It’s expensive to feed animals right

Coming off a weekend of spending over $700 on animal feed. First – $412 in a whole grain mixture that I feed to the goats, rabbits and sheep (formulated differently for each species) along with six bags of duck food (mixed by the feed mill). Then $150 in Chaffhaye and $120 in organic hay. That’s not including what I spent last week on minerals, kelp and nutritional yeast. Granted this will last quite a while but it was still sticker shock.

For as long as I’ve (we’ve) been raising livestock¬†for food for our consumption and what little we can sell I’ve fed alternative feed. It would be far easier and probably cheaper to go to a conventional feed store like Tractor Supply and buy pre-mixed animal feed which contains GMO corn, soy and alfalfa but I refuse to give my money to these industries.

Instead I support a small feed mill that amazingly is still in business, buy my hay from a farmer who has a relationship with a farmer in Canada who still sells organic hay and use Chaffhaye which can be a pain to get but I love the product. It’s the same as the general public supporting small farmers – you have to do a little extra legwork and it costs more but it’s better for all involved.

I was supposed to buy another dairy goat and a buck from a woman but after spending so much money on feed and knowing we still have a barn to finish and Wally needs tires on his truck. We’ll do with what we have for now. I¬†really don’t need any more goats. We need to get Black Ear, the one goat that has kids now, up on the stand so I can milk some off her because her babies aren’t taking it all. Black Ear was dam-raised (not bottle fed) so she’s wild. That’s the way we’ve always raised our goat babies. In my opinion, bottle feeding sucks and is a great disservice to the goat. I understand why dairies do it – they want the milk – I want the milk too but I don’t need the milk. It would be nice to be able to sell some milk to help pay for their feed, and eventually, hopefully, I’ll be able to sell some milk but for now the babies get it. Black Ear’s mother, Rose, should kid in the next couple of days and she’s a big milker. I think Black Ear will be too.

milking

Just like back in those good old days when we lived on Herter Road (a picture of that milk room is above) and I had those 13 really good goats, I feel a strong need to get back into milking. It can’t be cows so it has to be goats. Goats will do and I’ll grow the herd organically meaning I’ll use the best buck I can possibly find and keep all the female goats back. It works better that way because if you raise the female goats on their mother, they may be wild but at least they get along.

Until later …