Gardening for your critters

I know that most folks are seeing food prices going up, the size of the box’s going down, and everyone scrambling to figure out ways to cut down their food shopping bills, while still trying to feed themselves and their children a healthy balance of fresh food.

The cost of feed is also going up and depending on where you shop, the bag sizes are going down, one feed store sent a flyer out and it had great prices per bag, until DH pointed out that it was for 25kg bags instead of our typical 40kg bags, then that price was not just not a good deal, it was much higher. The purr-pots and hounds foods are going up as well it seems like almost every month or two months, thankfully at our regular feed store if you buy five or more 40 kg bags you get a 5 dollar’s off.

So how can we help reduce the costs with a little (or lot) of elbow grease.. the answer is in the garden, or if you don’t have a garden, the answer might be in your local farmer’s market or down that farmers lane. When you are buying your fresh goodies at the farmers market, ask them if they have seconds available by the bushal or half bushal, and if so, provided you have time to do the prep work to get them ready, snap them up for your critters.

Now if you have the space to do it, plant extra rows of your basic potato’s, carrots, turnips, beets, and extra rows of greens, talk to your local u-pick apple place, and ask about windfall apples for critter use, at the one by me, you can only take apples off the ground but its 5 dollars a bushel to do so.

The perk of when you are putting up critter food, is that you don’t have peel things the same way, you can store them in your cellar, or put part of your freezer for cooked whole extra’s or you can dry them, takes less space, and works well for the hounds, you just throw some in the bowl, cover with boiling water and let it sit with some mixed oatmeal etc and voila, you have mixed veggies in grual, and the old girls and guys will give you rubs of joy for your effort.

I grow radish’s for seed harvest, they will produce lots, which is great, so you can sprout in winter for fresh greens, when you send out your livestock for butcher make sure you tell them you have hounds and ask for everything back that they could use, or for those that don’t have their own livestock, track down that small local family owned butcher and talk to them about being able to get raw meaty bones, organ meat etc

For those that are milking, having leftover fresh whole raw milk to go to the different critters is wonderul, same with whole farm fresh eggs, they amount of eggs getting away from you, hard boil up a couple dozen and add them chopped up over top a couple fresh cooked potato’s mixed together and even your most picky purr-pot will chow down.

While I fully respect those that are willing to pay 60 to 80 dollars for a bag of their favorite house critter food, but I personally think making a few meals a week from foods that you can grow yourself greatly helps reduce the bills and puts you directly in control of making sure they get healthy, local fresh food.


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3 Responses to Gardening for your critters

  1. Jan Book says:

    I used to think that cats and dogs wouldn’t eat veggies or fruit, but then I met Alice, Second Prize, and Mandy’s puppies. Alice, the Manx cat, begged for cantalope. (misspelled) I hope they serve it in Cat Heaven. Second Prize could sniff out a Snicker candy bar like a blood hound. Though, granted that’s not a veggie. Mandy’s puppies take the cake. They pick their own figs off the bottom of the fig tree and try to take the elderberries out of my bow.

    • I know just what you mean, you have to watch the hounds or they will pick the rasberries right off the bush`s, they love dropped apples in the fall and fresh picked carrots pulled out of the ground and given while gardening.. they beg for it like its prime rib LOL

  2. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    I had a girl (Lab) who loved tomatoes SO much, who would (after finally being caught stealing ours and told in no uncertain terms to “stay off the garden”) go across to the neighbours’, sneak one off the vine very carefully, and eat it quietly ‘way at the back of the yard; then returning as though nothing had happened. We’d never have known if I hadn’t watched her go on one of her commando runs myself.
    Our current two boys love to gently pick the black raspberries, red currents, groundfall apples, pears, mulberries… Whatever they come across.
    Animals are ‘way smarter than most people give them credit for!

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