Episode 69 - Winter Livestock Feed

E 69 - Winter Livestock Feeding

Link to Allan Savory TEDx talk

  1. Nutrient-Rich Winter Forage Options

   - Growing and preserving nutrient-dense forages like hay, silage (with higher moisture content), and food scraps, etc.


  1. Supplementing Livestock Diets with Homegrown Feed

   - Incorporating farm-grown grains, legumes (beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils), and byproducts (cuttings) into winter feed. Note: Horses should not consume cuttings, but cows, goats, sheep, and chickens can.


  1. Fermented Feeds for Improved Digestion

   - Techniques for fermenting grains and forage to enhance livestock nutrition. For chickens, soak grain in water and let it ferment for about 3 days until bubbles come to the surface. For goats, fermenting helps boost nutritional bioavailability, increases vitamin absorption, and reduces feed amounts. I tend to only feed grain to my pregnant does, while hay is for everyone else.


  1. Rotational Grazing in Winter

   - Strategies for managing pastures and grazing land during colder months, such as strip grazing.


  1. Home-Made Mineral Blocks and Supplements

   - Mineral blocks are beneficial because our soils are often depleted, meaning livestock doesn't get enough nutrients from grasses alone. You can make your own mineral blocks, but the pre-made ones are very efficient. As you improve your soil, its nutrient content should also improve.


  1. Cost-Effective Winter Feed Storage Solutions

   - Techniques for storing hay, grains, and other feeds to prevent spoilage.


  1. Nutritional Needs of Pregnant and Lactating Animals in Winter

   - Ensuring adequate nutrition for breeding stock during winter. Provide mineral blocks and fermented feed for pregnant does. I also supplement with BioWorma to encourage healthy guts and transfer some immunity to the kids.


  1. Hydration Tips for Livestock in Cold Weather

   - Ensuring access to clean, unfrozen water and tips for preventing dehydration. Urinary problems in wethers, similar to kidney stones, can be prevented by providing lots of water. Adding some apple cider vinegar to the water can also help.


  1. Reducing Feed Waste and Maximizing Efficiency

   - Strategies to minimize feed waste and ensure all livestock get their fair share. Keeping feed in bale holders and off the ground helps prevent worming issues.


  1. Maintaining Body Condition in Winter

    - Monitoring livestock health and adjusting feeding practices accordingly. Even though it’s cold, spend time with them; it’s the best way to monitor their body condition. I take sliced apples or carrot sticks with me and check on all of them. Don’t forget regular worm checks too!