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Waste Management Practices

Legamin

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Once visiting a poultry farm -- yep, the houses with thousands -- I noticed a well built compost bin. It was full of litter from the houses, as well as some expired chicken carcasses Viewed it and the big thermometer that was used in the pile, then asked what they did with it -- spread on fields, etc. Nope, a cattle farmer collected it and mixed with the feed he gave the feeders. o_O WOW.

Now there are a few large poultry farms within easy drive and some do spread the litter on their fields in winter/spring and/or sell to other farmers for that. It does stink! But if put out correctly and allowed to age, does grow things nicely. You have to be quite careful of grasses growing in the general vicinity of a poultry house as the nitrogen level can be so high as to poison some grazing animals -- horses for one -- if that is their only grass source. Next to those houses it can be quite concentrated. In fact, a large pile of this litter can kill everything around it...too much can be bad.

Yep, if some people saw what a chicken can/will eat, they'd never eat an egg! :cool:
I have to say that I would never eat the meat from any cow that was fed litter, garbage and dead decomposed chicken carcasses. That mix of bacteria’s cannot be healthy for a balanced rumen. My bet is that he had some substandard animals as a result. Chickens on the other hand are omnivores…cows are decidedly NOT omnivores. They are herbavores with a very delicate rumen.
 

Legamin

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I keep my rabbits in their own cages in the chicken run. Kind of like a raken house, but a raken run, I guess. The chickens take care of the rabbit poo.
Its pretty much impossible to keep the dog out of the chicken poo, and in turn I can only imagine they eat the dog’s poo too. When it’s time to clean the coop, I put it in the run. When it’s time to clean that, I put it in the compost pile. Same with the quail poo, except theirs just drops straight down into a collection bin, which, according to the dog, is a dinner bowl 🙄🙄🙄
I find it amazing that a dog thinks chicken poop “tastes just like chicken!” But that seems to be a universal truth. This is why farmers NEVER kiss their dogs on the mouth! (Of course I have seen people who watch their dog like their back side parts and then jump up and lick their owner’s mouth….maybe it’s all the same to them! That’s one I just can’t figure!
 

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I have to say that I would never eat the meat from any cow that was fed litter, garbage and dead decomposed chicken carcasses. That mix of bacteria’s cannot be healthy for a balanced rumen. My bet is that he had some substandard animals as a result. Chickens on the other hand are omnivores…cows are decidedly NOT omnivores. They are herbavores with a very delicate rumen.
I would never consider a cow's rumen to be delicate.

A horse's digestive tract is delicate... but not a cow's.

I think the smaller rumen on a goat makes it less hardy than the rumen on a cow.

I have never had sheep.

:idunno
 

Legamin

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It's called 'natural protein' or NPP-non-plant protein, and many feeds use it.
I don't agree with the feeding of plain old composted chicken crap but it is fairly common in the cattle end of things. It has to be cured, under roof and out of the weather, and from all accounts, takes on what has been described as a 'chocolate odor' once it's cured.

You will find feather meal in all sorts of different feeds and protein tubs..lick tubs. It's hydrolyzed to break it down so the nitrogen levels are pretty consistent and protein more readily available.
Hmmmm….I have quite a bit of this process on my farm…”Chocolaty”…isn’t the way I would describe that at all. If a cattle operation is USDA inspected and approved they can use a small percentage of waste food solids but if they are adding Chicken Manure or any kind of composted garbage or waste….the FDA and USDA will be shutting them down fast. Most NPP is waste products like fish heads and guts, substandard chicken meat or parts that didn’t meet the USDA inspection standards and it may be used in sterile processes such as rendered and dehydrated dry pellet foods. But no respectable cattle ranch is dumping manure and garbage into the feed troughs.
 

farmerjan

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Unfortunately you are not that well versed in actual feeding practices of cattle operations. Poultry litter was widely accepted as an additive to cattle feed in just the ways that @greybeard listed. There were several operations around here that used to do it alot.

NOW before I go any further...... I DO NOT LIKE THE PRACTICE of feeding poultry litter....

BUT, it is still done by some. It is often fed to "feeder cattle" and is a percentage of the feed they get. Most of the time it is mixed in with silages of some sort..... It is perfectly legal to use it. Cattle will then go from there to finishing lots when they are in the 800-1,000 lb size and fed on whatever grain/silage mixtures that the feedlot company uses; to the accepted slaughter weights in the 1200-1500 lb size.

