients available are for massive amounts of finished feed product. For added protein for the omnivores you can get fish and meat meal in bulk.

    " if you have 100 chickens, 3 pigs, 4 diary goats, 3 rabbits, 7 cows, and 2 dogs what do you do"

    Keep in mind that all the animals except the dogs can live on pasture. Cattle and sheep are grazers, goats are browsers and as ruminants, do quite well on pasture and hay alone. They really don't need grain and IMO are better if only grass fed. Lambs can benefit from a supplement until the rumen part of their stomach develops.
    Horses and rabbits are not ruminants but hind-gut fermenters though also do well on pasture.
    Pigs, chickens and gamebirds, are like humans, omnivorous. They can also do well on pasture. They need to be moved often or they'll eliminate the protein sources and will decline as the protein in their pasture does. That's why I said the pasture needs to be pristine.
    That leaves the dogs and while much dog food contains a lot of grain they are much better off on a strict meat diet so they can eat your chickens, pigs, goats, rabbits and cows.

    Full circle so to speak - if you have the pasture.
     
  6. PFSfarmer

    PFSfarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorta what I had in mind.
     
  7. PFSfarmer

    PFSfarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Might be on to something as far as getting the base blended and then add what ever as needed.
     
  8. PFSfarmer

    PFSfarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with the 50# is not the way to go for sure. Be nice if there was one feed for all. $480 a ton....That is bout what it is at this place. This place is also 2 hours from me. How close is yours.
     
  9. PFSfarmer

    PFSfarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They made awesome points!

    The droughts down here past couple years dang near turned us into a dust bowl.

    Gettin the base and mixin in the rest seems to be only solution.

    As far as the pasture I am in the middle of thinning out 14 acres and probably need to narrow down to exactly which animals, but we gotta start somewhere.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    14 acres would be a great start. Adding lots of organic matter over time can help. There is no substitute for rain.
    The more diverse your pasture the better.
    By pasture, I meant to add earlier, is anything growing out on your property that your animals can choose from. I did not mean a fescue field.
     

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