Frugally Feeding Farm Animals {supplementing goats}

originally Published on: Sep 7, 2018

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If you’re a naturally minded, homesteader or farm-girl wanna be like me, then you’re probably here to learn more about something you already love- saving money and caring for your animals.

There are definitely ways to frugally feed your farm animals, and I want to share what I have learned, with you. I have been learning as I go since we got our first chickens in 2011, and I’ve never looked back! This will be a series of several posts about how/what to feed farm animals while saving money and keeping them in top-health, as naturally as possible!

Weeds

If you have flowerbeds, there is nothing better to do with your weeds than feed them back to your animals!

Goats *love* weeds, as they are foragers, not grazers.

Goats eat some of the things cows do and most of the plants they don’t-trees, leaves, bark, roses, shrubs, poison ivy, and weeds to name a few of their favorites. Please be careful with shrubs and some weeds, as there are several plants toxic to goats that are commonly found in yards. Goats, when given a large variety, will often overlook toxic pants. But when given a wheel barrow full of treats, or when allowed to eat in a new area, they will likely eat anything they can get their mouths on.

About 6 weeks ago I weeded the back yard flowerbed, placing all the weeds in a wheelbarrow as I went. When I was done, I simply wheeled the weeds to the goat corral and let them go to town eating!

They loved the treat, climbing in the wheelbarrow, and oddly enough- left the grass I pulled! They devoured the weeds and pruned roses, but didn’t eat the lumps of grass. I should have known!

Trees

About once every 4-8weeks my husband will cut a dead or downed tree on the property and haul it into the goat paddock. The goats and the Dexters go crazy, climbing, eating leaves, and pulling off bark.

Another favorite is hedge apples that have fallen from the orange osage trees; I smash them (usually with a stomp of my boot) to make it easier for the goats to eat them. Did you know goats have oddly small mouth openings? It is very odd …

These are our favorite ways to supplement for our goats. We don’t typically give hand treats; the farm I bought my goats from made a great point- feeding treats outside of feed times can quickly turn your goats into rude, pushy, petting-zoo type goats. You know the ones where you can’t walk, move, or be near them without getting jumped on, pushed over, or head butted for food? Yea, those. We don’t want rude, pushy goats. We want sweet, docile, snuggle, “ooooh, someone looove on me,” goats.

We have given occasional watermelon rhines this summer, but not often (those usually go to the ducks and chickens).

 

Clearing Tree Lines

Our goats really enjoy clearing our tree lines, walking on a lead and clearing weeds around fences, the barn doors, the kids’ trampoline, the chicken coop … the list goes on! My husband set up some runners along our north tree line and the goats love going out there to eat weeds and clean it up for us.  They get poison ivy to munch on, among other yummy weeds, and we get some free weed eating done!

Friday on the Farm {winter 2019}

 

A lot has happened this winter on the farm- we welcomed our wirehaired pointing griffon, Flossie, to the family.

WHPGriffon puppy

Our LGDs-Yona and Huck- welcomed a litter of 11 (ELEVEN!) fat, healthy puppies. They are growing like crazy and are 2 weeks old. I just love them, and want to lay in the whelping box with 11 puppies all day … but Yona won’t let me =P

the night puppies were born, after I cleaned up our mess this was in the garage (pre remodel) because she kept wanting to have the puppies in a hole in the shop. They are now moved out to the shop and everyone is happy

LGD Puppies

We also started the remodel on our garage-it will soon be a laundry, half bath with utility sink, GIANT pantry, and maybe reading/sitting nook (the space is bigger than expected, but I’m not able to capture it well in pictures). We will gain a new master bathroom, and move our bedroom door; we’ve added a split A/C/heating unit, and we will hopefully be refinishing the stairs to the basement and opening up that area. A LOT is happening.

