Sunday, January 4, 2009

Questions about Animal Feed?

Presently, I am feeding 3 horses, 26 sheep, 12 goats, 28 chickens, 13 cats, 3 dogs, & me.My food bill is on the LARGER side with me getting the least amount. Now work with me on this.

My chickens are being fed Purina Layena Pellets @ $12. 40ish a bag
What are you feeding? Is this comparable to what I am feeding?
When I first got the girls I was feeding them the Miniature Platform food but when it got up to $17.99 a bag I decided that it was getting expensive so I am now feeding a Purina feed, 12% sweet at $10 a bag.
Now my big dilemma is with feeding the sheep and goats as I run them both together and one knows you can not feed sheep straight goat feed unless you want to kill them. So everyone has been getting sheep feed. At the feed store where I purchase most of my feed, a 50# bag of sheep feed is $12.99. I go through about 3-4 bags a week.
A problem arose when I move my POA in with the 2 rams (which is working out fine). I knew I could not keep the rams from eating the horse grain and vice verse so I thought about an All-Stock feed. A 50# bag of All-Stock is $8.25.....much cheaper than the sheep feed.
The All-Stock is a 12% sweet though the protein is only 12% verse 15.50% on the sheep. Calicum & fat is lower on the All-Stock but not by a lot. Johnny (POA) and the 2 rams are fine with it.
BIG QUESTION: Is it good enough to feed all the sheep & goats? Its like $4.oo cheaper a bag which will save me a lot in the long run.
I bought a bag of corn to mix in with the All-Stock which I have been feeding everyone for the past week and they are all eating it very well.
So, in your opinion, would this be fine to feed everyone?
Could/should I add oats to it?
Should I continue to add the corn or not?
I can get corn @ $5.00 for 50# down at an Amish feed store.
I know oats are more expensive but is it more nutritious?
I can also get an #80 bag of horse feed at the Amish feeds store for $14.99 and there are a lot of oats in that (this would obviously just be for the mini's)
I am curious and looking for some insight on what everyone feeds there animals. Hay is running $5.00 a bale right now plus grain costs......gets expensive. I have heard some people just feeding corn to sheep???? I know that with "brand names" you are paying for the label though I have been fine with the chicken feed and the dogs get ProPlan lamb & rice formula. I will not discuss the cats because I swear they cost me the most (okay they do get Indoor dry formula & Nutro's senior formula dry plus the cans. I worked to long at a vet. hospital to see neutered male cats with UTI's due to cheap dry food).
So, if you have time to comment, I would love and appreciate your "feedback" on what everyone feeds out to their sheep, goats, and horses. Perhaps I missing something or can do better. I wonder if they would eat Kraft Mac n' Cheese?


Tammy said...

I feel your pain! ;-) I don't have the logistics you are facing though, so can keep everyone pretty well separate. I can only tell you what I do here, and see if that helps any, as I know your setup is likely way different than mine. I would suggest doing a little research on the protein/nutrient needs of each species (bottom line, not all the bells/whistles) and work from there. Watch your All stock feeds for added copper as well, as sometimes it is in there. Rams/wethers would need less protein than your bred ewes, so keep that in mind as well. So here is what I feed: The chickens get a 9 % All stock that runs about 8.50 50 lb, in the summer I switch it to corn chops. (which is not much cheaper around here). However they free range over several acres and get all the table scraps from my folks and myself. I've never fed egg layer pellets to them and they have lived to ripe and still productive old age. Occasionally I'll put out oyster shells for them, but they usually just sneer at them. The sheep get a 12 % grain mixture (similar to all stock) but it is medicated. This time of the year, they get very little grain, but they do have free choice to good brome mix hay. The rams do not get grain except at breeding season. During lambing/lactating my feed bill goes way up, as the grass hasn't kicked in and the girls need extra nutrition. As soon as the grass is growing well and lambs are older I start cutting back again. My philosophy is IF they are getting quality high protein hay they do not need allot of grain supplementation OR if you are feeding a high amount of grain/protein then you can afford to feed lesser quality hay for them to fill up on roughage and enjoy picking through. I don't mean anything old or moldy or anything like that, just maybe something like a grass mixed hay instead of brome, lespedeza or alfalfa etc. I think allot of barn yard health problems are due to overfeeding 'rich' feeds and lack of exersize and boredom. Of course I do keep mineral out for the sheepies too and a salt block (bi-carb as well). My eventual goals are to find a higher protein based All-Stock with no added copper so that I can switch both the chickens and sheep to one feed. I do not like feeding the medicated stuff to the sheep, so that is also part of the goal. You might also do some body scoring on the critters and make sure they aren't just 'feeding you a line' with their starvation noises. ;-) I'm like you though---the inside cats stay on a pretty controlled diet as I don't want the boys to develop UTIs. I am trying to come up with ways to introduce some 'greens' into their lives though.
Take care, and hope you can find a few ways to cut corners and make it easier for yourself.

Tammy said...

