Survivalist Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Reformed Christian
Joined
·
314 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Over the last year or so I've been reallocating my food preparedness energies from store bought food supplies-- cans and dried goods (we still have several months that I will continue to rotate through) to home preserved food stocks and more relevant to this post, livestock.

Currently we have: chickens: 13 hens + 2 roos, Rabbits: 2 new Zealand does and one buck (+ offspring), 4 alpine Goat does + 1 buck (+ offspring).... during the summer we typically have a couple ducks and 50ish meat chickens. We also typically raise a young calf each spring on the goats milk, transition to the pasture and then put in the freezer the following winter. All in all this is a pretty significant part of our diet.

We are in Northern Ontario, Canada and so they can only get a limited amount of their feed from our acreage for a limited duration of the year. Our chickens are complete free range.

I'd approximate we have about 4-6 months of conventional feed stockpiled for the rabbits and chickens (laying hens). In addition, we have maybe a couple more months of feed barley and oats that I use to make fodder for the livestock -- especially during the winter months.

The goats/calf are easier -- as we have a pretty decent pasture during the summer and a good supply of hay/minerals with a bit of dairy ration.

My questions:

1. What are some strategies you would use to augment feed during a longterm event?

a. The weak link that I can see are the chickens. Grain is so energy intensive to produce (I have grown a couple patches in the garden -- just to go through the exercise). I think it was Jack Spirko, who said that before modern agriculture chickens were an animal reserved for rich and nobility... Some of my strategies: we raise red worms in our compost pile and in basement bins, and I would try to use them to feed the chickens. I'm curious, though how many worms it would take to sustain a chicken? In addition, we often give excess goats milk to the chickens. I've heard that making yogurt or clabber out of the milk makes the milk more digestible for the chickens?

I'm also curious in rearing black soldier flies. I've never done it. Could it provide a significant portion of a chickens diet? (Obviously, it could only be done during the warmer months)... Is there any viability in raising meal worms?

b. Rabbits. Already we supplement their diet with kitchen scraps, raspberry canes, weeds, tree branches etc and hay. Could meat rabbits exist/thrive entirely on this kind of diet (without pellets) provided it was provided in sufficient quantity)? I'm also interested in raising comfrey. I have experimeneted with allowing a limited number of rabbits free range our property and then harvest them with the .22 later on. They do seem to size up... currently I'd be apprehensive about them causing damage to my young orchard. I also wonder, if a breeding/lactating doe who is expending so much energy could survive on this diet.

3. What is the shelf life of conventional livestock feed? (ie. lay pellets/rabbit pellets)

Any thoughts for further consideration or conversation?
 

·
A marathon not a sprint
Joined
·
4,449 Posts
I am in British Columbia and have large dog kennels that serve as 'tractors' I drag around our level lawn twice a day ( or as need be with the quality of fodder ) with rabbits that keep the lawn healthy and rabbits fed with no supplement April through to mid November of 2019 . That saved a lot of cleaning and feed . I had miserable fails with escapees trying in the orchard due to the inconsistancy in the slope of the ground and near the house we have a lot less predators than our pasture paddocks .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,590 Posts
for several years I raised rabbits without any pellets at all ,they ate good quality hay, and some corn or root crops to supplement them ,,,I found it much easier to grow a feed beet than grain ,I grew red mangles, but they seemed to prefer regular beets . sweeter so I am guessing that's part of the reason, ,i also feed all kinds of plants from garden after I had harvested the crops ,like corn stocks ,bean plants ect,,,they destroyed things like squash and pumpkins, pretty easy to grow and store for the winter feed another one is turnips they ate them also but would eat any beets first
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,137 Posts
Just have chickens, too busy right now for cows, but I had the cows on intensive grazing- ie they get a few thousand sq ft to eat each day- forces them to eat everything- then after 2 weeks they get kicked out of the pasture til it regrows.

I think I could easially feed the chickens off corn ( you need a mill) grown on the farm. I did this one year, grew 10 ares of corn for cows, putting the whole plant in the barn and every day I’d pull a few ears and feed the chickens (sell, then hammer mill). This was for layers. I’ve grown large melons for cattle, it would probally work for chickens.

Unground grain is good for at least 2-3 years. Logically grinding it increases the rate of oxidation.

You could check on feeding chickens ground ear corm- don’t know what the food value is for non rumenents
 

·
Live Secret, Live Happy
Joined
·
15,784 Posts
What types of grains can you grow in northern ontario?

Chickens will do well on small grains like wheat, oats, and rye, and even most sorgums.
I would look at what other crops can be raised for your birds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
447 Posts
My daughter keeps a bucket in her kitchen. Every scrap of meal prep or dinner plate scrapings (including meat-bones and fat) go into the bucket to feed her chickens. I feed mine pellets and scratch in addition to them being free range. Her chickens were every bit as healthy as mine and maybe even healthier. I’ve seen my chickens eat lizards and mice that they kill. They don’t need anything special. Rabbits, on the other hand, do need a better diet. They’re prone to blockages from fur, especially new moms, they can get goiters and will resorb their babies if they’re malnourished.

Edit: forgot to mention to feed papaya or pineapple to help the new moms digest the fur they may ingest while pulling fur for their nest.
 