Friday on the Farm- remodel

And, lastly, I fell on the ice February 10th and suffered (I mean, like suffered for real, y’all) from a concussion. I’m not entirely sure why movies and tv shows make concussions seem like no big deal, I expected it to be no big deal- I was SO dizzy, nauseous, and out of my element for 2 weeks; I couldn’t drive, look up, be around bright lights or noise, and I was exhausted! This weren’t as bad the day of, it was the following day that everything set in. I seriously thought it would never end and had a break down on day 8 (which is probably kinda silly).

Now that I am feeling better, I realize just how bad I truly felt… man was I cranky, too. We are all so thankful that is over!

Later this spring we should have some baby goats arrive (end of May/early June), the remodel should be done, and we are hopefully adding to the garden.

Right now, it feels like winter will never end, so I am not sure when any of the outside work/gardening will begin =(

 

How is the weather where you are? What are your plans for the end of winter?

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Why, fall? Why?! Snow in November {wordless Wednesday}

The picture isn’t that great- but snow, y’all. ALL. MORNING. LONG. That little kid in me is so excited, because it is actually pretty, thick, BIG flakes falling non stop since 7am.

The fall-loving adult in me is cussing November right now.

So I embraced it … we took a snow day this morning, put up the Christmas tree, and are making potato soup for dinner.

Take that, mother nature!

Why, fall? Why?!

 

and the tree probably won’t get ornaments this year because TODDLER. Maybe some ribbons and decorating the house will do.

Christmas Tree, too early

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Chalk Painting over Latex Painted chairs

**PLEASE READ: There is an important step missing in this post. This was our first project and we didn’t have these chairs very long before purchasing new ones for a larger table my husband built, so I am unsure of how they turned out long term. I chose not to prime because the paint was dark, but that was still a mistake.

Please see my post: Why You Should Prime BEFORE Chalk Painting Wood

Chalk painting our dining room chairs has been pretty easy, and very enjoyable.

Supplies I’ve been using:

I still haven’t decided which color combo I prefer on the chairs, with my table and open floor plan. Because our cabinets will all be white, and hopefully there will be white bead board on the walls and chair-rail height, I am thinking I don’t want them all painted in white with red seats. It will just be *so* much white, and Im not in the white farmhouse camp.  However, this is the prettiest combo at first glance…

I do plan to repaint the white on the one white chair I’ve done; I do NOT like how it looks distressed. I will re-wipe with Krud Kutter, cover with chalk paint, and re polycrylic. It just didn’t turn out how I thought it would distressed.

The red chairs with stained wood seats turned out with a beautiful finish; still debating if I will paint the seats white, or leave them dark wood.

 

 

My process for the chairs has been:

  • clean with wet rag and grease cutting dish soap (Dawn) to remove any food, fingerprints, dust, etc. from tiny humans and dog
  • wipe well with Krud Kutter all over, wip to dry
  • **Let sit and dry for 30 minutes** The Krud Kutter instructions say you can begin painting sooner, but I have found 30 minutes helps prevent the paint from repelling on the chair
  • wipe to remove any dust
  • begin chalk painting with chalk paint brush-YES a chalk painting brush makes a difference in application. Trust me! I wish I’d had them for the fireplace and built in hutch.
  • polycryclic with foam brushes (2-3 coats, one after the other as soon as first has dried).

The latex paint was peeling in some places, so on those areas I did a quick sanding with my sanding sponge. Not every chair had peeling; the red chair took the chalk paint just beautifully! I am so pleased with how it turned out. Once I finished the bottom, I was able to turn the chair over and begin the top. By the time the top was done, I could start on the 2nd coat of chalk paint on the bottom.

Chalk paint dries SO fast, so finishing a chair doesn’t take long. Polycrylic also dries quickly.

I am not done with the entire project; I still have 2 chairs to complete, and the white one to redo with fresh paint. I think I am opting to NOT distress any of the chairs. I like the smooth, polished, matte finish. They will probably get plenty of distressing from years of use from my 4 children, anyway. haha

I will share pictures of the final product(s) when all the chairs are done. I will probably sit on them a while (pun totally intended!) before I decide to paint the seats white, or leave them.

