Food. It’s what builds everything. Plants, animals, fungi, even those little things swimming in the bottom of puddles we can’t see without a microscope. Like one of our favorite suppliers says, ‘you are what you eat’, and for us that extends to our animals. As a family, we have made some big changes to allow us to eat about 90% organically. There are a few treats, a tiny bit of dining out, and one or two quick meals that we are loath to give up, but in truth, 7 days a week we are scratch cooking out meals. Our meals come mostly from either our farm, or another in the area. It occurred to us several years ago that spending money on organic food, but feeding conventionally grown feed to the animals that make things we eat (milk, meat and eggs) was silly. Then we got to thinking about the few animals we don’t eat (pet bunnies, llama….) but who’s poop amends our garden, that grows food we eat… There is a point where this gets a bit crazy, as for us animal health trumps our desire to live ‘chemical free’. We will administer antibiotics to sick animals. Just like we do to ourselves and our kids. Cause we love them all.
So, on this vein, we have tried lots of different feeds in our animals. Our chickens get organic pellets, and scratch grain. Our other poultry also gets similar treatment. Last year our goats were a bit of a challenge. We had access to pelleted organic goat feed for a while, but then it’s availability became iffy. We ended up getting organic grain from a mill up in Burlington, which was cool, only that the milk goat was not fond of it. In fact, she didn’t like it. We tried mixing some watered down molasses, and that worked for a time, but in the end the go-to amendment for her feed was alfalfa pellets. We ended up getting Standlee alfalfa pellets (similar to alfalfa hay, but easier for us to handle), which are non-GMO (big plus) but were not certified organic. And that’s about the only rub with it. This year we picked up a bag of the alfalfa pellets just in case we ran into picky girls (we have three in milk this year, not just the one). We also were able to get reliable organic goat pellets. One of the girls isn’t a fan, but with a couple handfuls of the alfalfa she will suck it down (if their beet pulp was organic, we’d give that a shot, it would probably work better too). In fact, her milk production went up by about 10% when she started getting the pellets, so we added them to our older girls ration (we have to watch her as she puts all she has into her milk). We are happy with the results, but again, not knowing all that goes into it, once we don’t need the milk for the baby goats, we may drop it from their ration and take the cut in milk production that will follow. We also started adding a small handful of BOSS (Black Oil Sunflower Seeds) to each goats ration, and they act like we tossed candy on their plate, but it’s also non-GMO but not organic…. We’ll see how this all works out.
Handful of food/milk/meat