Here in the Holler we keep small animal livestock. Chickens for meat and eggs, rabbits and turkeys also for meat. And every other year the pair of pigs for meat. We don't keep large stock mainly because of the lack of fence and a large barn. Also at our age we just felt we were getting too old to be running cattle and slinging hay. The small animal manures are a major part of our gardening system and keep our garden soils healthy. So we supplement what we do grow with venison which is in abundance, wild game and buy an occasional side of beef from a local farmer. With increases in animal feed back in May I posted about ideas to grow extra animal food for the livestock.
You can find that post HERE
So we planted extra pumpkins, sunflowers, some field corn and squash so that we could feed our livestock through the summer and into fall. The chickens especially loved the extra tomatoes and all the culls that we threw to them. We did have feed custom ground to supplement the vegetables.
The pigs manged to eat well all summer and now weigh in at around 230 pounds. They loved just about anything we fed them but especially loved the pumpkins, and field peas were another big hit, bushes and all. We did keep a few of the peas for ourselves. They ate corn husks, tomatoes, apple and peach culls. Extra squash and those giant zucchini that invariably always end up hiding beneath the plant. Anything green left at the end of the garden went to the pigs.
The rabbits loved the extra cabbage and greens along with windfall apples and field peas as well. They also enjoyed the sunflower heads and all the weeds we could pull them. They adored the green pea pods and would wait at the cage door for them. So in the end we didn't completely do away with the food bill but did manage to shave it considerably.
And we also picked up a few things along the way to supplement the vegetables and grain. We never knew that you could buy outdated bread at the day old bread store to feed livestock. We paid $10 for a truckload and although we didn't feed alot of it we did use it for the pigs along with the garden vegetables and custom ground grain and table scraps.
The other thing I learned is what a spoiled bunch of consumers we are in this country. Indeed O Wise One went to several people who sell at farmers markets and purchased their over ripe and bruised produce for next to nothing.
So when looking for ways to supplement that monthly grain bill just think outside the box. What do grocery stores do with their outdated produce and would they sell it for your livestock? What do truck farmers in your area do with their culls or maybe orchards have windfalls.
What did you feed your livestock this year that you produced?
Blessings From The Holler