I'm having a problem right now with what to call my farming operation.
I'm not strictly grass-fed -- I do feed my cows and sheep spent grain from a local brewery, but the vast majority of their calories is local grass -- either directly from the field, or in the form of baled hay I buy from a farm about a mile south of me. That's for the ruminants. (I also put out salt blocks for the critters, and from time to time I'll throw them stuff that's past its prime -- vegies from the garden, produce that's past its prime, that sort of thing.
For the pigs, the vast majority of their calories comes from the prepared feed I purchase from a local feed mill, with forage providing some number of calories, hay providing some calories, and the occasional lot of eggs, dairy and wilted produce.
The poultry (chickens, ducks, geese) get the vast majority of their calories from prepared feed, which I purchase from another feed mill, and forage. It's hard to tell how many calories the chickens get, but they mow the grass and chase bugs, so I'm assuming there's some gain there. they seem happy.
I don't really have a single name that covers all the bases -- I'm not purely grass fed, nor am I purely a purchased feed operation. All of my critters have access to and actively use foraged food as part of their diet. I do this for the wholesomeness of the meat and eggs, because it's a little cheaper to do it that way (at least measured by feed costs, although more expensive when you calculate in predator losses) and the overall effect on the land is to improve it over time. Since I don't confine the animals, I also don't tend to have to work much with concentrated manure of any sort. no smell, no shoveling. Just green grass for the most part.
So I'm open to ideas. I don't think I'm a feedlot -- forage is a part of my nutrition plan for the animals, but I do take advantage of discarded food (vegies, dairy, spent grain) to lower my overall feed costs and to use an otherwise-wasted food source.
What do you do, and what do you call it?
3 days ago