Eating this year's spent peas.
First, we raise our animals out on pasture. We want this to be the primary feed for animals when it's available. The fresh grasses, seeds and insects are far more natural than anything we can feed. However, our pastures aren't perfect and our animals require additional feeds, especially in the winter months. So, we feed our animals a variety of things!
Greens. We love to feed them fresh greens! We grow spinach, lettuce mix, and cabbages year-round just for them. We also give them any "garden waste," like peas and bean after they are done fruiting, carrot tops, herbs that have bolted, etc. They even enjoy kosha, pigs nose, and red root; things we think are weeds but actually have nutritional value for our animals! They also get a variety of hay grass; alfalfa, timothy or oat hay.
Sprouts. We sprout many grains for animals. This is especially important in the winter months when there is less grass to forage. Many times sprouted seeds contain more proteins and healthy vitamins than their seed partners. Instead of eating wheat, they have wheat grass. We also sprout alfalfa, peas, radishes, barley and other plants.
Produce. Our pigs love fresh produce too. They love beets turnips, carrots, and other underground producers. The chickens and pigs really like zucchinis, pumpkins, and squashes too! We feed them lots of other "produce waste," like watermelon rinds, strawberry tops, celery ends, etc.
Grain Base. We also supplement their feed with a grain base layer. This is locally grown and milled. We often buy ingredients separately and mix it ourselves. This also means it usually doesn't contain soy. We prefer to grow our own grains and hope to be able to grow more, if not all, of our ration. Whenever possible, we choose local sustainable feed (and often times organic). Their feed mix also contains trace minerals to help keep our animals healthy. One thing to remember is, that unlike cows, pigs and chickens are not grazers and naturally would eat grains and seeds. This makes it important to provide grains as a portion of their diet.
Other Treats. We occasionally provide other "treats," if you will, to the animals. Chickens love mealworms, especially in the winter when there is not many insect around. We also supplement oystershells for extra calcium to help with egg laying. New mama pigs might get cows milk to help with calcium loss from birthing.
We are also looking for the best options in nutrition for our animals. We try to go back to the basics and find plants and grains that are similar to what they would eat naturally. We try to offer a variety of healthy feeds, and may change from time to time, but you can count on us to be sustainable, natural and local.