What do we feed our animals?

Posted: December 9, 2012 in Urban farming

We strive to feed our animals feed free from GMOs.  Which is a lot harder than it should be.

We buy our dog food from Mother’s Market. The food is made by Natural Planet Organics.  The food claims to be made from free range chickens, but as anyone that really follows agribusiness knows, this only means that the chickens have a door somewhere in their coop that leads to the outside.  The quality of the outside is questionable and the actual use of the chicken egress is similarly questionable.  This is, however, admittedly better than Pez packed chickens.  Although the dogs’ food is certified organic by Oregon Tilth, and not the USDA, the akitas have no issues with stomach problems or skin problems.  Our previous akitas who ate Eukanuba, and then, Nature’s Recipe, intermittently presented skin problems, stomach problems, and other bowel related issues.  Euwwwww.  It is not a perfect solution, but it is a satisfactory one.

The rabbits, chicken, and quail consume feed from Modesto Milling.  This feed is certified USDA Organic.  And Oregon Tilth.  And OMRI listed.  The chicken feed is also corn free as well as soy free.  The quail feed is the soy free chick starter, pumped up with split peas and lentils.  We originally fed them vegetable protein, but the process used to create the vegetable protein was convoluted and long enough that we became suspicious it was not real food.  Why would we feed our quail crap?  The rabbit feed is primarily alfalfa, wheat, and oats.  This feed does contain soy.  The feed is pricier than many feeds currently available locally, particularly when one adds in shipping, but feed which does not contain soy and corn is very hard to find.  It is not pricier than the second best option, though-Peck and Scratch feeds.  These are all natural, not USDA organic, however, so while we stare longingly at the soy free corn free chick starter, we have not yet tried it.

We buy our fish food from a local aquaponics retailer.  The fish food is vegetarian based, as fish based food contains higher levels of heavy metals, such as mercury.  How ironic to be concerned about mercury levels in farm raised fish!  The food is not yet certified USDA organic, but we have hopes that it will be soon.  USDA organic fish food is extremely difficult to find at present and this is a good solution for the time.

We also supplement our animals’ diets with trim from our local grocery store.  Trim refers to the vegetables that produce departments throw away daily because leaves wilt or are broken or not as pretty as consumers expect.  Grocery stores give away trim for free.  Occasionally, we obtain spent beer grains from local breweries.  The chickens, in particular, love these!  We provide dry hay and grass for the chickens and rabbits.  The quail are not particularly interested in the hay, except as a quail Laz-E-Boy.  They are fond of meal worms and dried raspberry leaves, however, and so, get these treats in addition to their normal feed.  We feed the chickens leftovers, scraps from lunch boxes, meal worms, AKA chicken crack, and any food that is teetering on the edge of going bad.  Provided the food does not contain chicken or chicken eggs.  Because, hey, Donner party of 3?

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