Cutting costs on livestock feed, making the most of our resources

Our homestead is really coming along, and we have accumulated quite a number of livestock over the past year or so. All these animals eat a lot, and if we relied wholly on buying feed from stores there’s no way we could keep up, the animals would eat us out of house and home. Thank goodness for foraging! Daily the kids and I forage for the rabbits, chickens and goats, we have an abundance of clover, grasses, herbs and other good free edibles (wild & planted) all over our south facing slope. Then there is the more unexpected sources of free food. Tim and I have been scratching our heads about what to do with the pellets that our picky rabbits dig out of their feeders and drop to the ground. This has been a problem especially when there are young growout age rabbits, as they are just learning to eat pellets and often drop them while attempting to eat them. The pellets pile up under the cages. This has been driving us crazy as pellets are expensive, especially when we go through 3 bags a week while the growouts gain weight. All that feed wasted is a frustrating situation. We tried scooping it out and feeding it to the chickens, but they don’t seem very interested in it. We know that we get it back in compost, but it’s still frustrating to buy feed just to be dropped into the compost pile. So anyway, the other day Tim was noticing how the fly population down at the rabbitry has intensified, and one morning while digging the dropped pellets out for the chickens he noticed a thick layer of maggots, consentrated right under where the food is being piled up under the cages and wasted. Our first thought, feed THAT to the chickens! Boy did the chickens love those nasty little morsels. So now we feel much better about the pellets we lose, as we let the flies lay their eggs in it, and create chicken food out of it. Plus feeding the maggots to the chickens reduces the fly population. Win win!

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