Monday, March 8, 2010

Healthy Dairy Cow Ration

I haven't tried this out, but plan to begin as soon as my cows freshen this summer. I'll follow up with details on whether it is too much, too little, what worked and what didn't. You may wonder why I have added oats and barley to the ration - these two grains would often be found in small amounts in fields as cows grazed, and many sources claim they are the most natural, health-providing grain to be fed to bovines, with many needed vitamins and minerals. I will never again allow corn or soy into their feed, as the result of modern dairy practices has shown these to be health-destructive in large amounts.

Combine the following natural grains/seeds in a large drum.

100 lbs Oats, rolled
100 lbs Barley, rolled
25 lbs Flax seed meal/and or split peas or lentils
25 lbs Sunflower seeds, whole
(if I had the finances, I would use 50 lbs rolled Buckwheat as well)

To this grain mix, add the following mineral enhancers:

12 lbs Thorvin kelp meal
1/2 lb Soft Rock Phosphate
1/2 lb Watermelon seeds, ground
1/2 lb Redmond mineral conditioner, opt.
2 C. Diatomaceous earth (continue adding for only one week, then administer once every two weeks following)

Also add herbs:

1 lb Red Raspberry leaf
1 lb Stinging Nettle leaf
1 lb mix of your choice of the following herbs:
bee balm
fennel seed
carob powder

Feed each dairy cow 6 lbs of this mix each day, and for palatability mix with:

1 C. blackstrap Molasses

Put in water daily per cow, especially during breeding season:

1 pint raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Summer roughages and succulents can include:

Fresh daily pasture for grazing.
5-10 lbs oatstraw hay, if desired
2-4 flakes (15-30 lbs) alfalfa (if pasture is lacking in legumes)
Garden waste such as spent bean plants, corn leaves, cabbage, greens...

Winter roughages and succulents can include:

10-15 lbs oatstraw hay
2-4 flakes (15-30 lbs) alfalfa
30-40 lbs mangels, squash and kale

Even after purchasing the highest quality ingredients, I figure this will feed three cows and their calves through an entire year for about $5500. Well worth it when you figure each cow should produce around 1000 gallons (8000 lbs) of milk a year and you get 3 beef or dairy calves out of the deal. Cost will be far less in future years when the pastures can handle more days of grazing. Right now, I have to keep the cows off pasture from Nov. - March.