Have you chalk painted? Do you enjoy it?

This is by far my favorite way to do projects! I’d like to try waxing on a nicer piece soon (something that doesn’t get abused, and wiped frequently!)

 

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Fall Days 2017 {Simple Woman’s Daybook 35}

Outside my Window …
The sun is coming up, it is cool and crisp. The dogs are laying in the freshly pulled-up garden, and the chickens are pecking around.

I am thinking…
Today is going to be a good day!

I am thankful…
for my husband, his hard work and love for us, this fall weather, the fire in the fireplace, and snuggles with my babies.

In the kitchen…
Coffee.

I am wearing…
jeans and a shirt with my hair in a towel. Had to get started before getting the kids up today.

I am creating…
well, I started cutting and taping a pattern yesterday, but the actual creating has not yet taken place. =P

I am going…
to snuggle and read to my kids, send them out to play, then get some learning time done. We have violin and vision therapy today, so our afternoon will be spent out of the house.

I am wondering…
how in the world my sweet girl has been able to see to read so well for so long. I can’t even imagine what it has been like for her; so thankful we have found someone to help us get through her vision dysfunction and get both eyes working.

I am reading…
The Wise Woman Knows Bible study.

I am hoping…
to have a calm and fun week.

I am looking forward to…
this beautiful day! Finally clear skies after a week of cold, drizzly, foggy days (which were actually nice to have, but just ready for some sun). I love homeschool because we can spend so much time outdoors, walking, reading, playing, and just being.

Sweet slow days are so meaningful.

I am learning…
how incredibly complex and multifaceted the human body really is.

Around the house…
we are suddenly overflowing with books again! I need to swap some of them out for fall and winter books from my shelves downstairs.

A favorite quote for today…

Credit given HERE

One of my favorite things…
Coffee outside with my husband every morning.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
After today, just focus on reading with the kids, school, and being outside!

A peek into my day…

no pics today. =)

Simple Woman {Daybook}

DIY Fall Nature Banner Handicraft {nature craft}

This last week in one of our co-op classes we had SO much fun making a DIY fall nature banner. The timing was uncanny! A few weeks ago, we came across a PVC banner printing that we thought was just amazing. So when we found out that we were doing banners, I was extra excited! I wanted to share with you what we did, so you can do it at home as well!

This could be adapted for spring, Christmas, summer … any season or occasion really. I would say it is an appropriate activity for ages 2+; a 2-5 year old may need extra assistance with the mallet, obviously. My 5yo son was able to do most of the hammering himself, he did get tired once or twice, so I would hammer and give his arms a break.

diy fall nature banner handicraft #charlottemason #naturestudy #handicraft #homeschool

First you will need to gather supplies:

  • thin fabric such as a light, thin linen or muslin
  • leaves, buds, flowers, grasses from nature
  • rubber mallet or hammer
  • tarp or cardboard (for laying everything on before hammering)
  • 3 hole punch or knife (we use a 3 hole punch so the kids could do it, and the holes would be evenly spaced)
  • twine for stringing
  • small piece of clear tape (for taping the end of the twine so it doesn’t unravel)
  • decorative leaves/acorns/etc from craft store that you may want to add
  • hot glue gun

You can either punch your holes before or after hammering, that is up to you. We did it afterwards.

  1. gather leaves, flowers, buds, & grasses of all different colors-the brighter the better!
  2. cut fabric into neat triangles (print a triangle template the size you want). You can do this by hand if you’d like or if you’re planning to make quite a big garland, I’d recommend looking into the best fabric cutting machines for precise cuttings. It’ll be a lot quicker than cutting it free hand too.
  3. warm up your hot glue gun if adding decorations
  4. lay out your tarp or cardboard, the harder the surface the better the colors will come out of the leaves and flowers. So maybe on top of concrete or a garage floor would be good.
  5. place leaves and flowers *under* your fabric triangles
  6. use the mallet or hammer to bang away!
  7. leave the bits of leaves and petals on the fabric, once they dry they are easy to roll off
  8. using a 3 hole punch, place the triangle, top edge in, under 2 of the holes and punch on each triangle
  9. cut your twine. For 4 triangles, we cut twine 36″ long, you would need more if you do a longer banner.
  10. wrap scotch tape around one end of the twine, for weaving through the holes
  11. weave twine through the holes, then tie a knot on each end
  12. *IF* you want added decorations, hot glue them onto the banner now
  13. Hang and enjoy!

