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Feeding my cows trees

 
Erin Cross
Posts: 15
Location: Spacecoast Florida
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Anyone tried feeding crape myrtle to cows or goats? It grows well, quickly, produces an abundance of leaves, tolerates pollarding, is an excellent pollen plant for apiculture, and is beautiful.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Never heard of it being used. http://feedipedia.org/ doesn't have it listed.

PFAF has this to say about human consumption: The stem bark is febrifuge, stimulant and styptic[218, 240]. The bark, flowers and leaves are considered to be hydrogogue and a drastic purgative[240]. A paste of the flowers is applied externally to cuts and wounds[272]. The root is astringent, detoxicant and diuretic[147, 218]. A decoction of the flowers is used in the treatment of colds[218].

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lagerstroemia+indica
 
Cj Sloane
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My tree hay experiments have continued. So far, Elm has proved the most palatable. Here's a pic comparing Elm hay to 1st and 2nd cut hay. It's held it's color quite well!

IMG_1950.jpg
comparing Elm hay to 1st and 2nd cut hay
comparing Elm hay to 1st and 2nd cut hay
 
Casie Becker
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Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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Erin, if you're interested in growing your fence there are several well documented methods of this. I'm posting the link to three different discussions on permies about this.
https://permies.com/t/7237/Experience-growing-living-fences-willow
https://permies.com/t/432/living-willow-fence-hedges-fences
https://permies.com/t/1437/Planning-growing-hedge-living-fence

As you can see, it's a popular subject on permies.

Now I'm going to go back and read this thread from the beginning. It just now occurred to me that this topic might actually have some relevance for smaller livestock (chickens and rabbits) which may fit in my suburban yard. Could be another way to use my fruit tree trimmings in the future.
 
Casie Becker
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I see a question up there about crepe myrtle. When we had pet rabbit that was given run of the yard it loved to eat crepe myrtle shoots. I would also give it all my rose trimmings. Remembering that is what got me reading this thread for when we eventually get meat rabbits.
 
wayne fajkus
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My sheep eat crepe myrtle leaves as far up as they can reach
 
Cj Sloane
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Striped Maple hay had mixed results. The cows did not want it but the sheep seemed fine with it.


 
Cj Sloane
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Linden (aka Basswood) was another favorite of the sheep and the cows weren't interested, at least at first.

So far all the leaves are gone from sheaves they were not interested in, but I can't say for sure who, if anyone, ate them. The leaves are somewhat brittle so they could've got crushed and blown away, but I doubt it.
The funny thing that happened is when I picked up the Basswood sheaf, I was surprised how light it was. Then I was surprised I was surprise as it's about the lightest wood around.

 
Cj Sloane
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Great results feeding out Wild Grapeleaf hay. Particularly encouraging since it is all over my property. I guess I'll need to tame it (train it?), to make harvesting easier.

IMG_1961.jpg
Great results feeding out Wild Grapeleaf hay
Great results feeding out Wild Grapeleaf hay
 
Travis Johnson
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I was clearing out some old apple trees one year and hauled the trees into the pasture. In one day you could tell where they could reach because the tree was stripped bare. Since then I have fed about every tree there is, and maybe its because they do not get it everyday, but they have always gorged themselves on the leaves.

Has anyone had any success using tree leaves as winter fodder? It would be interesting to see what they test out as. I am looking for any kind of winter feed then hay.
 
Cj Sloane
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Travis scroll up! You can see my successes and partial successes using tree leaves as winter fodder. Is this just for cows or other livestock?
 
Kyrt Ryder
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Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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I can't speak directly to experience yet, but I'm looking to build a tree fodder system based on mulberry, paulownia, willow and cottonwood/poplar. After seeing the last few updates to this thread I just may have to add elm and grape to the list.

On the subject of vine leaves, my sheep really love blackberry leaves, something I have a plentiful wild supply of.
 
Cj Sloane
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I did plant some paulownia last year, we shall see if it comes back, I'm really boarder line for it.

Poplar... we shall see. It wasn't there favorite fresh but the sheep did eat new shoots that popped up.

The sheep and cows love blackberry. In fact it was the cows and not the pigs who eradicated the blackberry in the paddocks. The problem with storing it would be the thorns. I wasn't thrilled handling the thorny black locust.

Mulberry and willow are great. Basswood is good. I'd take a good inventory of the trees already on your property and try them out fresh. Just be careful with maples and cherries for the reasons stated at the start of this thread
 
Cj Sloane
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More testing! Red Maple was a success with cows and sheep.