·
Reformed Christian
Joined
·
314 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
That's interesting about the corn. Thanks


Just have chickens, too busy right now for cows, but I had the cows on intensive grazing- ie they get a few thousand sq ft to eat each day- forces them to eat everything- then after 2 weeks they get kicked out of the pasture til it regrows.

I think I could easially feed the chickens off corn ( you need a mill) grown on the farm. I did this one year, grew 10 ares of corn for cows, putting the whole plant in the barn and every day I’d pull a few ears and feed the chickens (sell, then hammer mill). This was for layers. I’ve grown large melons for cattle, it would probally work for chickens.

Unground grain is good for at least 2-3 years. Logically grinding it increases the rate of oxidation.

You could check on feeding chickens ground ear corm- don’t know what the food value is for non rumenents
 

·
Reformed Christian
Joined
·
314 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
We can grow wheats and oats quite well. Growing isn't necessarily the problem, and like I mentioned we've grown them in our gardens over the years. the problem is all the work associated with breaking ground, harvesting, winnowing by hand without modern machinery. It is incredibly taxing... and I think I'd rather use the grains to eat directly rather then livestock feed.



What types of grains can you grow in northern ontario?

Chickens will do well on small grains like wheat, oats, and rye, and even most sorgums.
I would look at what other crops can be raised for your birds.
 

·
Reformed Christian
Joined
·
314 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
My daughter keeps a bucket in her kitchen. Every scrap of meal prep or dinner plate scrapings (including meat-bones and fat) go into the bucket to feed her chickens. I feed mine pellets and scratch in addition to them being free range. Her chickens were every bit as healthy as mine and maybe even healthier. I’ve seen my chickens eat lizards and mice that they kill. They don’t need anything special. Rabbits, on the other hand, do need a better diet. They’re prone to blockages from fur, especially new moms, they can get goiters and will resorb their babies if they’re malnourished.
We do the same with the kitchen scraps. It is amazing what they eat. … I've given my chickens the remnants of deer carcases and they pick the bones clean.

That is interesting about the rabbits. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,399 Posts
We can grow wheats and oats quite well. Growing isn't necessarily the problem, and like I mentioned we've grown them in our gardens over the years. the problem is all the work associated with breaking ground, harvesting, winnowing by hand without modern machinery. It is incredibly taxing... and I think I'd rather use the grains to eat directly rather then livestock feed.
Do you really need to do the winnowing if you are going to be feeding the grain to the chickens or livestock?

Can't you just let it dry still attach to the straw part of the plant then feed it to the animals.

I read that people grow sunflowers for their chickens. Cut off the heads let them dry and throw the whole head in the pen. The chickens will eat the seeds off the flower head.
 

Attachments

·
Why do you ask? 2 Dogs!
Joined
·
13,567 Posts
You can grow sorghum (milo) or any of the millets very easily and they grow very well in many climates and will still grow during drought periods

All livestock will eat these grains, especially chickens and other birds

FWIW
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,027 Posts
Rabbits love things you may not expect. I know a lady who makes "hay" from tree branches, grape vines, raspberry and black berry vines(all with leaves) and uses that for most of the rabbits diet with real hay for the remainder. According to her they will eat the berry vines and branches before they will eat the hay.


Depending on what your property is like you may be able to harvest enough food in your woods to feed the rabbits through the winter.
 

·
IDon'tBelieveInGiraffes.
Joined
·
434 Posts
Rabbits love things you may not expect. I know a lady who makes "hay" from tree branches, grape vines, raspberry and black berry vines(all with leaves) and uses that for most of the rabbits diet with real hay for the remainder. According to her they will eat the berry vines and branches before they will eat the hay.


Depending on what your property is like you may be able to harvest enough food in your woods to feed the rabbits through the winter.
I love this idea. Look like I'm planting a few more grape vines this year!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,528 Posts
Good post, thanks!

We have to get livestock grain every few weeks in winter and when kids and lambs are due in March and April. We use about 50 lbs a day right now. If we stock more, rats get in it. We store what we get now in buckets and 50 gallon drums with lids. I think we really need to get some more of those 50 gallon drums.

I would like to know what to do if all of us got sick and couldn't feed and water the animals ( goats and sheep, chickens, 4 dogs) . Any suggestions?
 

·
A marathon not a sprint
Joined
·
4,449 Posts
I was hauling feed and water buckets in the snow until pneumonia stopped me . It got to the point I hired neighbours who had work cancelled due to the snow to hike in and out and care for my animals and they basically kept me going too for two weeks . Having the funds and everything stocked and luckily younger , caring neighbours needing the work enabled me. I will say it could have been better set up but luckily one was experienced with horses and had no trouble dealing with my stallion , but I will continue to work on making everything safer and more efficient to deal with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,958 Posts
Good post, thanks!

We have to get livestock grain every few weeks in winter and when kids and lambs are due in March and April. We use about 50 lbs a day right now. If we stock more, rats get in it. …....
There these new things call CATS. Get some but feed them lightly as needed and don't let them in the house (the most inviting place for kitty should be the feed room).

Don't name them/get too attached. Cats don't last long on the farm.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top