• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Burra Maluca
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Bill Crim
  • Mike Jay

no supplemental feed? anyone?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 196
Location: McIntosh, NM
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The cows didn't leave much behind at all. Much of the grass turf and bunching types roots have been pulled out. Tumbleweed, silver night shade, snake weed along with a host of undesirable non-native plants are present.

In the grassed areas of the varying arroyos there is a good cover though. Too wet to put cattle on without them sinking. In those areas I've seen a good variety of riparian type grasses, but no willows or other riparian type trees. Will work in those areas where needed very carefully. They will be fenced off to all livestock for the time being.

If I hadn't lived here for so many years already might not try the new place, but after you've been here a while, you learn that in a decent year of rain, the landscape can replenish itself rapidly and a with a good variety of plants. Biggest need after looking at the soil is the typical lack of humus/carbon in the soil.

Have found using "used" oat hay to be very effective in treating damaged soil. The smaller pieces encourage a plethora of biological activity. Bunching grass with the thicker stems will also works well. The kind that "falls" over after a season.
 
Posts: 686
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am working on a project that may find me on 50 acres of beautiful gray clay in upstate NY.  If I were a potter it would be heavenly but while I did dabble with a potters wheel here are there in my life I want to help it grow more plants.  I could use a bunch of it to build a cob house though. 
 
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
302
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It would be a shame to use your topsoil to build a cob house.  Dig a pond, and get your cob material from there.
 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Who said anything about using my topsoil to build a cob house.?  I said there are 50 acres of gray clay and I could build a cob house. 
 
Posts: 258
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In Hawaii there are wild pigs, sheep, goat, chickens, and cows. I think even donkeys, HEEeeee haaaaawwhh! They seem to do fine
 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

oracle wrote:
In Hawaii there are wild pigs, sheep, goat, chickens, and cows. I think even donkeys, HEEeeee haaaaawwhh! They seem to do fine

Food.
 
Steven Baxter
Posts: 258
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dave Bennett wrote:
Food.



Pigs: guava, grubs, and roots

As for the other animals I have no idea, other than assumptions. I just know they exist in the wild.

They do exist on different islands though.

Chickens on most Islands, goats mainly on Big Island (Hawaii), Cows on Molokai, Sheep on either Molokai or Lanai, Pigs on most islands

O man them pigs are tasty too!





 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have to agree.  Feral pig tastes great.  Open season on them here in most counties in Va.  Lots of crop damage.
 
Posts: 12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't know much about the specifics of how they do it, but the guys up at Vermont Compost Company (http://vermontcompost.com/about.html see the big picture at the bottom of the page)  raise a commercial flock of chickens for eggs with 0 supplemental grain. I think a lot of it involves allowing the birds to pick over there enormous compost piles.
 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

CorneliusCauna wrote:
I don't know much about the specifics of how they do it, but the guys up at Vermont Compost Company (http://vermontcompost.com/about.html see the big picture at the bottom of the page)  raise a commercial flock of chickens for eggs with 0 supplemental grain. I think a lot of it involves allowing the birds to pick over there enormous compost piles.


Chickens are not grain eaters unless they are forced to eat by not having a choice.  In the wild their primary diet consists mostly bugs, some greenery and the occasional mouse when they are lucky enough to find one hiding amongst the leaves. They do have a crop but it is for grinding up beetle carapace more so than grain.  I have fed chicken meal & red worms with some added greenery through winter and my birds loved their diet. 
 
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chickens are not grain eaters unless they are forced to eat by not having a choice.


I have to disagree with that statement. 

We have lots of free range chickens around us, and although they have tons of bugs, greenery, compost, etc, they also love weed seeds and grains.  It is not a matter of being "forced" to eat seeds and grains, they actually choose to do so as part of their diet.

From my experience, chickens will eat just about anything.

 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

velacreations wrote:
I have to disagree with that statement. 

