Essential Alternative Animal Feeds

Posted on 2023-09-28
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Poultry

  • Free range or modified free range
  • Whole grains-grown your own, wheat, oats, barley, some corn
  • Sprout whole grains in the winter
  • Weeds – lamb’s quarter, pigweed, comfrey, chickweed, alfalfa, chard, clover, dandelion greens, cress, grass, sunflower seeds, squash, pumpkins, vegetable kitchen scraps, fall garden cleanup
  • Table and Kitchen scraps
  • Slugs, snails, and other bugs

Ducks/Geese

  • Similar to chickens
  • Different – foragers, bugs of all sorts, grass, weeds, corn, non-medicated rabbit pellets

Cows

  • Hay, pasture (⅛ acre per cow), legumes, peas, corn silage, mangel beets, sugar beet tailings, root vegetables, carrots, crushed beans, clover, alfalfa, lavender, comfrey, kale
  • Trees-willow, mulberry, poplar
  • Wintering – for 1 cow, approximately 2 tons of alfalfa hay (need both roughage and protein) alfalfa provides both

Goats

  • Some brush, grass, variety of weeds/herbs
  • Vegetables, grains, mangel beets, corn dodder, carrot tops, lettuce, second-cutting alfalfa, melon rinds, roses bushes, apple branches, squash
  • Wintering – for 1 goat, 6 – 9 bales of good second cutting alfalfa, some vegetables, grain rations, brush per goat

Sheep

  • Grass
  • Enriching pasture add-alfalfa, orchard grass, sweet clover, dandelion, burdock, just about anything they can reach, and timothy
  • Wintering glean corn harvested fields, root vegetables, hay (10 bales alfalfa) & grain ration – 75 pounds per sheep

Above material: Carla Emery’s book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 10th edition, 2008.

Rabbits

  • Prefer clover-hay, but good alfalfa, vegetable and fruit cuttings from the kitchen, vegetable tops, salad leftovers, lawn cuttings

Pigs

  • Eat just about anything, need a balance of protein and carbs, will consume 800-1000 pounds of feed to reach market weight

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