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Old 08-31-2013, 02:13 PM
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Default Feed Crops for Goats and Chickens



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HI all,
I'm looking for suggestions on crops that can be grown for livestock in the northern part of the US, I live in zone 4b. I have 30 chickens 4 goats, 4 cats and one Large Dog.
We are using store feed at the moment, but would like to be more self-sufficient. we have about five months with snow on the ground, preventing free ranging in the winter.
Old 09-01-2013, 01:37 AM
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Jerusalem Artichokes. Grow ANYWHERE. Feed for animals, feed for YOU! (And especially for Type 1 diabetics!!)
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:58 AM
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For dense nutritional content, it's hard to beat grains like wheat, oats, sunflower and corn. Grains work well for poultry and dairy goats. They're not the easiest to harvest, but they do store well. You can rotate them with a nitrogenating hay crop like alfalfa, or a green manure.

You can just feed your dogs and cats the chickens and goats.
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Old 09-01-2013, 03:55 AM
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theres also a feed beet ,,,i got seed from shumway ,,,believe its called a red mangle,,,grows well in colder areas ,,,takes about 100 days ,,,even here in northen minnasota it makes a good sized beet

acording to what ive read about them they are equal to grain as a feed ,,,for smaller livestock to eat you might need to shred or chip them,,,i feed to rabbits ,,,they chew them up ,,,tops and roots ,,,easy to harvest compared to grains ,,,the only drawback is storage ,,need a rootcellar this far north
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Old 09-01-2013, 07:45 AM
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I grow sugar beets, red beets ,turnips, potatoes rutabaga,I just plant a couple extra rows of each.For livestock feed just pile it on the barn floor let them freeze.I chop them up with a hatchet and feed.Most root crops have a good feed value.You can also use the sugar beets for your own sugar needs.I keep a old kettle on my wood stove fill it every day it cooks while i work. Chickens love it!
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:39 PM
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I dont know much about goats, but for Chickens but ive heard of using a 5 gallon bucket, hung above your chicken area, with some smaller holes in the bottom and one medium hole in the top. Put all manner of fly-attracting material in the bucket. Ive heard of using roadkill, but that seems unsanitary, you would have to choose things you were comfortable with. Perhaps table scraps? The flies lay eggs and soon you have grubs falling out of the bottom of the bucket. The chickens will go nuts for those little guys. Not a complete feed solution but a good protein source.
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Old 09-01-2013, 05:36 PM
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Sorghum and corn. Sorghum is easier and uses less water. Good feed material, get a grain grinder to proccess it for easier consumpsion.
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:03 PM
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For chickens during the winter the best feed is sprouted barley or black oil sunflower seeds, as they grow best in the cool weather which will slow mold, and produce up to 7 times their weight in sprouts. I've heard goats like it too, but don't know much about it, due to the nutritional requirements being different from chickens which will easily overwinter on sprouts.

Of course, there is kale and swiss chard, both of which will grow in the cold depending on variety. They contain many of the necessary vitamins and minerals chickens need to survive, but unfortunately do not provide the protein necessary to lay.

Lastly, look into growing comfrey as a feed crop for both goats and chickens. It's a wonderful plant that may prove useful, depending on your choice of feed.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:47 AM
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Thank you for all the advice, I plan on trying the different crops (fly's included) over the next year.
Old 09-05-2013, 11:54 AM
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Default Grow fodder year around

Farm Tec is a company in Iowa that has developed a system of sprouting grains. A tray system 4 feet wide and 12 feet long can grow up to 125# of green animal fodder a day !

All the nutrients to sprout and grow a seed for the first eight days are packed into the seed...all you need to do is supply the moisture and the space. Does not even require light. Does require warmth, thou.

