Author Topic: Animal Husbandry  (Read 3472 times)

Socrates

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Re: comfrey
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2017, 10:44:32 AM »
My Amish neighbor, who grows both common and Russian comfrey, says that common comfrey drops seed and is smaller.  Russian comfrey does not produce viable seed, but expands at the base producing larger stands of plants with more biomass for feed.  Both kinds can be used for fodder though.
OMG...
This is the kind of posts that make this message board worth while...

Just to be clear; humans live symbiotically with other species [as all species do!] and flora knowledge of how to have our symbiotic brethren flourish in hard times is truly essential knowledge. No doubt plants like comfrey will help make us through hard times.
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Socrates

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not all greens are created equal...
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2017, 12:30:18 PM »
GRASS EATERS
- cow
- guinea pig
- sheep
- geese
- horse

NOT grass eater...
- rabbit
- goat

Chicken, rabbit, goat, hell, even cats will eat grass on occasion, but it's a very different thing to have to live off of grass than to munch on it once in a while.
I say this, as well, because i just saw this extremely interesting vid with Joel Salatin talking about goats and what they eat; he says goats eat at shoulder height [i.e. not what's on the ground, generally]. Another very interesting thing he said was that it takes people about 5 years to get to love their goats, but then the goats usually have eaten away their food sources and then the trouble starts (i.e. when they're forced to live off of grass and stuff); then diseases start coming up, etc. etc.
Goats are a wonderful permaculture tool in that they will eat away bush that is useless for farming, saving you a whole lot of work clearing it away. But, of course, you have to keep finding new plots for them to clear since that's just the kind of food goats live off of.

Similarly, i've had rabbits but was surprised how little grass they actually ate. They're more leafy greens type eaters.

On the other hand, it can be very healthy to give your (omnivorous) chickens some grass to peck at. It just isn't something a chicken can live off of, contrary to real grass peckers like geese and land ducks.


Having said all that, it should be understood that 'good grass' usually consists of many different species of grasses and other herbs. At Fordhall they have over 40 different kinds of grass and Joel Salatin is talking about 15 species he finds in every square meter of field. The variety is both important as food source as it is for the health and resilience of the soil.
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Socrates

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Re: Russian comfrey
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2017, 10:59:27 PM »
My Amish neighbor, who grows both common and Russian comfrey, says Russian comfrey does not produce viable seed, but expands at the base producing larger stands of plants with more biomass for feed.
I've read just a piece of root will grow into a new plant. Checking on Ebay, i'm looking at some 20 bucks [including shipping].
Could someone send me a piece in the mail? I'll pay for the stamp.  :-*
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R.R. Book

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Re: Animal Husbandry
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2017, 06:51:38 AM »
Hi Socrates

I could try sending you some root cuttings if they could be kept moist in shipping.  Can you message me your mailing address?


ilinda

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Re: Animal Husbandry
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2017, 05:47:22 PM »
Hi Socrates

I could try sending you some root cuttings if they could be kept moist in shipping.  Can you message me your mailing address?
Wrap them in many layers of well-moistened paper towels or even old and thread-bare washclothes, anything that is clean and will hold moisture, but not be sopping wet.  Then after all those layers, carefully place it in a ziplok bag, and zip it ALMOST all the way, but let it "breathe".  I kept some cuttings of an unusual mulberry tree in my fridge for weeks that way, and would check them periodically to make sure the paper towels had not dried out, and if so, I'd spray mist them a bit and re-wrap them.  Surely Priority Mail will be fast enough that it will arrive long before it dries much.
Good luck!

R.R. Book

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Re: Animal Husbandry
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2017, 04:06:38 AM »
Done.  Thanks Ilinda!

R.R. Book

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Re: Animal Husbandry
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2017, 05:33:03 PM »
Posting a photo of comfrey feed beds from my garden.  Am thinking of getting a non-electronic scale to weigh harvested leaves until I get a good feel for how much constitutes an adequate substitute meal for our critters, as we're still in the experimental stage of using comfrey here.


R.R. Book

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Re: Animal Husbandry: Hay
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2017, 01:36:24 PM »
If the Px sequence of events is to happen in the next several months and be the worst case scenario, then the window is narrowing on stocking hay for those who are hoping to bring livestock forward into the Aftertime.  In our area, hay is often sold out for the entire winter by Thanksgiving, unless one is willing to search further for it. With cheaper grass hay selling for $5 per bale here, it is still a bargain.

