Grain, revisited …

When I picked up Gwen, the owner of the dairy told me that I should be feeding her about 25 pounds of grain a day.  Wally had to pick my jaw up from the ground when he said that.  I suppose if I want six or seven gallons of milk from her a day (which is what they’d be looking for); I could feed her that much grain, but I won’t.  Two to three gallons a day is more than enough for me!

Early in April, I had a local feed mill mix up a custom mixture for the dairy goats (originally I was planning on feeding this to the horses as well, but I changed my mind) consisting of: 100 pounds of oats; 50 pounds of barley; 50 pounds of sunflower seeds; 50 pounds of alfalfa pellets; 50 pounds of milo; 80 pounds of beet pulp and as much molasses as they needed to keep it from being too dusty.  It ended up being a relatively pricey mixture.  The most expensive ingredient is the beet pulp, which I plan discontinue.  I just found out that all beet pulp is now genetically modified and I surely don’t want to feed GMO foods to my animals.  The sunflower seeds cost $17.50 for 50 pounds, but sunflower seeds are quite beneficial in a dairy ration so I’ll probably leave them in.

The horses are eating a mixture of oats, barley and beet pulp.  When the grain I have mixed up for them is gone, I’ll stop feeding them beet pulp as well.

From what I’ve observed, cows like to lick their food.  When the mixture that I had made up for the goats is gone, I’ll have a batch made up for Gwen that is more powdery and have a separate batch made for the goats that is not crushed.

I have been feeding Bartlett sweet goat food, but I’m going to phase that out (primarily because it contains corn and soy) and feed just the grain mixture, but they are not going to get as much grain as they have been.  If their bellies are full, they are not inclined to go out and forage.  I want them to forage!

Of course the goats and cow will have access to all the good hay they can eat.  I found a source for organic alfalfa/timothy/orchard grass hay that I need to explore further.  It comes in those huge, 800 pounds bales which I hate to deal with, but I may try a bale and see if I can cut back even more on the grain if I feed such high quality hay.  We have a hay rack fixed that pretty much prevents the goats from wasting hay.

One of the more difficult things about keeping a cow is the manure.  They are manure machines!  I was hoping she’d be a bit cleaner here, but that hasn’t quite happened.

The other thing I need to deal with is minerals …

Until later …