Some of the students really liked using a hammer better; it does give a lot of bang for your buck. The rubber mallet covers more area, so for smaller/younger students, the mallet made the job a bit easier/less tiring.

I want to give a shout out to our wonderful “Maker’s Space” class teacher. This is one of my favorite activities we have ever done in our homeschool! It was so enjoyable, and simple to do. I look forward to doing it at home with all my kids, another season.

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Friday on the Farm: {Birthday & Camping Edition}

I am writing this on Sunday and back dating for the sake of hitting Friday on the Farm. *insert cheesy face here*

We have spent the last 2 weeks celebrating birthdays … one right after the other. It has been a joy!

The kids got a new play set/fort/swingset/tree house/whatever you want to call it for their combined birthdays. Hopefully it will last for years to come, and will eventually become an actual tree house in the woods, near the pond.

They each got a small little special for their birthdays- the 7yo a field press and the last Narnia book, The 5yo Mister a bug/small animal terrarium for nature studies and a bug field guide, and the 3yo little Miss a fairy garden house.

Each of the kids had their own special birthday cake- all gluten and dairy free. Boy did that require some special grocery store trips … But we managed to do it!

Mister’s “rocket” cake:

Big sister’s Smores ice box cake:

Little Miss’s dirt cake:

The husband smoked up some BBQ for the week:

We spent Wednesday-Saturday camping at a local state park; all 6 of us in the pop up camper and our new caravan (not forgetting to bring out RV battery as that comes in incredibly useful sometimes!) that we finally managed to get finance for (thanks to Auto Finance Online, see this site for more info). It was surprisingly less difficult than expected. More specifically, after the first day and night, we had things figured out. haha. Keeping the caravan safe and secure is definitely a concern for anyone who owns one. Wheel clamps for caravans ensure that your caravan is not going anywhere you don’t want it to!

A few random camping with tiny humans tips we found made things easier:

  • Get one of these for the baby. just trust me. There is a time and place for a pack n play, but these little sleep tents are amazing when traveling! They fit in the tiniest spaces and can easily be covered with a light blanket for darkness
  • cover baby’s sleep tent or pack n play with a blanket
  • noise. machine. We took the humidifier we use at home in the kids’ rooms, but then remembered the pop-up has an AC fan, so we used that. PERFECT for blocking out the noise at a camp ground during naps and bedtimes
  • kiddie potty. We just keep on in the camper now, because it is easier than them using the camper potty, and we dont have to go up to the bath house, AND we don’t have to worry about them having privacy from fellow campers
  • wagon– saved our lives. when baby wasn’t being toted around in it, fed in it, or just playing in it, the 3yo was pulling it around for fun
  • picnic blanket– again, couldn’t have done without it
  • crocs for every child
  • overalls the kids can rewear each day, with a clean shirt underneath
  • just leave all the luggage bags in the car to keep camping space clear and organized. It’s a tip I learned from a friend after they hired a campervan with Rent.is on their European adventure, and it makes sense. Each night I got out their PJs, they changed before going into the camper, and I put their dirty clothes into the dirty clothes bag. Clothes to be reworn were placed on top of their bag (in the car) for the next day

Just some camping fun:

I woke each morning to my husband making coffee and breakfast over the fire. He is irreplaceable.

It was a lot of hard work, but one of the best family vacations we have had. My sweet husband did most all of the heavy lifting and hard work, and though I know he enjoys it, it was such a blessing to me. I actually got to chill and not really fret about anything. It was really nice.

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

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