We have lots of free range chickens around us, and although they have tons of bugs, greenery, compost, etc, they also love weed seeds and grains.  It is not a matter of being "forced" to eat seeds and grains, they actually choose to do so as part of their diet.

From my experience, chickens will eat just about anything.



Seeds are NOT grain.
Chickens are omnivores.[9] In the wild, they often scratch at the soil to search for seeds, insects and even larger animals such as lizards or young mice.[10]
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


Seeds are NOT grain.


Not all seeds are grains, but all grains are seeds. Many grass seeds are very similar to grains. I see plenty of chickens harvesting their own corn and sorghum in the late summer.
 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Semantic arguments are pointless.  Chickens began as domesticated Jungle Fowl.  They are not that far removed from them.  What was posted was not my conjecture it was cut copied and pasted from a resource website about chicken. 
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Semantic arguments are pointless.  Chickens began as domesticated Jungle Fowl.  They are not that far removed from them.  What was posted was not my conjecture it was cut copied and pasted from a resource website about chicken. 


I totally agree.  I'm just saying that they do eat grains willingly, and seeds, too.  In fact, they eat almost anything that doesn't eat them first!
 
Posts: 258
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Due to our damp climate , I think ducks and geese might be a better alternative to chickens.  A lot depends on your soils , if they will stand up to foraging animals hooves punching through the pasture in winter and how much land you have to work with.  I too grow willow , hazelnut and bamboo as additional fodder in the hedgerow plantings. 

I still supplement year round at this point,
 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

velacreations wrote:
I totally agree.  I'm just saying that they do eat grains willingly, and seeds, too.  In fact, they eat almost anything that doesn't eat them first!


Good film.  Thanks.
 
Steven Baxter
Posts: 258
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dave Bennett wrote:
I have to agree.  Feral pig tastes great.  Open season on them here in most counties in Va.  Lots of crop damage.


On the Big Island the feral goats are kind of a making some damage and getting over populated. So a helicopter flies around and they shoot them, which seems barbaric, and makes me a bit sad, But they try to set it up so people can go in and get the carcass.
 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

oracle wrote:
On the Big Island the feral goats are kind of a making some damage and getting over populated. So a helicopter flies around and they shoot them, which seems barbaric, and makes me a bit sad, But they try to set it up so people can go in and get the carcass.


That works since they aren't just wasting the food source.  Here in Va. in a couple of counties near me the feral pigs tear up so much cropland that all that is required to hunt them is asking the farmers if you can hunt on their land.  They always say yes. Those pigs are extremely smart and very difficult to locate.  There is a fairly large "herd" of them too.  Very mobile.
 
pioneer
Mother Tree
Posts: 10532
Location: Portugal
1230
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
They put giant snares down for the pigs around here.  I don't think they're legal, but they do it anyway.  They fix them to trees and then use old sump oil to make the ground slippery so that they fall over.  I don't know the finer details, but I suspect the oil is added after the pig is caught and they wait til the pig is immobilised before killing them with a knife- I'm assuming anyone with a gun would do the job 'properly' with a hunting license and not mess about with snares.  I've also seen snares attached to long, heavy branches which would allow the pig to run a little way before the branch gets stuck somewhere. 

Occasionally we find trees in the forest with a totally flattened, black, oily area around it, and with a load of damage to the bark on the trunk where the pig has gone round and round the tree and the snare has cut into the bark. I dread to think what state the pig would be in by the time the tree has sustained that much damage though...
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
302
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Replying to two distinct posts in this thread:

@Oracle, while pigs are a sign of wealth in much of Polynesia, goats are certainly an introduced species, that if left unchecked will turn the Big Island into a lava desert.  
Not being of the culture, there are probably not so many recipes for goat as there are for pigs (also introduced), but certainly, the pit on the beach, done luau style would provide a succulent meat that even the haole would enjoy.