Would love ideas on storing both baled and composting hay in such a way as not to create a tinderbox during "transiting the tail" phase, especially for those who don't have a large barn.  Perhaps not keeping it all in one place might be a good hedge? 

For the Aftertime, might want to watch a film or two on scything.  Examples:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sYyGwc9sas
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46Zn7pfNVCo

I have not tried it yet, but it looks like good exercise, and in some villages constitutes a community sporting event.

The implement, plus a whetstone for sharpening it, can be bought inexpensively.  May also want to stock tall fescue, timothy or alfalfa seed for re-seeding ground to be used for growing hay.  Rohrer's in Smoketown PA sells "Pasture Perfect Hay Diversion" seed, for example. 

With earth settling back down into an unknowable seasonal pattern in the Aftertime, might want to plan on stocking at least 2 years' worth of hay, which will not be good confinement grazing after a while but would at least remain viable bedding, and eventually compost and mulch. 

I add hay as the 6th staple crop to Carol Deppe's list of the 5 essential North American crops to grow for self-sufficiency.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 01:50:27 PM by R.R. Book »

Yowbarb

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Re: Animal Husbandry
« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2017, 01:55:44 PM »
I am not an expert in these areas... the only thing I have been suggesting for years is, creating underground storage areas.  Food, building supplies, seeds animal supplies and foods...
Reinforced concrete or whatever can be created in a hurry. Lots of supplies need to go underground or they might burn. concrete with a proper lid might possibly keep out water.
I know there are probably ways to store hay and other natural materials with out it getting ruined...

ilinda

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Re: Hay
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2017, 04:02:08 PM »
If the Px sequence of events is to happen in the next several months and be the worst case scenario, then the window is narrowing on stocking hay for those who are hoping to bring livestock forward into the Aftertime.  In our area, hay is often sold out for the entire winter by Thanksgiving, unless one is willing to search further for it. With cheaper grass hay selling for $5 per bale here, it is still a bargain.

Would love ideas on storing both baled and composting hay in such a way as not to create a tinderbox during "transiting the tail" phase, especially for those who don't have a large barn.  Perhaps not keeping it all in one place might be a good hedge? 

For the Aftertime, might want to watch a film or two on scything.  Examples:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sYyGwc9sas
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46Zn7pfNVCo

I have not tried it yet, but it looks like good exercise, and in some villages constitutes a community sporting event.

The implement, plus a whetstone for sharpening it, can be bought inexpensively.  May also want to stock tall fescue, timothy or alfalfa seed for re-seeding ground to be used for growing hay.  Rohrer's in Smoketown PA sells "Pasture Perfect Hay Diversion" seed, for example. 

With earth settling back down into an unknowable seasonal pattern in the Aftertime, might want to plan on stocking at least 2 years' worth of hay, which will not be good confinement grazing after a while but would at least remain viable bedding, and eventually compost and mulch. 

I add hay as the 6th staple crop to Carol Deppe's list of the 5 essential North American crops to grow for self-sufficiency.
Feeding the animals is also something I ponder and actually worry about.  I haven't viewed the videos yet, but definitely will. I did buy a good scythe to go with our farm auction scythes.  So now we have two "Austrian" scythes and one American scythe.  The Austrian scythe has a snath (handle) that is approximately straight and is much easier to use than the curved and heavy American one. 

I do use a "stone" to sharpen my scythe--the one that gets used the most is the one I bought new through ScytheSupply.com.  Also bought the peening kit.  They make the snath according to your height, so each one is custom made, so to speak.  And yes, scything can be done and might be about the best way to get grass or browse for your animals.  I do this every year to get Lespedeza serecea, an invasive legume, that has turned out to be a godsend, as it's high in nitrogen/protein, and is an anti-worming plant, and its hay is even sold as something to combat Barberpole Worm in goats.  I feel in spite of its origin, Lespedeza is a better bet than alfalfa, and maybe even better, as alfalfa has been found to often be contaminated by GM.  But I'm not an expert.

I probably would not want to stock fescue, as it's an exotic from Africa, and the native plants IMHO are better suited and more nutritious for livestock.  Some natives around here are  Gamma grass, Little Bluestem, Big Bluestem, Timothy, Orchard grass, and others.  Your Extension agent may know the native plants, but then they work hand in hand with industry, so they may steer you to something like fescue.  We had mostly fescue when we bought this place, and ove the years of not reseeding it, it has gradually reduced itself to a mere shadow of its former self.

