Using Red Worms As Organic Chicken Feed

Aside from being used for composting, one good alternative to making good use of red wiggler worms is to make them into animal feed. You not only get to use these wigglers as fish bait, or as live worm food for different kinds of birds, reptiles and amphibians; you also get to use Red Worms as Organic Chicken Feed. This as chicken food can be a whole and nutrient-packed meal for chickens in particular.

Where to get Red Worms as Organic Chicken Feed

Of course, there are a range of worm bins for sale that contain a bunch of red worms in it, that you also can easily get a hold of. But other than that, you may also grow your own worm farm, for your convenience. It’s actually more cost-effective to breed and raise worms on your own, rather than keep buying your stock every so often. So, you might want to invest in keeping your own worm farm as well, other than keeping chickens.

A few things to consider

It’s also not that hard to raise red worms. You’ll only need to keep their bin, and its contents maintained and replenished with new bedding, and foodstuff every so often. And much like the care that you give your worms, raising chickens goes the same way. But other than that, to get a more in depth idea as to how beneficial they can be for a chickens diet, you should consider a few valuable things when it comes to harvesting red worms for your backyard chickens.

  • You can start by getting some of the top portion of your worm bedding (preferably from the worm bin’s top lively part), and then spread it out inside a few of your chicken houses, or in your small chicken coops. Make sure that you’ve been able to gather a few worms that your chickens may be able to sink their beaks into.
  • You can also harvest a few of your good worms on top of a table. In this way, you not only get to segregate the red worms (as chicken feed), you also get to separate out the rich worm castings. But besides that, you may directly feed these red wriggler worms to your chickens as soon as you’ve harvested them.
  • There’s also another alternative to preparing them as chicken feed. You can dry them out (you can dry the red worms by keeping them inside an oven that’s lit with a gas pilot light, leave them directly under an electric light bulb, set them inside a greenhouse, or keep them inside a central heating closet), and then crush them.; and then use it as a supplemental poultry feed (amongst other feed ingredients) afterwards.

If breeding and raising red worms don’t quite work for you, then you can opt to buy your own supply from chicken feed suppliers. They most definitely sell red worms as organic chicken feed.

Are Natural, Holistic Pet Care Products Better For Your Pet’s Health?

Do you often wonder if natural holistic pet care products are better for your dog or cat? Are they more cost effective? It is certainly reasonable to wonder whether these products compare to the widely used and available mass produced products on the market today. What are the facts you should consider when you are dealing with these products for your pet.

Safety for your pet would be the number one concern as always with either natural products or commercially available products. Holistic pet products provide several major advantages for your dog or cat. Firstly, it is important to understand what they contain. Unlike over the counter products, they do not contain harmful chemicals or preservatives found in many of the commercial pet products on today’s market. Natural or holistic products will contain mostly elements found in nature, including herbs. This benefit means that your pet will not be at risk for suffering from adverse side effects that can occur when using many commercial products that can often cause allergic reactions.

Also, they are beneficial because they are very effective in giving much needed relief. Holistic products and practices have been used for many years and in many cultures to treat a variety of different medical problems in people as well as animals. Their effectiveness has not diminished over the years and have become more mainstream if anything. When you seek out a remedy or a treatment for an issue that your pet is suffering from,natural healing products can supply you with the solutions that you desire.

To conclude, they are beneficial for your pets because they are often more readily available than store bought, over the counter products. As some of these are already in your home, they can be cost effective. There can also be a timing issue – if your pet wakes you up at 3AM it can be difficult as well as expensive to have them treated. At times like these, it is important that you understand how to provide a safe, fast and effective remedy for your pet. Natural pet products can supply you with that opportunity.

Horse Feeding Tips

A horse’s nutritional requirements and his digestive system have not changed since the time he was first domesticated thousands of years ago. However, due to a lack of knowledge, convenience considerations and an over-zealous adoption of the scientific claims of the feed industry, the way we feed a horse has changed dramatically. Often, these methods contradict what natural horsemanship tells us about feeding and result in health problems for the horse and management problems for owner.

