Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Feeding Livestock

 Meet The Prom Queen. Yes, apparently this 1960's International tractor is a girl. At least to the previous owner. As for me, well, I'm thinking more on the lines of Stan as a new name. What do you think? Oh yeah, by the way, we bought this lovely tractor last weekend. That is after a three hour interview and after the previous owner deemed us worthy of purchasing her.

Think I'm exaggerating, hardly, ask our daughter who was with us and heard the previous owner say exactly that. "I have been interviewing you to see if you passed inspection." And after the extensive interview, we now know each and every part that was replaced and like a teacher repeating something so we won't forget, we can't forget because it was told to us so many times. Not all bad because I now have engrained in my mind the unique way to start this tractor. All older vehicles and tractors have their quirts, even if they are rebuilt. 

But it was worth it. So excited was I at the purchase of this tractor that butterflies kept fluttering in my stomach. I couldn't help but laugh at myself. Not a diamond ring or a beautiful outfit trips my trigger. It takes a tractor to do so. LOL I'm such a strange bird but this tractor is going to make my life so..... much easier as it will be able to do much of the grunt work for me.

 We've been feeding hay on the ground, not a great way to do it since it means lots and lots of waste and an increase of the spread of worms. With hay prices and grain going through the roof, we had to spend money to save money. Luckily, I've been saving for the feeders for quite some time. The tractor will help me clean up the mess and the feeder will assist me in keeping the waste and mess from happening again.
 Before we bought this sheep feeder, we knew we would have to make a few modification to it. See all the hay that falls into the grain bunk? We are going to try adding two pieces of cow panel in a V, slipped into the feeder to create smaller openings to pull the hay through.

My father explained to me that animals should have to work for their food and I'm not talking about carrying large loads. When a animal grazes, it takes time and effort. The same should be mimicked in a feeder. We are told to eat slowly for optimal digestion; animals are the same. 

The other benefit is the psychological benefit. The animals are happily occupied eating, just like they would be for much of the time in a pasture.  Now with feeders, I can add the eating process to my feed program to enhance health.  

The wide spread drought complicates things. Crop failures and lower yields means hay and grains prices are going through the roof. I'm going to have to be creative to create the same level of health as before to keep a slick shiny coat on my animals. What I could afford to buy before will be out of my reach.

For now, the most important thing I can do is give them lots and lots of clean water. That is why I have these 10 gallon black rubber pans. I clean the algae out of them once a week. I can visibly see an increase of intake of water the day after.

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