@Vela, and Dave:  Semantics screw us all up!  By some (most) definitions, Cereals = Grains (from the 'grasses', and ergo all grains/cereals = seeds.  Chickens , being omnivores, eat everything, including seeds, whether they be cereal/grain seeds or other seeds...but they would prefer bugs/grubs/insects, etc.  An all grain diet however, is not sufficient to sustain them (or us).  The only members of the animal kingdom that can "properly" digest whole grains happens to be the birds, so YES, cereals do hold a place in their diet, but cannot be expected to maintain them without other sources of nutrients.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
302
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
@Burra M
You posted while I was posting, but "Pena do pobre animal" (pity the poor animal).  No animal deserves that kind of death, and no animal that suffers that kind of death is worth eating.  The adrenaline running through him will taint the meat to the point of being inedible in my opinion.  Here in the U.S., most states allow a farmer to kill any animal causing the farmer a loss (livestock or crop) without any form of hunting license.  I would tend to believe the same is true in the Iberian peninsula as well, but these "hunters" are probably city folks (that don't know better...or don't give a damn) looking to put some precious protein in their family's diet.  Where do we put the blame?  The government?  The system?  The people?  Perhaps, if the animals are causing damage, the farmers should be hunting them, and offering the meat, at reasonable prices to the public, to a) prevent further damage,  b) provide some extra income, and c) providing reasonably priced protein to the village.  I believe that these are the kinds of issues that permaculturists need to address.
 
Burra Maluca
pioneer
Mother Tree
Posts: 10532
Location: Portugal
1230
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
"Pena do pobre animal" indeed, and I probably should point out that I was offering information on what happens, not condoning it in any way.

The people that do it here aren't city folks, they are old folks who have grown up with no land of their own (hence, I believe, can't get a hunting/gun license) and have taken matters into their own hands to feed their families.  The old folk here have known hunger, and for the most part have had to provide food to raise their families the hard way, from whatever sources were open to them.  The forest has plenty of wild boar which in theory are 'managed' with strict hunting laws, but when your family is hungry then people find their own ways to tap into the supply. 

I believe (and certainly hope!) that snaring will stop as the old generation dies out, along with the mind-set of having to feed your family by whatever means necessary.  These days the rural areas in Portugal are losing population and land is cheap, or at least available to 'use' even if you can't afford to buy, so it's possible for even poor folk to grow their own food.  Chickens, ducks, rabbits and pigeons can all be raised with what you can grow or gather yourself, so snaring pigs isn't necessary any more. 

Having said that, I think that if pig hunting was banned, then the wild boar would probably go extinct here as the meat is highly valued and they cause a lot of damage.  Without the strict laws and hunting culture, they would be poached to extinction.  Even 'legitimate' hunters cheat on the rules by putting cages down to bait the boar.  I found one set on my land once, put it somewhere highly obvious that the forest police could find, then spread the word that I'd found and moved the cage.  I soon (very soon!) had an 'official' visit from the local hunters association, who, when they realised that I'd put the cage 'by the road so you can find it easily', nearly flipped out in an attempt to find out where it was and remove it before the police found it. 

The forest is viewed as a public resource, even though each bit of it is has an individual owner, and it's seen as a way to raise animals without the work of feeding them. 
 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am a "country boy" that grew up "out in the sticks."  Many of those farmers west of here where the pigs are tearing up acres of mostly corn can't stop running their farms to try to shoot pigs they rarely see except with binoculars and usually after the damage has been done.  So some hunters go out there from time to time to see if we can "make some wild bacon."  I went out there a few times but only ever got some fleeting glimpse of them as they faded into the woods and then vanished.  Those black and white spots sure are effective camo for them.  It's very difficult to see them once they have the cover of the understory in the woods.  I never had the opportunity for a clean shot on one.
 
