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Multi-species bulk feed

Discussion in 'Natural and Organic Husbandry' started by sawfish99, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. Dec 23, 2013
    sawfish99

    sawfish99 Overrun with beasties

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    We have been experimenting with organic/GMO free feed on our farm. It is definitely expensive and staying in control of costs is vital to making a profit. For a couple of years now, I have been considering purchasing 1 or 2 bulk feed bins to use through the summer when our consumption is the highest. However, we have a variety of species on our farm - dairy goats, pigs, rabbits, chickens, horses. The horses don't get grain. So, my thought is what if I can find something good enough that multiple species can eat it and I can purchase a single variety.

    My initial thought is the goats are the most critical to a specific feed regimen with rabbits second, and I don't think those two will overlap well. However, if I was able to purchase bulk, organic goat feed, I think the chickens could probably do fine on that and the pigs might be ok too. We only raise 2 or 3 pigs a year.

    Has anyone else taken this approach?
     
  2. Dec 23, 2013
    Kotori

    Kotori Exploring the pasture

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    I've been looking into this as well, and I found this recipe in a book. Book said it would be good for cows, goats,rabbits, pigs. 2 part barley 1 part oat and 1 part bean. I know next to nothing about nutrition, but I imagine the barley has the 'ideal' protein level, with oats lower but cheaper and beans higher. If you require different protein levels, it might be good to have one tank with a low protein mix and another filled with protein boosting mix.
     
  3. Dec 24, 2013
    elbesta

    elbesta Loving the herd life

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    Have you thought about trying to grow Fodder. Its cost effective and will feed all the animals.
     
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  4. Dec 25, 2013
    SheepGirl

    SheepGirl Master of Sheep Golden Herd Member

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    Fodder is a VERY expensive feed because of the amount of moisture in it. I will never feed it.
     
  5. Dec 25, 2013
    Azriel

    Azriel Loving the herd life

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    I am able to get a mix here that a local farmer grinds that has worked well for me, but I'm only feeding cows and horses so far. 1 part Alfalfa, 3 parts barley, 1 part each oats and corn. This is by weight of each and I get it in ton totes for $225 a ton which works out to about $11.25 a hundred. I don't think thats to bad. Its all grown locally and naturally. I don't see why this wouldn't work for most any other farm animal as long as they had minerals free choice. My animals have free choice hay and I just use this as a feed supplement to the hay. I do not use this for the chickens as it has too much barley, and he grinds in 10 ton lots, so it would be hard to have him do a mix just for me that had a protein other than barley.
     
  6. Dec 25, 2013
    elbesta

    elbesta Loving the herd life

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    SheepGirl,
    If you do some more research you will find that is not true. The main drawback to feeding fodder to large herds is the cost of a system to grow it. Fodder is highly digestible compared to grain. Where I live there is no grazing for 6 months of the year. I have never raised sheep but I have raised cattle, pigs, chickens, turkeys and now goats. If you are on facebook join the Fodder gp they can answer any questions you might have, give it a try your sheep will love it.
    Thanks, Ernie
     
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  7. Dec 25, 2013
    SheepGirl

    SheepGirl Master of Sheep Golden Herd Member

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    I have done my research and my math.

    A sheep requires 2% of their body weight in dry matter per day during maintenance. A 150 lb ewe will need 3 lbs of dry matter per day. Fodder is about 80% moisture. So 3 lbs of DM / 20% DM in fodder = 15 lbs of fodder needed to feed each sheep daily to meet their maintenance requirements.

    Compare that to hay, which is about 85% DM on average... 3 lbs of DM / 85% DM in hay = 3.53 lbs of hay needed to feed each sheep daily to meet their maintenance requirements.

    Let's say you can grow 500 lbs of fodder for $11 (the cost of a 50 lb bag of barley at the feed store). That is $0.022/lb. Doesn't sound bad at all, does it? (Though that does not include the capital costs of the growing system or the daily maintenance.) Well...when you think of the amount you have to feed (the 15 lbs), then it is $0.33 per sheep per day.

    Or you could feed 3.53 lbs of hay per day. In my area I purchase hay for $0.0625/lb. (Though recently I paid $0.09/lb for hay :eek:) That amount is about $0.22 per sheep per day. OR with the amount I recently paid for hay, $0.32 per sheep per day.

    If you have five sheep, that is the difference between $1.65 (fodder) and $1.10 (hay) over the course of a day. Over the course of a month, that is $49.50 for fodder or $33 for hay. If you feed this over the course of a year, it will cost you around $40 more every year per animal to feed fodder (again, not including set up costs). When you have hay, you can just buy it straight from another farmer (though storage can be an issue, but even still you can have hay under a tarp outside if you lack a barn or other structure). Again, in this example I am using the prices in my area...if fodder pencils out for you then by all means use it. But it is not a viable feed source for me.
     
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  8. Dec 25, 2013
    Azriel

    Azriel Loving the herd life

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    Actually SheepGirl, your numbers are off because you are compairing fodder to hay and you really can't do that, its like compairing apples to tomatos. Fodder is much more nutrient dense than grain so you would not need to feed 15 pounds of fodder to get the nutrient value needed for maintenance, that would be like feeding more than 15 pounds of grain per animal a day. The problem with fodder is that if you were to just feed fodder the animal is always hungery because even tho they have met their nutrient needs, they have only eaten a small square of food (for a sheep you would feed about a 6"x6" square) and their belly is empty so in order to feel satisfied you still need to feed hay. As a supplement for a few animals or for a few chickens over winter when no other greens are available its great, but I don't have the time to mess with growing it, and for a large herd of animals you would need one of the large fodder growing systems and I don't think too many could afford that.
     
  9. Dec 25, 2013
    Azriel

    Azriel Loving the herd life

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    Actually SheepGirl, your numbers are off because you are compairing fodder to hay and you really can't do that, its like compairing apples to tomatos. Fodder is much more nutrient dense than grain so you would not need to feed 15 pounds of fodder to get the nutrient value needed for maintenance, that would be like feeding more than 15 pounds of grain per animal a day. The problem with fodder is that if you were to just feed fodder the animal is always hungery because even tho they have met their nutrient needs, they have only eaten a small square of food (for a sheep you would feed about a 6"x6" square) and their belly is empty so in order to feel satisfied you still need to feed hay. As a supplement for a few animals or for a few chickens over winter when no other greens are available its great, but I don't have the time to mess with growing it, and for a large herd of animals you would need one of the large fodder growing systems and I don't think too many could afford that.
     
  10. Dec 25, 2013
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master

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    I pay .025 per pound for hay grown next door.
    The only place I could grow fodder, I looked into it... would be our warehouse. We pay commercial electric and the cost for lighting and temp control as well as the initial set up was way to expensive for us. Mold was the biggest problem I saw with the system.

    Fodder isn't off my list, I would still love to do it, maybe down the road.

    One question I have is the high moisture content, how much is utilized?
    I think this is good info though, on both sides. :)