Yes it does have a "chocolatey" smell to it. Our cattle go nuts to eat it if they get a chance. We get poultry litter delivered to use on pastures as fertilizer. One place we have it dumped in piles... the tractor trailers hold 30 + tons... in a "walking trailer", that is a big "box" trailer that has a moveable floor... and when they bring it the manure comes off the back as the moving floor continues to feed it to the back of the trailer and off... Anyway, this one place we often have them put it is close to several different fields that we spread it on. We can close a couple of gates and the cattle that are wintered in this pasture, then cannot get into it... they will get acting like silly goat kids and lambs, and run up and down and jump and play in it....like teenagers.... but a few times over the years they have managed to get a gate open and we will find them standing there eating it like it was candy.
I think it is gross, they see nothing wrong with it.

I am not sure what USDA inspected facilities that you are referring to. For all of us out here with cow/calf operations... and feeder operations, there is no one coming around to do any inspecting. There are certain things we are not allowed to use and most every one of us follows those guidelines.... mostly pertaining to antibiotics in the feed or used in injections.... because if you have an animal sampled for any reason that winds up getting killed instead of going on a feed lot for further feeding, and they test positive for any type of antibiotic, you could be bankrupted by fines and penalties and all sorts of other sanctions. The poultry operations have composting sheds that they put all their dead birds into, and the carcasses are composted in the litter sheds and it all gets spread on the pastures. Or used for a percentage of feeding rations. That is the PREFERRED way to dispose of dead poultry carcasses..... and the most economical for a farmer to do.

The ONE thing that has been banned is the feeding of any type of blood meal in rations.... due to the "Mad cow disease" and the prions.... any blood meal that is produced is strictly for fertilizer use.... as well as restricting anyone from getting back any cut of meat from an animal over 27 months with a backbone or spinal column or brain tissue..... So if you want T-bone steaks, the animal has to be under 27 months when it is killed.... otherwise you get NY strips and filets and such, but no bones from the backbone area. No "ox-tail" bones or anything from the whole length of the spinal cord.

Although I do not use and don't like the idea of using poultry litter for feeding... saying that any "self respecting" cattle rancher is not dumping manure and garbage in the feed troughs is an unfair statement. There are rules for feeding any food wastes to any animals... and some places it is allowed under some circumstances.
Years ago there was a very good business of collecting and selling food wastes from restaurants for hogs... but then it was discovered that you could cause trichinosis in pigs by feeding them meat wastes that were infected with the larvae and then humans eating the pork that is undercooked. So for awhile there was a requirement that anyone collecting food wastes had to "cook it" before it could be incorporated into hog feed. I don't think that is even allowed anymore....
But the whole thing is that there are practices that you may not like, and I don't like feeding poultry litter... but once composted and it goes through the heating phase, it is allowed in certain percentages. And that doesn't make a farmer a bad farmer.

That said, if you are ever around cattle much, you can tell by their smell if they have had been fed any amount of poultry litter. Their manure has a particular odor and they even seem to have that odor emanate from the live cattle. I have been at the stockyard and had cattle come through the ring and can tell if they have been fed a percentage of litter just from their own odor.... I have also been told that you can taste an "off taste" in the meat also. This is something that has to be fed to them for a prolonged period of time though.... it permeates their whole body tissues.
 
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farmerjan

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One other thing... today's poultry operations are not allowed to leave piles of poultry litter sit out in the weather. Too much leaching of nutrients that can get into water supplies if piled in certain places. Any good farmer that uses poultry litter for fertilizer... like us.... and we use 100 to 200 TONS a year... will get an analysis of the litter so that they know just what the nutrient content is so know how much to apply. We also are not allowed to let a pile sit out uncovered for more than a week .... or we can get fined. Besides, if you pay for it to have xx amount of NPK, you sure don't want it to sit out and the nitrogen will oxidize and you lose value for the land. Different types of operations will have different types of litter.... broilers are different from turkeys, or laying operations; and if the houses undergo a complete cleanout after the flock leaves or a partial and the houses are tilled and the bedding "fluffed up" and then clean added on top for the next flock. Sometimes complete cleanouts are not the best thing because then there is no "innoculating" the young birds to germs so they can better build up their own immune systems.