Red-Maple-hay.jpg
Red Maple was a success with cows and sheep
Red Maple was a success with cows and sheep
 
Cj Sloane
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And another! This was really shocking how they went after the dried Oak leaves. It's not something to use as staple, but clearly there must be something in there they need. One of the cows couldn't even wait till I put it in the feeder.



Oak-ahy.jpg
really shocking how they went after the dried Oak leaves
really shocking how they went after the dried Oak leaves
 
Tim Siemens
Posts: 60
Location: Northern BC Zone 3
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This is all very interesting.  Can anyone  comment on how the tree diet affects the flavour of the meat?  Would it be necessary to remove trees from the diet for a while before butchering?
 
Cj Sloane
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Tim, there is a guy I know of who said that tree fodder made his goats have a stronger flavor but not in a bad way. It will likely depend of the specific species you use and the percentage of it in their diet.
 
Travis Johnson
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Around here, in deep winter deer take to eating cedar and I have always heard that it negatively affects the flavor, but that has not been my experience at all. Now I should say these deer were taken when hit by my car or truck and NOT poached out of season.

But venison is different then beef, and cedar is a conifer and not deciduous leaves too, so I am not sure how valid my reply is. Also taste is a subjective thing.
 
Cj Sloane
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I did have someone tell me her husband got a deer out of season and the it tasted like terpentine. Although I do sometimes give my cows and sheep some conifer branches in winter, it's a very small part of their diet.
 
Kyrt Ryder
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Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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Conifer branches [Douglass Fir, Western Hemlock and Western Red Cedar] make up a fairly significant portion of the diet of my Icelandic Sheep. I'd guestimate 20% or better during the winter.
 
Cj Sloane
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Would you say the conifers effect taste at all?
 
Kyrt Ryder
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Circumstances make me a bit unsure the value of my answer- more specifically the only lamb I've slaughtered thus far was slaughtered in June when the volume of fresh forage would likely have reduced the conifer intake.

That being said, I can say I tasted no turpentine and it was without a doubt the most flavorful base meat [as in before accounting for seasoning] I've ever eaten [though only barely beating out my homegrown pork.]
 
dirk maes
Posts: 112
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You lucky bastards. They have an English version nowadays.
Very informative .
http://www.voederbomen.nl/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/English-summary.pdf
 
Cj Sloane
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Dirk that's a great site. They have very good nutritional info.

I use Chrome as my browser and it could automatically translate for me! http://www.voederbomen.nl/
 
Cj Sloane
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This video made my day! I'm not super thrilled with all that plastic but to see willow machine harvested and turned into hay is great!
 
dirk maes
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This way of packaging hay is standard practice. For your environmental objections, there is also PLA-foil used for packaging, so it is compostable.
 
Cj Sloane
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Sheep eating Goat Willow. It's a weed tree around my property.

IMG_1976.jpg
Goat Willow
Goat Willow
 
Cj Sloane
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I was surprised the sheep were really into the dried Poplar. It doesn't look that great to me, but what do I know, I'm not a sheep.

IMG_1979.jpg
dried Poplar
dried Poplar
 
Belinda Roadley
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Location: Southern NSW Australia
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Thoroughly enjoying this thread! My ideas for my future farm were to grow Tagasaste (don't let it flower) and mulberry as part of a broader silvopasture system. Happy to see some real life experiences being shared!
 
Cj Sloane
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Stinging Nettle hay was a moderate success. Not something they can eat a ton of but it has some good qualities such as 34% protein!
IMG_1982.jpg
Stinging Nettle hay
Stinging Nettle hay
 
Cj Sloane
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Here is the last experiment. The sheep loved the dried comfrey. Not really a surprise but it was really hard to dry. The first attempt resulted in moldy comfrey. The leaves dried but the stem bound together didn't work. So I dried the leaves and them striped them off the stem. That's why they are shredded.
The leaves might need to be strung like tobacco or something. I do have a book on comfrey, I'll need to re-read it before the weather turns nice.



IMG_1986.jpg
dried comfrey
dried comfrey
 
dirk maes
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Cj
you dropped a link in your early posts : This is the best doc I've read so far on pollarding: Pollarding in western Norway : but its really about laying hedges in France. Although you can harvest leaves from these hedges.:)
 
Lanie Veazey
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Is there anyone else doing this with success for cattle or other animals that can talk about their cost efficiency, and about the TASTE of the product(s)? Thinking about changes in both milk and meat? I saw a mention for not getting too much of an evergreen, but am wondering if anyone has any other warnings, or really, ways to make their meat taste better without grains or hay.
 
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