Plus, if you can grow peanuts, peanut hay is very valuable--high in nitrogen/protein, and the goats, plus presumably cattle will love it.  The thing about "supplemental feed" is that they do not need it if they are not nursing babies, and their pastures are adequate.  They do LIKE it, but can survive without it.  If I were not able to feed my animals supplemental feed (usually grated carrots, beets, parsnips, etc.) I would at least give them a little treat every day such as Honey Locust pods (16% protein) and a bit of peanut hay.  And by all means, do store your hay in various places here and there.

In addition to all of this, I just read (ACRES?) about someone who is gathering tree leaves for/instead of winter hay.  It is a rather involved article about how he evolved his practice of it, but I think any of us can start small.  For example Autumn Olive, another exotic invasive, now spreading like wildlife in MO, and probably other places, is something the goats love, and possibly cattle might like it also.  I'm thinking about asking our neighbor who has tons of it on his driveway and other places, if I can cut it for him to thin it.  This will be my first experiment in tree leaves, even though this particular tree is more shrub like. 

If I can find a pic of myself scything a few years ago, will post it. 
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 10:20:27 PM by Socrates »

Socrates

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Re: scythes
« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2017, 10:28:17 PM »
ScytheSupply.com
Awesome link!
"Oh! This is good. (You guys always bring me the very best violence!)"
Serenity reference.
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R.R. Book

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Re: Animal Husbandry
« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2017, 12:23:14 PM »
Thanks for the link, Ilinda!  Yes, as Socrates indirectly suggested, one of their scythes would double as a great Halloween costume ;) 

Do you recommend having one of each coarseness of whetstone?  Is peening necessary if the whetstone is used?

I did not know that fescue was not a native plant here!  Wonderful that you have a wild legume that is nutritious for your critters - makes me think of all the coronilla growing along the roads around here. 

Am looking forward to the pic of you scything!

R.R. Book

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Re: Animal Husbandry
« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2017, 01:07:39 PM »
Quote
Lots of supplies need to go underground or they might burn.

Barb, you're absolutely right.  We're in an odd situation here, both an advantage and a disadvantage.  We're on a stone outcropping - very rocky soil, and digging is so arduous that dynamite was nearly used to blast the hole for our foundation.  On the plus side, the lower level of our house is built into the hillside, and there is a naturally cold root cellar room (formerly a partially-underground garage) that I'm now calling "the Ark."  It does have room for some hay, and so does the underside of the deck, just not 2 or 3 years' worth of it. 

So I'm tinkering with the idea of making a fire-proof hay shed in a clearing in the woods.   I found some inexpensive sections of black steel fence, and plan to lay those flat across cinder blocks, tied securely to them.  Hay bales double-bagged in contractor bags against moisture can be stacked on the flat fence sections, keeping them out of snow.  Galvanized metal roofing sheets can be tied down over that or fastened to a wooden frame.  Will get the base done this weekend and see how it works.  :)

ilinda

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Re: Animal Husbandry
« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2017, 05:48:29 PM »
Thanks for the link, Ilinda!  Yes, as Socrates indirectly suggested, one of their scythes would double as a great Halloween costume ;) 

Do you recommend having one of each coarseness of whetstone?  Is peening necessary if the whetstone is used?

I did not know that fescue was not a native plant here!  Wonderful that you have a wild legume that is nutritious for your critters - makes me think of all the coronilla growing along the roads around here. 

Am looking forward to the pic of you scything!
I'm fairly ignorant about the "coarseness" level of whetstones, as I only have one--it seems somewhat fine, although I haven't seen a "medium" or "coarse" stone.  I need to check into this matter.  Also, I clicked on the scythesupply.com link and watched their video on sharpening a bush blade.  What a surprise.  It looks easier and faster than what is shown (on youtube videos) for grass blades. 

I do feel peening is necessary, although I haven't done it yet.  It's to remove burrs and make the blade a bit thinner, as over time it wears, gets nicks, cuts, burrs, etc.  I've watched peening videos and it looks actually fun and easy, so maybe when it happens, I can give my opinion. 

Will probably practice peening on one of the farm auction scythe blades before touching my precious ScytheSupply blades.  I do also have a bush/brush blade, but bought it without the snath, as I had this bright idea I'd just go find snath material from the woods

Socrates

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Re: Animal Husbandry
« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2017, 11:26:52 PM »
I'm fairly ignorant about the "coarseness" level of whetstones, as I only have one--it seems somewhat fine, although I haven't seen a "medium" or "coarse" stone.  I need to check into this matter.
I got a bunch of wetstones from China [Ebay] for a few bucks, several different levels of coarseness. I think such things might prove very useful when international trade dissolves...
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