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dave Bennett wrote:
I am a "country boy" that grew up "out in the sticks."  Many of those farmers west of here where the pigs are tearing up acres of mostly corn can't stop running their farms to try to shoot pigs they rarely see except with binoculars and usually after the damage has been done.  So some hunters go out there from time to time to see if we can "make some wild bacon."  I went out there a few times but only ever got some fleeting glimpse of them as they faded into the woods and then vanished.  Those black and white spots sure are effective camo for them.  It's very difficult to see them once they have the cover of the understory in the woods.  I never had the opportunity for a clean shot on one.



Dave where in VA are these hogs? ive not known of any that were wild,  even though there are laws stating an open season.  ive asked around, not wanting to travel to TN or NC and pay BIG bucks to hunt them.
 
T. Pierce
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John Polk wrote:
Replying to two distinct posts in this thread:

@Oracle, while pigs are a sign of wealth in much of Polynesia, goats are certainly an introduced species, that if left unchecked will turn the Big Island into a lava desert.  
Not being of the culture, there are probably not so many recipes for goat as there are for pigs (also introduced), but certainly, the pit on the beach, done luau style would provide a succulent meat that even the haole would enjoy.

@Vela, and Dave:  Semantics screw us all up!  By some (most) definitions, Cereals = Grains (from the 'grasses', and ergo all grains/cereals = seeds.  Chickens , being omnivores, eat everything, including seeds, whether they be cereal/grain seeds or other seeds...but they would prefer bugs/grubs/insects, etc.  An all grain diet however, is not sufficient to sustain them (or us).  The only members of the animal kingdom that can "properly" digest whole grains happens to be the birds, so YES, cereals do hold a place in their diet, but cannot be expected to maintain them without other sources of nutrients.



i know of a number of chicken men, that raise their fowl on nothing but whole grains.  and swear by them.  its not my method of choice, but its very doable.
 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Culpeper, Madison, Rapahannock counties.  It hasn't been publicized lately.  It was often in the local newspapers for several years.  Even though the problem still exists there isn't any news about it. 
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
302
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Most commercial chickens (layers and meat) are fed cereal diets.  It is the cheapest and easiest for the growers, and they are not concerned with the longevity of their stock.  A commercial egg layer is considered "spent" at the first sign of molting.

I have read that over half of the food grown in the US is used for feeding livestock.
Cattle, pigs, chickens...that's a lot of corn!
 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John Polk wrote:
Most commercial chickens (layers and meat) are fed cereal diets.  It is the cheapest and easiest for the growers, and they are not concerned with the longevity of their stock.  A commercial egg layer is considered "spent" at the first sign of molting.

I have read that over half of the food grown in the US is used for feeding livestock.
Cattle, pigs, chickens...that's a lot of corn!

And that's why I stopped buying it back in the early 70's.  Corn is a supposedly cheap way to grow fat on livestock. 

My gardening became much more important when I stopped buying the poison sold in super markets.  Back then it was nearly impossible to find produce that was grown without pesticides.  There weren't GMO's then but much of the commercial corn had been hybridized to the point of sterility.  It was pretty easy to find "old school" farmers for some things like eggs and chickens except when I lived in NYC and LA.  That was the 70's and urban farming was unheard of and organic farmers were still rare.  So I developed a container garden system. 
 
T. Pierce
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
these guys used whole grains for sporting birds when it was still legal in parts of the country.  these fowl had to be top notch health, conditioning, and bred perfectly sound in mind and body.  all this was accomplished on whole grains.  as i mentioned,  i dont care for the method,  and i dont think its wholly natural way to raise chickens.  but they did well at it.  these birds were proved their worth, so i cant argue with this method of feeding.  as for longevity,,,,these were from weaning size to death whether it was 2 yrs, 12 yrs or longer,  death from old age. 

i dont think these modern fowl thats bred for laying, looks, or meat would do well on a diet like this,  they are bred for single purposes and everything else is thrown out the window.  it would take a well bred family of fowl that is bred for total package to handle it.  but its been done, and as far as i know,  still done. 

