Friday, February 24, 2012

Putting up for Livestock

Recently I watched some clips from the "Doomsday Preppers" series on National Geographic and thought of the flaw some "homesteader" types have regarding raising their own livestock.

While most Preppers are putting up food for themselves, many are failing to consider the needs of their food producing livestock. Many have livestock currently, but are stocking seed stock for their own garden production needs, but not the necessary feed grains to care for the livestock needs.

An example of this is the feed often fed to laying hens in family homestead situations. This feed is generally commercially made feed.

Finding the dietary needs of laying hens and chickens, for example, in general can be quite interesting.

Today's modern day poultry industry will give quite vague answers as to the needs of chickens. Often claiming that its too complicated to answer because of the diversity of poultry and their sizes, breeds, sexes and ages all play a role in determining their dietary needs and thus make it impossible for the commercial poultry industry to answer the question of the needs of the birds.

This of course is quite strange, since the chickens are no more diverse in their sexes, diversity in sizes and breeds than any other domestic livestock. Yet other livestock industries seem far more willing to provide livestock owners with greater detail of dietary needs of the animals in question.

But luckily chickens are more than willing to forage for food during the warmer months. Its only in the winter months that homesteaders need to consider the poultry needs, especially if they are depending on egg production deep into winter. Some frugal homesteaders have adopted the practice of raising meal worms and other insects as additional protein sources for their poultry.

Another frugal consideration is recycling your eggs you consume. Not the egg, but the egg shells that is. While few realize it, chickens can eat the crushed egg shells, which in turn helps them in obtaining needed calcium which is needed for their continued egg production.

Above I have specifically mentioned chickens, since they are one of the more common frugal home livestock animals. But don't forget your pets either, whether they are cats, dogs, caged birds, reptiles or aquarium fish.

In fact, if you are an owner of one of the two latter animal pets, you may consider raising your own meal worms to supplement your pets diet and reduce your own pet food costs. There are websites you can find that will teach you how to raise your own feeder crickets, meal worms or even soldier fly larva.

Whatever your pets or livestock might be, it's important when trying to determine what sort of needs you should stock or budget for. Not only to consider putting up for your family, but also you should calculate the feed needs of your pets & livestock.

If its cheaper to purchase whole grains for yourself and your animals; its worth considering doing so. Few people think about the "storage life" of commercial feed. Few feed companies tell their customers how long their feed actually can be stored. But the known storage life of different whole grains is available. Thus it may be wise to consider this factor when determining what is more economical for a frugal homestead.

Few people think of frugal living as including food storage and yet that is exactly what was done and should be done. To be frugal, one should purchase items when they are in season and store those items when those items are out of season. Whether you choose to mix your own livestock feed or purchase commercial feeds, stocking up when the prices are good is an important aspect of frugal budgeting.

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