It is a very complex system... and the litter provides a very big boost to places that only grow crops and needs the fertilizing properties. Plus it adds organic matter back into the soil that no commercial chemical fertilizer adds in.
 

Legamin

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Unfortunately you are not that well versed in actual feeding practices of cattle operations. Poultry litter was widely accepted as an additive to cattle feed in just the ways that @greybeard listed. There were several operations around here that used to do it alot.

NOW before I go any further...... I DO NOT LIKE THE PRACTICE of feeding poultry litter....

BUT, it is still done by some. It is often fed to "feeder cattle" and is a percentage of the feed they get. Most of the time it is mixed in with silages of some sort..... It is perfectly legal to use it. Cattle will then go from there to finishing lots when they are in the 800-1,000 lb size and fed on whatever grain/silage mixtures that the feedlot company uses; to the accepted slaughter weights in the 1200-1500 lb size.

Yes it does have a "chocolatey" smell to it. Our cattle go nuts to eat it if they get a chance. We get poultry litter delivered to use on pastures as fertilizer. One place we have it dumped in piles... the tractor trailers hold 30 + tons... in a "walking trailer", that is a big "box" trailer that has a moveable floor... and when they bring it the manure comes off the back as the moving floor continues to feed it to the back of the trailer and off... Anyway, this one place we often have them put it is close to several different fields that we spread it on. We can close a couple of gates and the cattle that are wintered in this pasture, then cannot get into it... they will get acting like silly goat kids and lambs, and run up and down and jump and play in it....like teenagers.... but a few times over the years they have managed to get a gate open and we will find them standing there eating it like it was candy.
I think it is gross, they see nothing wrong with it.

I am not sure what USDA inspected facilities that you are referring to. For all of us out here with cow/calf operations... and feeder operations, there is no one coming around to do any inspecting. There are certain things we are not allowed to use and most every one of us follows those guidelines.... mostly pertaining to antibiotics in the feed or used in injections.... because if you have an animal sampled for any reason that winds up getting killed instead of going on a feed lot for further feeding, and they test positive for any type of antibiotic, you could be bankrupted by fines and penalties and all sorts of other sanctions. The poultry operations have composting sheds that they put all their dead birds into, and the carcasses are composted in the litter sheds and it all gets spread on the pastures. Or used for a percentage of feeding rations. That is the PREFERRED way to dispose of dead poultry carcasses..... and the most economical for a farmer to do.

The ONE thing that has been banned is the feeding of any type of blood meal in rations.... due to the "Mad cow disease" and the prions.... any blood meal that is produced is strictly for fertilizer use.... as well as restricting anyone from getting back any cut of meat from an animal over 27 months with a backbone or spinal column or brain tissue..... So if you want T-bone steaks, the animal has to be under 27 months when it is killed.... otherwise you get NY strips and filets and such, but no bones from the backbone area. No "ox-tail" bones or anything from the whole length of the spinal cord.

Although I do not use and don't like the idea of using poultry litter for feeding... saying that any "self respecting" cattle rancher is not dumping manure and garbage in the feed troughs is an unfair statement. There are rules for feeding any food wastes to any animals... and some places it is allowed under some circumstances.
Years ago there was a very good business of collecting and selling food wastes from restaurants for hogs... but then it was discovered that you could cause trichinosis in pigs by feeding them meat wastes that were infected with the larvae and then humans eating the pork that is undercooked. So for awhile there was a requirement that anyone collecting food wastes had to "cook it" before it could be incorporated into hog feed. I don't think that is even allowed anymore....
But the whole thing is that there are practices that you may not like, and I don't like feeding poultry litter... but once composted and it goes through the heating phase, it is allowed in certain percentages. And that doesn't make a farmer a bad farmer.