as for corn,,,,,its a hyped up method that is preached and practiced everywhere.  but definitly isnt no where near the best way to do something.  its known corn isnt good for horse, cow, or fowl.  but all the "books" and corn farmers say use it, so the masses follow suit.
 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

T. Pierce wrote:
these guys used whole grains for sporting birds when it was still legal in parts of the country.  these fowl had to be top notch health, conditioning, and bred perfectly sound in mind and body.  all this was accomplished on whole grains.  as i mentioned,  i dont care for the method,  and i dont think its wholly natural way to raise chickens.  but they did well at it.  these birds were proved their worth, so i cant argue with this method of feeding.  as for longevity,,,,these were from weaning size to death whether it was 2 yrs, 12 yrs or longer,  death from old age. 

i dont think these modern fowl thats bred for laying, looks, or meat would do well on a diet like this,  they are bred for single purposes and everything else is thrown out the window.  it would take a well bred family of fowl that is bred for total package to handle it.  but its been done, and as far as i know,  still done. 

There are dozens of heritage breeds.  Your suggestion that "sporting birds" being raised on grain is a bit vague.  Do you mean Game Cocks?  If that is what you mean by sporting birds then I would suggest that those birds are much closer to Jungle Fowl than commercial chickens.  Most of the heritage breeds were bred for free ranging.  The reason many are endangered as breeds is because of Industrial chicken production.  It is all about the ratio of lbs of feed per lbs. of weight gain.  While living in the San Joaquin Valley I had some game cocks/hens that had escaped from a neighbor that held cock fights in his barn until he got busted for it.  When he got out of jail he packed up and split for AZ where cock fighting was still legal.  Some of his birds escaped and he never caught them.  They showed up at my place so we started feeding them and eventually I had a backyard full of chickens.  Those little hens laid medium sized eggs but wow they sure laid a lot of them.  They did not get grain and the were perfectly healthy.  Most of their food came from forage, kitchen scraps including meat trimmings and bugs.  When you stated sporting birds I was thinking you were talking about pheasants or quail but then got the impression you were talking about chickens.  I did not say that you can't raise chickens on grain I said that it is not necessary to feed grain to them.  It is not their normal diet.  They are Omnivores not Herbivores.

as for corn,,,,,its a hyped up method that is preached and practiced everywhere.  but definitly isnt no where near the best way to do something.  its known corn isnt good for horse, cow, or fowl.  but all the "books" and corn farmers say use it, so the masses follow suit.

 
T. Pierce
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dave Bennett wrote:



yes american game fowl.  i was stating this for the benefit of Mr Polk.  when he said you cant raise fowl on grains or cereals.  and ive known of others that have.  i tried it once,  but i didnt care for the results.  the health was great.  the hens laid well, the cocks did well but their looks were altered. its hard to explain.  you just have to have an eye for such things.  it takes yrs of experence to "see" some things that arent actually appearable, if that makes sense.  any who.............

let me clarify. when i say whole grains, i mean, actual whole grains. not a crumble or pellet thats veg. only.  i mean whole oats, peas, beans, sunflower seeds, wheat, etc, etc. kinda like a pigeon ration.

and i do believe other types of fowl can be fed this way, they have to be used to it,  and you may have to cull some to get them this way.  kinda like saying its not healthy to be a straight veg. or vegan.  some can handle it.  alot of um that are this way dont look healthy.
 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

T. Pierce wrote:
yes american game fowl.  i was stating this for the benefit of Mr Polk.  when he said you cant raise fowl on grains or cereals.  and ive known of others that have.  i tried it once,  but i didnt care for the results.  the health was great.  the hens laid well, the cocks did well but their looks were altered. its hard to explain.  you just have to have an eye for such things.  it takes yrs of experence to "see" some things that arent actually appearable, if that makes sense.  any who.............

let me clarify. when i say whole grains, i mean, actual whole grains. not a crumble or pellet thats veg. only.  i mean whole oats, peas, beans, sunflower seeds, wheat, etc, etc. kinda like a pigeon ration.

and i do believe other types of fowl can be fed this way, they have to be used to it,  and you may have to cull some to get them this way.  kinda like saying its not healthy to be a straight veg. or vegan.  some can handle it.  alot of um that are this way dont look healthy.


