I’ve been mixing my own feed for my girls and in the summer I ferment it before feeding. Supposedly more nutritious/digestible/ less food goes father. I don’t feed very much since my girls free range… Only 2-3 wet lbs a day between 11 chickens and 3 ducks. A 150 lb batch is lasting 2 months between the ducks and chickens.
Ah, but it’s cold. Today I gave them a treat since everyone is acting so ravenous: hot mash. With this weather I may switch to hot mash until the weather gets above freezing so they don’t waste the energy warming up the cold grain in their guts. Nothing like a hot meal on a cold day…
A pity I don’t have a camera. By the time my barn is done its going to look great…at the moment not so much. Pole style barns with metal walls are great: cheap and quick to put up. Problem with them is they don’t stand up to the pressures of livestock very well. Case in point: Rosie and her piglets punched several sheets out. I screwed them back in (a plus! easy to repair!) put they proceeded to punch them back out, Grrrr.
The solution is easy enough: line the barn walls with plywood where the animals will be. Together my mother and I spent saturday afternoon cleaning up and lining the walls. Sunday we spent putting cement pier pads in, then erected 4 support posts for the rafters. Amazingly, it looks more like a real barn now! I can start building stalls and walls off the posts.
I still havent bought my hay for the winter since I don’t have a safe place to keep it away from the animals. Once the loft is fix up and I build some walls I can make a feed storage area.
Speaking of which I’ve been buying the pig feed a week at a time since I don’t have a safe place to store feed. Once have the barn spruced up I can safely store feed more than a week’s worth at once. I’ve penciled it out and my best price for feed is $465 a ton, but thats soy and corn filled locally milled stuff. For non-soy/corn it runs about $650 a ton. For a non-GMO blend with corn but no soy its almost $900 a ton.That means the cost of raising a pig from weiner to butcher runs $200 or $300 depending on my feed. So I am left to ask myself: what is my goal, what do i believe animals should be eating? I’ll start with the local soy filled stuff, but with the pigs on pasture eating grass. I might move to the non soy/corn stuff later..,but it will increase the price considerably. I’ll be picking up my ton of feed next weekend.
Whew. After all the lifting and carpentry I am feeling beat! I’m ready to go back to my day job. It’s a little vacation compared to this place!