Well, the mad rush is finally over! For now anyway. Farmer B has finished all his planting, and sooner than he ever has before. This makes me one happy lady, because now we can spend some more time around our home doing things that we want to do. Aside from a couple of hours here and there to make sure everything is growing well, Farmer B is all mine until the wheat harvest..Muah ha ha ha. I can see the “honey do” list growing 🙂
One thing we’ve wanted to do for a looong time is pull out our old feed mix mill. It’s been one under-utilized piece of equipment just shoved in the back of the machine-shed for probably a decade now. For some ridiculous reason (like a lack of time, perhaps?) we’ve been buying bag after bag of feed from our local feed store, when we could have been grinding up our very own!
I’m so excited that now, instead of paying someone else to grind it and bag it, we can do it ourselves and forget the bags! (I hate having those bags lying around. It kills me to throw them in the garbage, and they’re not recyclable). It’s been a couple of years since we’ve grown feed corn, but this year we got around to planting some. That’s one more thing I can check off my “Do It Ourselves” list. Next year, I’d like to take it one step further and grow non-GM feed grains.
The only down side is that since the corn was only planted a week ago, we still had to buy a ton of corn from the feed mill. On the bright side it’s local, and all the corn they sell is from local farmers. I enlisted our Farmer-In-Training to be a hand model so I could show you what we were grinding up.
All our animals (chickens, pigs, and turkeys) eat the same basic feed. The only difference is the protein content, which I can adjust by adding more or less protein to each bin of food. Corn makes up a good percentage of the finished product. So in goes the corn….
and it comes out looking like this…
Most commercial feeds contain 2 main ingredients: corn, and soybean meal. It works just fine, but I like a little more variety in the diet of my animals (and I don’t like relying on corn alone) so we add some barley. Now, they say barley in poultry feed causes”unhygenic sticky droppings” that stick to the cage floors, BUT since none of my birds are caged I don’t see that as a problem. If my girls can find some spilled barley, you better believe they’re gonna eat it, and I think the nutritional benefits of a varied diet out-weigh the potential negatives of sticky poop. So in goes the barley…
We also added some soybean meal for protein, and a pre-mixed vitamin/mineral supplement but I got distracted by F.I.T. and didn’t get a picture. But nonetheless, here’s what it all looks like when it’s done…
Now, I said we added some soybean meal. Soy is another ingredient I didn’t want to rely heavily on (and may drop all together one day), but it is an excellent source of protein. We designed the rations to have a lower base protein level so we could increase or reduce it based on who we were feeding it to. I really wanted this extra protein to be something with supplemental benefits. Something with some good nutritional value. I did a little looking and decided that Hemp would be a great addition. Not only is there a Hemp farm less than 20 minutes from our place, but it’s also high in protein, contains prebiotic to nourish good intestinal flora, and omega-3 fatty acids for good skin/feather condition.
I’m super excited to be on the road to having full control of my animals diets. I’m certainly no livestock nutritional expert, but I know what good food is, and I’m glad to be able to decide what does, and maybe more importantly, doesn’t go in to my animals feed!
On a side note, our cat had kittens! Aren’t they so stinkin’ cute??