Another thing I thought of... setting up creep areas for the smaller/younger sheep can work very well too, since often the older ewes will crowd out the smaller and they get fatter and fatter while the babies just don't thrive. It's not to difficult to put up a quick creep area out of pallets/ 2x4's in the corner of the barn and feed the smaller ones there. They catch on quickly!

Tammy said...

Me again! (Really I'm sorry! ha...) When I had my horse, Lady, she ate the same All Stock the chickens ate all her life, except for about a year of Senior feed. The senior feed almost killed her (caused her to 'choke' and the vet had to stick a hose down her throat to clear it all out) and did kill my parents two old horses (impaction and colic). After that I switched her back to all stock but soaked it. I had her for 24 years and she was 27 when she died.

Deb said...

You spend a lot of money on grain girlfriend! Do you have any money leftover to feed yourself? (I hope you know I'm teasing you :)

I think you will find feed prices are pretty much the same from the mason/dixon line to the east coast. I'm paying 10.00 50lb for layer pellets. I pay 10.00 50lb for NCA 16% stock sweet feed with corn specifically mixed for dairy cattle, beef, sheep & goats. I feed Poulin feeds out of VT. Not sure if you can get it your way although I know they just opened a plant in Canton, NY.

Do you grain all your sheep & goats? I only grain meat lambs and sheep that don't score well. Pregnant ewes get grain if they need it anytime during pregnancy and after as well as the does. Wethers and rams do not get grain. They get good grass hay twice per day, all they will clean up, minerals, salt and fresh water. Most score 5+. Most of my wethers are what we call porkers :)

I'm fortunate to be able to keep groups seperated. If you can't seperate, that does cause problems. Animals that do not do anything or are not producing really do not need grain in my opinion as long as they stay in good condition.

I think that the All Stock Feed would be fine for all your animals. 12% protein should be enough for non-producing, non-lactating animals. If you have lactating ewes/does, you may want to provide them with a higher protein feed although they should do fine on the all-stock and good grass hay. Check your copper levels. As long as it's safe for sheep, you shouldn't have a problem. Horses need more copper than sheep and goats do. You can provide them with a mineral block with more copper in it but you will have to keep it away from your rams. You could get a small block and hang in high enough in a block hanger so the rams couldn't reach it. Adding corn wouldn't hurt but I'm not sure it's necessary if there is corn in your all stock feed. If you decide to feed extra corn, I use either steamed flaked corn or fine cracked corn. The whole corn can be hard on their teeth.

Please remember this is all just my .02 cents worth and I'm not being critical of how or why you do things the way you do.

I wish I had the Amish community nearby. Sounds like you can save good money by shopping with them :)

Good luck....I hope some of this was useful.

kristi said...

Thank you for your insight as I did not think of the copper which is higher on the All-Stock than the regular sheep feed. I am going to further investigate that with perhaps another All-Stock brand. I do keep a free choice mineral out for everyone but now that I am writing this I need to check the copper on that too; though I have been using it for quite some time; but better safe than sorry. I have never fed the medicated feed as the miniature horse are also in with the sheep and though they get their grain in their stalls I always worry if they find "leftovers" from the sheep/goats. See and I do feed my rams/wethers grain once a day; though in very small amounts as I have seen and did have a wethered goat block once and had to be put down. I sometimes wonder if I overfeed everyone thats why I am curious to see how other feed. Because I do feed grain once a day to everyone, I am thinking of cutting it out in the summer as I am sure they don't need it. Thank you for your insight!!! It is so appreciated and how great that you had a horse live to be 27!! Thanks again Tammy....oh and you know there is no name on that Santa/Sheep picture, but I also have it in a placemat so I know its out there somewhere:)

kristi said...

sometimes I wonder if I can feed myself (LOL) as on payday I go to the feed store before I shop for myself!! And yes I do have "porkers" too esp. my wethers! See, and I do feed the bucks and rams grain once a day; though it is very small amounts and honestly, your right, they don't need it. I use a basic free choice mineral from TSC for all the animals. I may eventually separate the goats and sheep if my finances cooperate w/me this year. I am going to check out Poulin. I just really need to rationalize the feed as I don't want to downsize but I do not want to go bankrupt either:) I will definitely increase/go with a higher grain for the girls that are bred. The corn I am buying is a cracked corn, ground down very well. Its nice to have insight from someone else because I am still in the learning stages of all of this, though I am sure the animals will never let me stop learning! Your $.02 is very much appreciated and I enjoy hearing from you:)

Heather said...

I love your blog :o). Just to add my two cents as well,... Our sheep don't get grain. Just hay. I feed my chickens whole wheat and corn and they do well on it... I don't baby them at all. The free range in the summer which gives them great protein and vitamins. You can throw them some alfalfa hay in the winter and that is a good vitamin source for them. I don't know about the grain for your horses, but they definitely could eat the same hay as the sheep and goats. My goats didn't get grain either. Just good quality hay. Life is much easier that way for us. And CHEAPER!