That said, if you are ever around cattle much, you can tell by their smell if they have had been fed any amount of poultry litter. Their manure has a particular odor and they even seem to have that odor emanate from the live cattle. I have been at the stockyard and had cattle come through the ring and can tell if they have been fed a percentage of litter just from their own odor.... I have also been told that you can taste an "off taste" in the meat also. This is something that has to be fed to them for a prolonged period of time though.... it permeates their whole body tissues.
I’m always anxious to learn a new thing. I worked on a Hutterite farm when I was younger and such a cross contamination would never have been considered. What this teaches me…besides your many corrections of my outdated preconceptions from my own experience…is that I must add the questioning of feed ingredients to my list of questions of how an animal was raised and fed before buying meat from a small herd cattle grower. the litter from the two 200’x80’ chicken pens which I was personally responsible to clean out went directly onto the fields in fall. They considered it “God’s gift to us for caring well for His animals. I moved tons of litter every week and not once was I tempted to use the word ‘Chocolaty’ in any association with it. But since I spread it on the fields fresh it had probably not reached that particular stage. What I do remember is that the wheat harvest was so abundant every year that the neighbors came to help bring it in and if any of their fields failed that year they were offered enough to plant the next Spring. But I suppose not every cattle operation operates in the same way that the Hutterites do. It would be a much nicer world, perhaps, if they did.
 

farmerjan

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The litter has to go through a thorough composting to reach that level of "smelling like chocolate".... We will get some litter like that at different times of the year.... especially when they cannot get it out of the houses and spread so have to put it in "litter sheds" where it composts. We often get litter from just cleaned out houses and that is fine with us too although it will smell stronger for the first couple of days. We try to spread any litter that we have "stockpiled" just before a rain, it loses less of the nitrogen and the rain seems to "wash the smell" into the soil.

Nearly all small cattle operations that I know do not feed poultry litter. ESPECIALLY if they are selling direct to consumer because of the after effects of smell and taste. It just is not a good practice overall.

Poultry litter is quite in demand because of the value in fertilizer.... and this year will be in even higher demand due to the doubling of commercial, chemically based fertilizers. Nitrogen has doubled in price... from .67 to over 1.35 right now. The adding of organic matter is one of the greatest pluses in my book. Plus it is the "natural way" of putting back into our soil through the "recycling" of nutrients that go through the chickens. I am not thrilled with the way we have gotten away from a "balanced small diversified farm model" to the large mono crop types... and I am not thrilled with the huge totally confined operations. BUT, in many places adding a poultry house has kept some of these smaller farms solvent. Especially some of the smaller dairies that get the benefit of a way to more efficiently utilize their help, get a paycheck from the poultry operation, and get the benefit from using the manure/litter for their own fields or selling some of it for added income. In this area it is broiler houses, or layers that provide the fertile eggs for these broiler chicks to be hatched, or turkey operations. There aren't many/any poultry houses here that produce "eating eggs".....

The Hutterites operate in the same manner that many of the Mennonite and Amish farmers do. They are a very competitive bunch, yet they outwardly do not act like that. They also will do for anyone less fortunate especially through their churches. Milk testing for many over the years, and talking to others, it is amazing to see how much they actually do "compete" to produce the best crops, greatest yield, most milk, etc and so forth. But in the same vein, they are not allowed to be vain or "proud" , so through their doing for others, helping and being generous in their gifts, they are absolved of those feelings of pridefulness....they actually walk a fine line. Have spent many dinners with some discussing farming, and with some that have left the faith because of the constraints. I know of a couple of families where the wives actually will get up and do laundry in the middle of the night in order to be the first ones to have their wash hung on the line on Monday mornings.......It is amazing how they "compete" to have the prettiest flowers, neatest rows in the gardens, etc and so on.... Still there are many things in their lifestyles that are to be admired....
Some of the ones that have "left their church" and even some have been shunned or ostracized, are some of the most devote in their service to the christian faith because they are not afraid to be proud of their accomplishments that come from hard work and dedication... and are not made to feel guilty for those abilities. I learn something from them every time I get into discussions with them. And yes, some things would be better in this world if we were to follow some of their practices and try to live in more harmonious ways.

The feeding of poultry litter is getting less and less common... mostly do to the "after effects". I don't think you would have any concerns buying from a small farm in your area. We certainly do not feed it and have a constantly increasing number of people wanting 1/2 and whole beef from our operation. I won't eat beef from animals that are "fed" poultry litter and won't sell any beef that we would not eat ourselves.
 