What happened to me was that I had 3 hens and 2 roosters .  I had no idea what their genetics were except the "biggest baddest rooster looked very similar to a Red Jungle cock. I eventually had 15 or 20 roosters that were different in coloration but body conformation was very close.  I had a friend visiting that raised game cocks that he sold by mail order.  When he saw my birds he bought several of them to use as a new genetic source for his hens.  He gave me over $100 for each young rooster and $200 for the obvious son of the "old bird" that looked like a "Red."  I was never into cock fighting.  I just think chickens are cool.  I got all of them for free and they provided me with pretty good meat and so many eggs I had to give multiple dozens away.  The eggs weren't very large and I never did figure out how such a small hen hatched out so many eggs.  The clutch of eggs was so large she couldn't cover all of them when she sat down.  It was actually comical to watch.  I found it interesting that she would not lay eggs in the coop like the other 2 hen but insisted on nesting beneath a shrub in the backyard.  I had to put a big hoop of hardware cloth around that shrub at night to protect her.  Great mother though and was a big producer.  I know that it can be done and have seen some pretty nice looking birds that were fed primarily grain.  It seems odd to me though.  I think an animal does best being fed in a manner that mimics their natural "wild" diet.  I look at the pastured cattle ranchers that finish their stock with high sugar content grasses.  It appears to me that it works as well as a fed lot without the disease and stress.  Chickens thrive on "animal" protein be it insects or the occasional mouse.
 
T. Pierce
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
yourr right.  free ranged is the best way to raise fowl.  but the environment has alot to do with how good that free range truly is.  the absolute best is what is called a FARM WALK.  this is when you run the chickens on an actual farm. preferrably a horse farm.  the horse manure is excellent for fowl,  the grains in the manure,  the natural food source thats found on the actual farm,  and just wide open freedom.  but a farm with other livestock that also draws in bugs and rodents......great stuff for chickens.  if winters arent to hard, and you have well bred, lively, industrious birds,  you wouldnt ever have to feed them anything.  if winters are rough,  a good line of fowl can get by on a small handout of whole grains.  by spring theyd be thinner, but the tough would survive and the weak would be culled out.  your line of birds would be better off in the long run.

not only chickens,  but anything.  you baby it,  thats all you will ever have.  weak, sickly overly dependent "babies"
 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There was a "guy" (Freddie The Egg Man) that had a chicken farm outside of my hometown back in the 50's.  He had the biggest pasture I had ever seen that had a "roof" over it made of chicken wire.  In fact I have never seen another one ever.  He raised his chicken free range.  I have no idea how many birds he had but he had a regular route and supplied many people with chickens and eggs.  Home delivery just like a milk man and also the small independent grocers.  There was the A&P and independents.  I have no idea of what chickens he had because I was a youngster.  I was at his farm often though because his next door neighbor had leukemia and my Dad made house calls to treat him as best he could.  I "hung out" next  door with "Uncle Freddie."  I am not sure if Freddie paid for any medical needs with chicken but we were on his route of private homes that bought his food.  It would probably be a nightmare to have that sort of business today.  I wonder how many regulatory hoops there are to jump through.  I couldn't say how he fed them through the winter but three seasons a year they only had pasture.  It was always mostly green except right around the coop.  It was a big coop.  All I remember is that it looked like a clapboard sided house with two horizontal rows of hardware cloth covered windows with little door like (one piece/ single hinge) shutters. I would guess from a 55 year old memory were were 2 dozen windows.  It was a really beautifully built structure.  It matched his house too.  Maybe 100 years old in 1955(?).  Both sides of the coop had window like that and inside there were neat rows of wooden nesting boxes made from wood.  It was truly skillfully built is a very "old school" style of craftsmanship.  He had a big garden on the other side of the chicken pasture but anything regarding that is nebulous at best.
 