Certain principles of natural horsemanship can be applied to choosing a proper feeding program for the horse. Just as we studied aspects of horse physiology and psychology when approaching training techniques, it is beneficial to think in these terms when we decide how to feed our horses. This will tell us both what to feed and how to feed.

It doesn’t take an expert in natural horsemanship or equine nutrition to understand that feeding flakes of alfalfa and grain supplements twice a day to a horse in a stall is not what Mother Nature intended. Indeed, that approach completely ignores a few basic principles that every horse owner should know about their four-legged charges.

A horse’s digestive system is designed to obtain the maximum nutritional benefit from a diet of high-fiber and low-energy grasses. The foundation of a healthy, natural diet for a modern, domesticated horse is grass and grass hay. A horse in his natural environment will spend many hours a day grazing. Most experts say that a horse needs to consume at least 1.5 – 2 lb. of good quality hay and grain for every 100 lbs of body weight. Much will depend upon the metabolism of the horse. Horses that are heavily worked, pregnant and lactating mares will consume up to 3 lbs of dry matter for every 100 lbs. of body weight.

Grass hay is much preferable to alfalfa for the bulk for the horse’s diet for several reasons. Alfalfa is a very rich or “hot” feed for the horse. It contains approximately 50% more protein and energy per pound than grass hay. Its phosphorous to calcium ratio is also too high for a horse’s requirements. When fed with grain, as alfalfa often is, numerous digestive problems including colic may result. Alfalfa may be fed but only in small quantities almost as a supplement, not as the predominant feed component.

Not all hay is the same. The nutritional content of hay depends not only on the variety of grass grown, but also on the soil and amount and type of fertilizer used. Hay quality also can vary and should be examined prior to purchasing. Good hay exhibits the following qualities:

1. Should be leafy as opposed to containing too many stems. Most of hay’s protein is contained in the leaves.

2. Good-quality hay should exhibit a light green color. If it is too yellow or brown, it might have been harvested too late and may not contain proper nutrients.

3. The hay should smell fresh and sweet. Hay that smells moldy or musty should be avoided. Feeding moldy hay can result in colic.

4. Check for weeds and other non-hay matter. Good horse hay should contain a bare minimum of weeds, sticks and debris.

Unfortunately, hay comes without supermarket labels specifying nutritional content, but often a reputable hay supplier will have a laboratory analysis available for a particular cutting of hay he is selling. Parameters to look for include:

1. Moisture: usually averages around 10%. Higher than 13% may result in palatability problems and even mold proliferation.

2. Crude protein: Legume hay will run 20% or more. High quality grass hay might run as high as 12-15%. A minimum should be at least 8%.

3. Digestible energy (DE): This is an estimate of the amount of energy available to the horse from the hay. This figure will vary depending upon the stage of growth at which the grass was cut and harvested. Young grass will have a higher DE. As the crop matures, DE decreases as the lignin content increases. A DE reading of less than 1.65 Mcal/kilogram indicates a high level of indigestibility and should not be fed to horses. This could cause impaction colic.

4. Acid detergent fibre (ADF: Indicates the digestibility of fiber in the hay. ADF levels above 45% indicate poor nutritional levels, while values less than 31% indicate excellent quality hay.

When horses ran wild, their food supply consisted of different kinds of grasses grown in one pasture or field. Today we have lost that natural variety. An improved pasture is more than likely to contain just one variety of hay grass. Feeding just one type of hay can limit the nutritional value of the horse’s ration, especially trace minerals. Several different kinds of hay, ideally, should be fed. This will not only provide a more balanced diet but will also vary taste and texture characteristics of the feed as well.

A horse will also nibble eagerly on all kinds of vegetable matter. A good idea is to provide your horse with tree branches with leaves to chew on. He will not only be able to derive needed nutrients but will use his teeth and wear them down naturally. A horse’s teeth are continually growing, and because of domestication and modern feeding techniques, usually need to be rasped down once a year. In the wild the horse is apt to feed in such a way that the growth of his teeth is naturally kept under control.

