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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Always Trying not to go broke farming

Ahhhh... The life of our Meishans!
Hanging out, eating and sleeping!
It's true that the Meishans are very low energy pigs. 
But they need good nutrition and plenty to eat in order to have all those babies they have and give so much milk like they do!!
Seeing as how this is not only our pig of choice to raise for our food and lard needs, it's also a major conservation effort we have undertaken. We have A LOT of pigs to maintain diverse examples of all 3 bloodlines. 5 grown boars, 2 junior boars, 6 sows ... I'm not sure how many feeders and junior gilts my husbands got! Lol
So we've been reaching out and finding alternatives to the feed store. 
The bread store is a great resource! I can't believe they throw all this out! It's perfectly good bread!
Feeding all these different breads allows us to cut way back of the carbohydrate portion of our pigs feed!
Chickens too!!! We get a whole truck load every week now.
Brewers grains... Very high in protein and fiber! So it must be kept to around 20% of the pigs and poultry feed.
I can feed higher amounts to the dairy sheep because they are ruminants and can handle the high fiber. 
This allows us to cut back on the protein portion of feed we have to buy for the pigs, poultry and sheep. 
This is something I do for the poultry and sheep mostly. Dehydrated alfalfa cubes rehydrated and made soft to mix into their feed. Adding some green food and great nutrients to their diet! It's especially liked by the geese and the sheep! The alfalfa cubes are less expensive than alfalfa meal for poultry and go farther than the pellets do for the sheep.
And we are hopeful that we will soon be getting bags of shredded lettuces and cabbages too!
It's not as easy as pouring out a bag of dry animal feed but we are seeing a major decline in our feed bill for the poultry, pigs and sheep by utilizing these things. Plus they absolutely love the variety they get!! I believe with a greater variety of foods they will be healthier happier animals! They sure get more excited about feed time!

Farming on a small scale you will find yourself paying the highest retail prices for feed which leaves you with a feed bill so high that many new people trying to farm struggle with the fact that their feed bill is now higher than their grocery bill used to be.
It also makes it very difficult for the small farmer to make any profit if they sell their products! Most of the time they actually lose money. 
Certainly the type of livestock you raise needs to fit the size of your acres and be adaptable to your climate , this also helps!
We are constantly looking for ways to save on the feed bill but keep the animals super healthy! Being out in the open air certainly helps with that too! 
Look around your area! You may find some ways to save on your feed bill and put to good use something that may have other wise been wasted!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Donkey Hay Stations and then some 😀

With standard donkeys eating as much as they do I needed to start feeding round bales. It's just to expensive to feed square all the time. 
But Then we needed to figure out a way to keep them from wasting almost as much as they were eating!
And I think we have a good idea here..
Check it out!!! Our donkey hay feeding stations!
Now the barn stays cleaner with the bales not being inside plus there's more room for everyone if they want to go in out of the wind. 
It cost us less than $65 each to make these. Keeps the hay dry.. It's sturdy.
And it keeps them from pulling so much hay on the ground and pooping on it.
The hog panel cut into keeps the hay back nicely , no one steps in and they can just lean in and eat.
Wish we had thought of this last year!! But oh well.. I had lots of mulch hay!
The materials used: cattle panel over the top, 4 tpost to steady the sides, tarp over the top, pallets to sit the hay on and help keep it from getting wet and moldy, a modified hog panel tied across the front to hold the pulled out hay in.
This is really going to also cut down on my chore time without having to constantly shovel up wasted poop hay! As well as save us money!
Here's another of my husbands ideas.. My quail feeder!
It's 2 aluminum bread loaf pans.. Clipped on each side and holes cut in. 
This has reduced the quails feed waste to almost nothing!! Quail are huge feed wasters . That's the only thing I haven't liked about them. But now that problems fixed!
Also this feeder only has to be filled maybe twice a week for 6 quail. 
Love cutting back on chore time!
And On another note...
This is Shani... Just brought her in last night. I was able to get her because her owners were divorcing and just needed her gone. Sad circumstances have left her a little neglected but not to bad.
She's a little thin, needs her hooves trimmed and needs deworming as well as her vaccinations.
She is awesome though! Halter and lead trained and I was told she's been started with riding too!!
I was also told she was bred to foal in April. I'm hoping that's true!
She's the prettiest sorrel I've seen on a donkey. She's my largest donkey now.
I think she will be impressive once I get her in shape and in good health!

Fall and winter have finally arrived here on our farm. Harvest from our garden has been great along with All I preserved and we raised, we are very well fed.
For that I am so thankful! For many many things I am so thankful!!
It's been an amazing year , filled with real blessings and wonderful opportunities but it's almost over. I'll be kinda sad to see 2016 go!!

Hope y'all have a Happy & Blessed Thanksgiving!!