Updated: Feb 10, 2020
The pigs and chickens are the clean-up crew of the farm. We plant kale for us and the animals. We plant lots of extra squash to store for the first part of the winter as well as feeding in the summer and fall.
We raise soldier flies in a large container with an opening at the bottom. We pour those out to the chickens each day.
We have a large patch of Jerusalem artichokes, corn, and potatoes. We cook the potatoes before giving them to the animals.
Any leftovers from our table and offal from chickens becomes swill for the pigs.
For the winter we are growing dried field peas and try to keep food growing in the green house in the winter to give the chickens a treat.
This year we will plant beets, carrots, greens, and turnips for our fall and winter animals. This must be a conscious effort for the animals winter feed. Corn becomes a winter staple as does sprouted wheat.
Then there are the years where the root crops did not do well like this past year. We have had to buy feed this winter. The chickens are still getting extra scraps and lots of milk, but they need more than what we are producing at the moment.
Milk. Milk truly feeds the farm. The animals get the whey left over from cheese making. The blueberries get the whey. The wood chip pile gets whey. When we have excess milk and no time to make cheese, the chickens and pigs get the whole milk mixed with the scraps and swill.
For us, it is important not to keep our pigs throughout the winter. If we can get them fat enough, it is more economical to slaughter them in late December or early January just to save on feed costs.
After we slaughter our chickens or larger animals, we boil the offal, feathers, feet, and heads and feed them to the pigs. Sometimes we freeze it if there is too much and the pigs get a real treat on a hot summer day. We cook it first because we are meat and my grandchildren are meat. I would prefer our pigs do not think of us as food or meat. The organs and trotters from the pigs as well as scraps of meat feed the dogs. At times there is so much scrap left over from the sluagther that we can it for later use and simply open the jars to feed the dogs when we need to. All leftovers either feed the animals or the compost.