Sunday, April 13, 2008

Adding something for the animals.

This article was fun to read. Lots of basic information and ideas for feeding animals from your garden.

Some of the suggestions I'd heard before so was already planning on implementing this year. Mangel beets for the poultry, sunflowers to make my daughters smile and use as fodder, comfrey for all of the animals.

Last year I fed all of my extras to the animals, any pumpkins, squash, extra greens, thinnings, lawn clippings, fallen apples. My sister can tell you about the wagon full of weeds that we'd haul over to the pigs. It was fun to watch them go crazy for the green stuff - they got some every day and still acted like it was the first fresh food they had ever been given. I would also go around the property and pull up all the big weeds - Russian Knapweed I think it's called? - and feed it to the animals in the feedlot area. I couldn't put the animals on the fenceline to clean it up themselves because of our nearest neighbor's poorly tended dogs. When the growing season was over, I put the goats in the garden to clean it up.

This will be the first time that I've planted varieties specifically for the animals. In addition to the Mangel beets, suflowers, and Comfrey, I'll keep feeding the animals "scraps" and extras. Weeds (which are usually higher in nutrition), thinnings, clean-ups. Next year I'd like to try Jerusalem Artichokes. Belanger says that the stalks and leaves are enjoyed by cows, sheep, and goats and that pigs enjoy digging for the tubers.


Farmgirl_dk: said...

What a CUTE picture! Those gals have got some smiles! Loved that article. I'm totally going to plant some comfrey for "the girls" now!! Do you know if there is any weed that is considered toxic to animals?

Sarah said...

There *are* weeds that are poisonous to animals. I would check with your local Extension Office about what ones in your area are poisonous.