I went to visit them as was interested in cattle feed without expense of hay. ( Land, barns of storage, machinery for growing, harvesting, and moving) This 4' x 12' fodder system and a grain supplement would feed about 6 to 8 calves to 1200# with no problem. Cannot imagine how many chickens and goats.

http://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies...RNAL_PAGE_3017
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:20 PM
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If you have snow 5 months out of the year, Kudzu would be great fodder for your goats. It is one of the fastest growing plants and is actually very nutritious. Do some research and I'm sure you will be pleased. Just be cautioned that if you have a mild winter where you don't have freezing temps, this stuff will get out of control quick. Goats can maintain it fairly well though...
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:51 AM
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I have chickens ducks and geese.I am hoping to get goats soon. I have been trying something new.

I have been keeping my 3 dehydrators at full capacity as much as possible with mainly squash but some cabbage and kale leaves and such also.

I dry some of the squash for humans but much of it and the leafy stuff I dry them crush into small pieces, then put into Sealameal bags. When the bag gets full I vacuum seal it. I plan on doing this till harvest ends.

My plan is itshtf in the winter; I can simply soak the dehydrated feed in water and put it in their water dishes. I know for a fact that the chickens will eat it even though its in the water.

Dehydrated foods shrink to about 1/4 of their original size.

Goats would probably eat it dry.I don't know if they would eat it in their water.

Has anyone tried this?

I know my chickens don't eat as much in the winter as they do in summer and I figure I could also feed them left overs too, (though the dogs would get them).

Does anyone else dehydrate food to stock up for their pet?
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Old 09-06-2013, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big-Gun View Post
Farm Tec is a company in Iowa that has developed a system of sprouting grains. A tray system 4 feet wide and 12 feet long can grow up to 125# of green animal fodder a day !

All the nutrients to sprout and grow a seed for the first eight days are packed into the seed...all you need to do is supply the moisture and the space. Does not even require light. Does require warmth, thou.
...
Germinating and fermenting are both very effective ways of boosting the nutritional value and digestibility of feed grains. Germinating is generally preferred for grazers, and fermenting for poultry (only slight fermentation, you're not aiming for drunk chickens).
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonid View Post
Germinating and fermenting are both very effective ways of boosting the nutritional value and digestibility of feed grains. Germinating is generally preferred for grazers, and fermenting for poultry (only slight fermentation, you're not aiming for drunk chickens).
Fermenting feed will not cause drunk chickens if you're using and replacing it regularly. In fact, leaving the mash alone for up to 5 days will not cause any adverse effects so long as a sufficient layer of water is available so as not to dry up. The main difference between alcohol and fermented feed is that the feed is kept in an open container and stirred frequently, not with an airlock or other such airtight device.
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:00 PM
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Grass, weeds, bugs, leftovers, and hay. Goats and chickens are not picky eaters.

Though I suggest a rotation system. At least 3 sections. 1 for crops for you, 1 for animals, and 1 for fallow or cover crops (if you have the extra time and manpower for the covers).

So, for example if you're starting out:

1st Year (First Half)

Field 1: Animals
Field 2: Spring Veggies and Grains
Field 3: Alfalfa

1st Year (Second Half)

Field 1: Animals
Field 2: Fall Veggies and Grains
Field 3: Store the Alfalfa as hay. Plant Hairy Vetch and Rye

2nd Year (First half)

Field 1: Animals eat hay, and then grass come spring.
Field 2: Spring Veggies.
Field 3: Leave half the rye, plant Alfalfa on the western half.

2nd Year (Second Half)

Field 1: Move the Animals out and plant Rye and Hairy Vetch.
Field 2: Harvest Spring Veggies, then move in Animals to clean up the leftovers.
Field 3: Harvest rye seeds and use for yourself and/or store for feed, store the Alfalfa as hay. Plant Fall Veggies and Grains.

3rd Year (First half)

Field 1: Leave half the rye, plant Alfalfa on the eastern half.
Field 2: Animals eat hay and rye seed, then grass.
Field 3: Plant Spring Veggies and Grains

3rd Year (Second Half)

Field 1: Harvest rye seeds and use for yourself and/or store for feed, store the Alfalfa as hay. Plant Fall Veggies and Grains.
Field 2: Move the Animals out and plant Rye and Hairy Vetch.
Field 3: Harvest Spring Veggies, then move in Animals to clean up the leftovers.

And keep going as such...
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