In addition to being perfectly suited to extracting maximum nutritional value from grasses, a horse’s digestive system has other requirements which are often ignored by owners. The relatively small size of the stomach limits the amount of feed that can be safely consumed at one time. A horse is unable to vomit or belch. Eating a large volume of hay and grain concentrate twice a day, as most horses do, can be unhealthy and even dangerous. A horse should eat small amounts, many times a day.

One of the unique features of the horse’s digestive system is that even though he has but one stomach compartment, as opposed to ruminants like cows, there is a large microbial population in the cecum and colon. These microbes have the ability to break down and utilize the nutrients contained in forage. The peculiar shape of the colon which bends back upon itself numerous times reduces the rate at which digested food is able to pass. This allows more efficient utilization of roughages in the horse’s feed, but also can cause digestive problems when the horse is not fed correctly.

If you observe a horse eating in a barn situation, you can readily see that he prefers to eat off the ground. Most feeders require a horse to eat with their necks extended and their heads raised. This is an unnatural position for a horse to eat. Grass particles and debris fall back into his face and eyes. The horse cannot properly chew his food, and respiratory problems can result when the horse constantly inhales dust from the hay. It’s better to place hay on the ground in small amounts and in different places.

A diet of high-quality grass and hay should provide all the energy and protein needs non-working horses require. However, if a horse is in training, shows in performance classes or is ridden frequently, you might want to supplement with grain. Although this might be considered a departure from a purely natural approach to feeding, riding and working a horse is a complete departure from what nature intended as well.

In his natural environment as a wild, prey animal, a horse consumed very little grain. His very limited grain consumption took place in the fall from natural grasses that had gone to seed. This probably served to put on extra weight before winter. However, our energy demands on a horse have changed nutritional demands on him as well.

If a horse needs more energy, fat and protein in his diet than he is receiving from a grass and hay-based diet, there are several ways you can get him that additional nutrition. It’s a good idea to avoid feeding the quantity of sugar and molasses present in many commercial sweet feeds. Just as in humans, the ingestion of large amounts of sugar can play havoc with the horse’s insulin-regulating mechanism. Compounded grain products may also contain other undesirable ingredients such as fish and animal by-products.

You can get your horse the extra energy he needs through supplementing with rice and wheat bran or oats and barley. Limit the horse’s intake of prepared rations of grain except for pregnant and lactating mares and young foals. We want to feed naturally but we don’t want to reject out of hand advances in feed science. Educate yourself and choose supplements based on your horse’s true needs. Do not overfeed grain, however.

Natural supplements that are useful to include in a horse’s daily ration include flaxseed. Flaxseed is a good source for important Omega-3 fatty acids that are so important in human diets too. Omega-3 fatty acids can play a role in alleviating chronic inflammation and strengthen the immune system. They can improve the condition of a horse’s coat and hooves.

Food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) supplements is a lesser-known source of trace minerals, internal and external parasite control, improved feed utilization and fly control. DE is a desiccant and can be used as a feed supplement or can be spread around stalls and the barn and will kill 75% of flies, fleas and mites that come into contact with it. Horse owners who use DE religiously claim that feeding DE to their foals and grown horses eliminates the need for chemical worming.

Horses themselves can be a judge of what trace minerals they need to consume. Have you ever seen a horse digging in the ground and begin to lick some special rock they’ve found? He seems to know instinctively what minerals he is lacking and where he can get them. This probably pertains more to a wild and varied environment than to a controlled and limited pasture environment. For that reason, it is a good idea to provide a free-choice salt and trace mineral product especially formulated for horses.

When horses are first offered this feeding option, they will initially consume a considerable amount but begin self-regulating very quickly. A supply of salt is essential to a horse’s health and well-being. In the wintertime salt should be manually added to a horse’s feed in order to ensure that he drinks the proper amount of water. Be sure to make available to the horse an unlimited supply of fresh, clean water.