Legamin

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The litter has to go through a thorough composting to reach that level of "smelling like chocolate".... We will get some litter like that at different times of the year.... especially when they cannot get it out of the houses and spread so have to put it in "litter sheds" where it composts. We often get litter from just cleaned out houses and that is fine with us too although it will smell stronger for the first couple of days. We try to spread any litter that we have "stockpiled" just before a rain, it loses less of the nitrogen and the rain seems to "wash the smell" into the soil.

Nearly all small cattle operations that I know do not feed poultry litter. ESPECIALLY if they are selling direct to consumer because of the after effects of smell and taste. It just is not a good practice overall.

Poultry litter is quite in demand because of the value in fertilizer.... and this year will be in even higher demand due to the doubling of commercial, chemically based fertilizers. Nitrogen has doubled in price... from .67 to over 1.35 right now. The adding of organic matter is one of the greatest pluses in my book. Plus it is the "natural way" of putting back into our soil through the "recycling" of nutrients that go through the chickens. I am not thrilled with the way we have gotten away from a "balanced small diversified farm model" to the large mono crop types... and I am not thrilled with the huge totally confined operations. BUT, in many places adding a poultry house has kept some of these smaller farms solvent. Especially some of the smaller dairies that get the benefit of a way to more efficiently utilize their help, get a paycheck from the poultry operation, and get the benefit from using the manure/litter for their own fields or selling some of it for added income. In this area it is broiler houses, or layers that provide the fertile eggs for these broiler chicks to be hatched, or turkey operations. There aren't many/any poultry houses here that produce "eating eggs".....

The Hutterites operate in the same manner that many of the Mennonite and Amish farmers do. They are a very competitive bunch, yet they outwardly do not act like that. They also will do for anyone less fortunate especially through their churches. Milk testing for many over the years, and talking to others, it is amazing to see how much they actually do "compete" to produce the best crops, greatest yield, most milk, etc and so forth. But in the same vein, they are not allowed to be vain or "proud" , so through their doing for others, helping and being generous in their gifts, they are absolved of those feelings of pridefulness....they actually walk a fine line. Have spent many dinners with some discussing farming, and with some that have left the faith because of the constraints. I know of a couple of families where the wives actually will get up and do laundry in the middle of the night in order to be the first ones to have their wash hung on the line on Monday mornings.......It is amazing how they "compete" to have the prettiest flowers, neatest rows in the gardens, etc and so on.... Still there are many things in their lifestyles that are to be admired....
Some of the ones that have "left their church" and even some have been shunned or ostracized, are some of the most devote in their service to the christian faith because they are not afraid to be proud of their accomplishments that come from hard work and dedication... and are not made to feel guilty for those abilities. I learn something from them every time I get into discussions with them. And yes, some things would be better in this world if we were to follow some of their practices and try to live in more harmonious ways.

The feeding of poultry litter is getting less and less common... mostly do to the "after effects". I don't think you would have any concerns buying from a small farm in your area. We certainly do not feed it and have a constantly increasing number of people wanting 1/2 and whole beef from our operation. I won't eat beef from animals that are "fed" poultry litter and won't sell any beef that we would not eat ourselves.
Yep, life takes us down many strange trails and off into the weeds. I often think pleasantly how simple my life would have been had I just stayed in that community. But my education, world travel, wife and family…everything would have been different. And I’m very happy the way things are.
Thanks for setting me straight. I want to be a life long student and never stubbornly put on blinders. This election cycle has demonstrated how things can go when a man simply refuses to keep learning and growing. (Go Brandon!)
 

farmerjan

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On a different note, I went to Williamsburg Va to the living museum there that they have encompassing the "Olde town Williamsburg"... Naturally I was as or more interested in the farming/livestock. They had Lincoln Longwools or a breed similar.... I was quite taken with them and thought about raising some when we had sheep. It never came to fruition, but I admire you wanting to raise and preserve a heritage breed and do it in a way to utilize the breed.....
I'm looking at a few different breeds of cattle and chickens to maybe add some "odd balls" to my operation.... my DS is not into it but will not say too much to me anymore about my wanting to have a few "pasture ornaments".... it is no money out of his pocket...Luckily I can breed AI for the cattle so do not have to deal with live bulls that he would not want to breed any of the commercial cattle we raise. And I get that. Margins are small as it is, the odd colored or marked calves take a hit at the sales and it will kill the ability of the cattle to fund the payments....
The chickens will not be a big deal because I can just a few more coops or pens....
 
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