3 Tips to save big on the feed bill! That won't take tons of time!

Farm tips! Save on your feed bill without sending lots of extra time!

**ALL photos you see are from my actual Homestead. I do not need to use purchased stock photos. What you see on my blog is REAL! 

It's so important if you want to have a profitable small farm or homestead business to save as much as you can on the feed bill. I thought I'd share some easy ways we save on our feed bill that doesn't take a ton of time!

Our chosen livestock animals 

It's true that the Meishans are very low energy, noncommercial niche pigs! Our other chosen poultry and livestock aren't super heavy commercial eaters either.
Meishan still need plenty to eat and good nutrition in order to have all those babies they and give so much milk like they do! All breeding and producing animals need good nutrition. 
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 to have A LOT of pigs to maintain diverse examples of all 3 bloodlines.
All the livestock feed bills do add up! If you've been homesteading awhile you know this,
But Especially when you're doing a true, closed herd, genetic diverse breeding program. You can read a bit more about Meishans here Make Mine Meishan or watch this video. They are a very neat homestead hog!

Dairy goats, dairy sheep, and cows are also big eaters! Chickens and waterfowl can certainly eat a lot too!
So here are a few tips that have helped us without adding extensive work for feeding that doesn't make enough of a difference in the long run, like growing fodder or sprouting, UGH!
Both have been tried here and are just not realistic, way to labor intensive for us and our livestock needs.

Tips to save on the Feed Bill

1. The local bread store is a great resource!
I can't believe how much is thrown out. It's perfectly good bread but after a day whole grain organic bread gets too stale and can't be sold to customers.

Feeding all these different whole grain breads allows us to cut way back of the carbohydrate portion of our pigs and poultry feed. We get a whole truckload every week now.
So check your local bakery's! Many small bakeries are happy to know their stale wholesome bread goods are still being put to good use.

2. Brewers grains.
Very high in protein and fiber! Must be kept to around 20%  for poultry feed or they will drop in egg production as they can't handle the high fiber in excess. Geese can have a little higher without dropping because they can break down fiber better. Its amazing for dairy goats and sheep! Wow! Do they milk on this stuff!
Dairy sheep and goats get about 40% of their ration in this because they are ruminants and can handle the high fiber. 
Here is a quick read with more details about feeding brewers grains How to use Brewers waste for livestock.
This allows us to cut back on the protein portion of feed we have to buy for the poultry and goats/sheep. If you have a dairy cow this is the stuff!
With all the small micro-brewery's around now this is fairly easy feed to find and they are happy to give it to you! Just keep it away from your pigs, it kills their growth rate and can hurt their productivity. Trust me, we found out the hard way a few years ago!!! That's what we get for listening to the armchair farmers on facebook I guess! Lesson Learned!

3. Re-Hydrated Alfalfa cubes. 
This is something I do for geese, sheep, goats and jenny donkeys or mares heavy pregnant or in milk. High protein, high fiber again so the chickens and ducks only get a little in the winter when they aren't getting any grasses.  Dehydrated alfalfa cubes rehydrated and made soft to mix in their feed. Quick and easy! I just fill a bucket and soak overnight. It's not really any extra work. 
The alfalfa cubes are less expensive than alfalfa meal for poultry and go farther than the pellets do for the equine and ruminants.

It's not much extra effort (like fodder! yikes!) although not as easy as pouring out a bag of dry animal feed but we are seeing a major decline in our feed bill 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 

This 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 realistically save on the feed bill and 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.

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