Posts: 136
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I chose a donkey, goats and geese as my animals because none of these need much grain.

It seems to me that farmers and their animals have become addicted to cheap grain. Older breeds, maybe slower growing, lower yielding would be better for us I think

The donkey and goats eat hay and tree branches in winter. I cut these myself. What's wrong with hay? IMO hay meadows are a wonderful example of humans in harmony with nature. Herbs,  flowers and insects thrive in them and they can  soak up run off.

The geese get a handful of grain when the snow is deep.The pregnant goats get a handful of grain aday in winter.

I am sure substitutes could be found for this small amount of grain,  -wild grass seeds? pine nuts?, but I don't want to experiment on my animals. I can fairly easily grow this grain myself.


A farm in Shropshire England developed a grass mix for winter grazing. Shropshire is  relatively mild
 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Pignut wrote:
I chose a donkey, goats and geese as my animals because none of these need much grain.

It seems to me that farmers and their animals have become addicted to cheap grain. Older breeds, maybe slower growing, lower yielding would be better for us I think

The donkey and goats eat hay and tree branches in winter. I cut these myself. What's wrong with hay? IMO hay meadows are a wonderful example of humans in harmony with nature. Herbs,  flowers and insects thrive in them and they can  soak up run off.

The geese get a handful of grain when the snow is deep.The pregnant goats get a handful of grain aday in winter.

I am sure substitutes could be found for this small amount of grain,  -wild grass seeds? pine nuts?, but I don't want to experiment on my animals. I can fairly easily grow this grain myself.


A farm in Shropshire England developed a grass mix for winter grazing. Shropshire is  relatively mild

Cool deal.  I am sure over time you will discover ways to add supplements such as grain that you can easily grow yourself.  There are alternatives to grain but finding something that will grow in your climate will take time.  I have been thinking about a donkey when I find some land.  Right now I only have rabbits.  I forage all of their feed needs except for the mineral supplement.  I plan to have a few goats too when I finally get out of this place and back to the "sticks."  Some breeds are excellent foragers.
 
Posts: 508
Location: Eastern Kansas
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My husbands Uncle did this in Tennessee. He let some of the grass grow up for winter feed.

That being said, he DID feed hay if, say, a foot of snow fell overnight. It is rare but it did happen, and he did have some oldish hay around for that reason.

Digging through a foot of snow for your food is very hard work, and you do not want your cattle on light rations when the weather is bed. Cattle are ruminants: they WILL stay warm in most conditions as long as they have full stomachs.
 
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

velacreations wrote:
pigs do this all over the US, they are called feral pigs.

If managed a bit, I think goats, pigs, and chickens would be super easy.  All of my neighbors free range their chickens in our village, and I don't see anyone feed them anything intentionally.  The hens always have a group of 10 chicks around their feet, and I know everyone gets plenty of eggs.  I don't know how anyone keeps track of which chickens belong to whom....



What zone are you in that they can free range all the time? I run into the issue of winter time with only 4 chickens. I don't know what else they could eat in the winter time in my zone 6.
 
Posts: 90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As far as producing feed on site for your animals has anyone here made use of maximillion sunflowers? They supposedly produce a good oil seed, and an edible tuber like sunchokes, that a lot of animals would probably enjoy and its perennial.

Also sustainable seed co has a seed collection specifically for poultry that might be interesting to you. http://sustainableseedco.com/Poultry-Package.html

Speaking of livestock feed links here is a pasture system for goats
http://www.small-farm-permaculture-and-sustainable-living.com/livestock_feeding_systems.html
 
What could go wrong in a swell place like "The Evil Eye"? Or with this tiny ad?
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!