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Episode 22 Growing Your Own Livestock Feed

So a few things set this show in motion.  The first was the statements I’m hearing around the web that raising livestock can’t be permaculture (nothing IS permanent).  The second is the recent addition of chickens to my homestead.  The third was  a listener question regarding planting a field in clover.

Today I wanted to dig into the art and science of feeding your livestock from your own land.  One of the big complaints of so called permaculturists is that buying feed at the store is not sustainable.  While I don’t agree with how these people come off, they are right.  Rather than gripe about the problem, here’s the solution I offer you – grow your own.

There are tons of crops that are great.  Join me today as I talk about:

Mangels – the almost unknown beet, used for feeding many different types of livestock.  Also good for making alcohol and chopping with swords!

Clover/Alfalfa – two great high protein crops.

Fruit trees – let your livestock clean up your rotten fruit, prevent pests and get fat in the process.

Duckweed – good for chickens, ducks and tilapia.

Black Soldier Fly Larva – this is pretty neat stuff.  CHECK THIS OUT! Brilliant!

I also talk a little about feed conversion rates and other things that livestock need to eat that aren’t “feed” per se.

9 comments to Episode 22 Growing Your Own Livestock Feed

  • Ross Cayson

    Great post!

  • Raymond Butler


    We compost: garden/lawn waste, papers
    vermacompost: garden waste
    black soldier fly compost: meats and fats

    Whats left: metals and plastics

    Proposed solution: metal: artist can build a foundry, we can recycle
    plastics: return to store

    Outcome: We eliminate the necessity of the landfill and eventually they will quit putting everything in plastic.

    This started as a joke in my head so please forgive the things I’ve missed, I wanted to get it out while I still had it in mind. Besides the fact that I really don’t know about all the things that actually can be composted.


  • Jason

    Ross – Thanks!

    Raymond – Agreed. I’ve seen a few tv shows where it looks like they are actually trying to reduce the amount of plastic bubble wrap in packaging. Let’s hope that takes hold. I know in the country we would always burn what paper wastes we couldn’t compost (and some that would).


  • Nes

    Great podcast!!

    I would like to add with duckweed, just be prepared to skim some off the surface every now & then unless you’ve got REALLY ravenous fish. It grows like stink & can actually become harmful to your fish (especially at night) if you’ve got too many plants in your system.

    There are lots of alternatives to commercially purchased fish pellets (and some which are much healthier for your fish) for supplementing diet. I.e. mosquito larva, all you need is standing water & you’ve got a really nice treat for your fishes.

  • checkout what dennis over at is doing

  • mick

    Hello, in case it hasn’t been said (commenting on the podcast), alfalfa is most definetly a legume (and a darn good one). Round-up Ready is available in my area now (mid-Wisconsin). Not sure if that means it’s GMO? I keep wondering why we need Round-up Ready Alfalfa, since when it is sown, it is sown with a nurse crop, usually oats by us. This helps shade the young alfalfa and “nurse” it along it’s first year. The oats are harvested that season. The alfalfa can go on it’s own from then on. Done right, you get a good stand, there is no need to be spraying it, weeds are crowded out. Another invention of our “friends” at Monsanto. I only mention the Round-up Ready thing because it may be taking over, not sure. I enjoy the podcast, have a great day,

  • Jason


    I wasn’t sure about Alfalfa. Thanks for clearing that up. I thought it was a legume but wasn’t sure. A great cover crop anyway.

    Indeed the Roundup ready Alfalfa is GMO. It was modified to be resistant to Roundup. I can’t believe its already ready where you are at. They were just debating whether to use it or not. Which leads me to believe that the debate was window dressing for a decision that was already made. Sad.

    Thanks again for the info and sharing what’s going on!


  • Kelly

    Hogs being fed Round-Up Ready corn are showing a 30% drop in their ability to conceive. When the farmers take their pigs off the GMO corn and feed them normal food, the pig’s birthrates go back to normal.

    I’ve seen similar reports from cattle farmers feeding Round-Up Ready Alfalfa to their cows.

    Personally, I sincerely hope some of those farmers turn around and sue the pants off of Monsanto.

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