Carol Bator said...

I am feeding my sheep cheap first cutting grass hay and supplementing that with Hay Saver Pellets from Hunter Nutrition. The pellets have similar nutrition to alfalfa pellets, but cost only $7.15 per 50 lb bag. Hunter Nutrition will ship feed to your farm, and if you buy a pallet load, the cost may be reasonable on a per bag basis. I live close enough to just pick feed up from them. Phone (765) 563-1003 or Google them to check out their web site for details. I am not an employee, just a satisfied customer.

Kara said...

Hi Kristi,

I was going to reply last night, but my computer decided to "hibernate" on me and needed to be recharged. I am still trying to figure this all out too. I think I may be overfeeding mine a little too because that act like they are starving, but they sure good and robust! I want to be particularly careful with my bred ewe lambs. I want them to thrive, but not get too much that they grow their lambs too big and have lambing issues. I am guilty being generous with the hay and the sheep waste quite a bit, the horses would never dream of wasting any! Does anyone know how many pounds of hay per critter you should feed? The hay is a combo of first and second cutting that is a grass mix with clover and alfalfa. It runs me about $6 a bale but they are 80 pound bales. As for grain: Do you have a Keystone Mill near you? It is an Mennonite run company...which may be popular in Amish country. They make a great Layer crumble with oyster shells in it that the chickens love that is all natural. What about other "mills or small feed stores", as I find their prices to be better, and some will even mix you a feed combo of your choice. I buy my horses a 12% sweet feed and Nutrena Life Design for the old pony, at our local fed mill/True Value. At TSC I use the the Blue Seal feeds for the horses sometimes and they have a Course 14 and Course 16 fomulated for sheep and goats, but the Dairy girls sometimes get Blue Seal Caprine Challenger. With that being said my sheep will not get grain until the last month of pregnancy and during lactation and I did flush them with some this fall. Although the ewe lambs and their baby sitter, Marshmello, are getting a few handfuls a day. Rams no grain except during breeding (flushing) time in the fall with the girls. The dairy girls are getting grain. My horses get hay and grain all year. I think that animals love the grain so much that it is easy to feed too much. I have had vets warn me of this so I am conservative there. Especially with the horses because I don't want anyone to founder and I have such rich pasture. Good luck I hope you figure out a good nutritional program that works for your critters and your budget. Also make sure your critters have no worm issues, or they will surely eat you out of house and home trying to keep weight on them.

kristi said...

thank you for stopping by and giving your input..I am thinking I need to work on cutting back a bit on the grain:)

I actually have a Hunter catalog and I am going to check it out. I know alfafa pellets are around $14 ish a bag at the feed store. Thank you for stopping by:)

I am learning so much by just posting a question like this...its often better than searching google! You know I feel like I neglect the sheep if I am not feeding them grain, so I do. In the summer I am going to cut it out unless I am still going to milk goats (a goal I have, time will tell). And I know that grain for the boys is not necessary...wait till I tell them! Horses will always get there grain. I found an Amish feedstore that will mix a sheep/goat feed for me but I have to buy 500# which technically isn't bad cuz thats like 10-#50 bags...just need to get a price and a mix I would want. I'll keep you posted:)

Kara said...

LOL, yeah you should hear my girls when they hear the horses grain hit their feed buckets. They would agree with you whole heartedly! Thanks as always for stopping by my blog and saying hello. I figure if we meet halfway for a lamb swap this summer or fall, it will only be about 2 1/2 drive for each of us. :) Hope your first day back to school was a good one.

Juliann said...

Hi Kristi,

We buy "the cheap stuff" at Farm & Fleet, no brand name stuff except for the dogs.
We feed the Farm & Fleet all-stock to our sheep, occasionally throw in some shell corn, that's about it. We do provide them with a mineral block year 'round.
We used to mix our own with oats and all that fancy stuff, they left most of it in the bowls so it was a pricy waste.
The chickens get layer feed, occasionally we will supplement with scratch in the winter. I'll toss them whole corn sometimes, and provide a small bowl of oyster shell.
Also feed the cheapest cat food we can find.

Peggy said...

Just wanted to add my 2 cents. LOL
I feed our (16)dairy goats and the(3) sheep 10% sweet feed (7.98) mixed with beet pulp and corn. I mix it in big trash barrels and that way can keep it sealed. They each get one cup of feed each morning and each evening. Their hay manger is filled with hay all the time. The 43 chickens,7 geese, 4 ducks and 1 turkey get chicken scratch mixed with laying crumbles. This feed is also mixed and kept in trash barrel. (5 cups)I also get stacks of bread from the bread store for $5 that I crumble and give to them twice a day. My chickens are 3 years old and still laying good. The rabbits get rabbit pellets twice a day and wheat bread slices broken up for them. Getting the old bread from the bread store really helps my feed bill. During gardening time I also give all the animals veggies and peelings from the garden. By mixing the different bags of feed I buy one bag of each every two weeks. The rabbit food is once every 2 months.