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|Part VI. Feeding Farm Animals
Feed for Plow-Horses.
While doing heavy plowing, how many pounds of rolled barley per day should I feed to keep 1300-pound horses in good condition? If I feed part oat hay and part alfalfa hay, together with rolled barley, what ration would be ample?
A ration used by the California Experiment Station was 12 pounds of alfalfa hay, 11 pounds of wheat hay and 7 pounds of crushed barley for 1000 pounds of horse at hard work. The larger the horse the less food for the amount of work he does in proportion to his size, so multiplying these figures by 1.2 would bring a person somewhere near the ration for a 1300-pound horse, and an approximation is as close as one can come to any general ration. Probably more alfalfa and less of the other feeds could well be given, since many farmers are succeeding in feeding alfalfa exclusively.
Vetch for Horses.
Does vetch make good feed for horses? Will vetch produce a heavier crop than grain? When is the best time to sow vetch for hay, and what is the best variety?
Vetch makes excellent stock feed whether used as hay or as pasturage. Vetch falls to the ground so badly that it is very difficult to cut hay from it unless some grain is planted to hold it up. Oats make an excellent hold-up crop and is more generally used. A half a bushel of vetch seed is mixed with a bushel of oats and this is enough to plant an acre. Some growers, however, prefer a bushel of vetch as that makes the stand much heavier.
Can I allow milk cows to pasture on growing Kaffir and Egyptian corn during the summer? Which one is the best for pasture and milk?
There is no difference between Kaffir corn and Egyptian corn so far as feeding goes. They are both sorghums. There is a danger in pasturing on young sorghums, because stock is often killed from overeating it, and they are quite apt to do this when they come upon it from dry feed. If you cut and wilt the young sorghum, or if it is fed sparingly with hay, etc., it becomes innocent of injury. After the sorghum has obtained considerable growth, it also loses its dangerous character.
What kind of salt is used for salting hay, how much to use and how to apply it?
Any good commercial salt such as is used for pork or beef packing is satisfactory for salting hay. A good handful to the ton, scattering it as the hay is stocked is as good a formula as can be had.
What is stover? How is it cut and handled?
Stover is corn fodder after the ears are taken off. The best time to cut the corn for stover is immediately after the kernel becomes dented and the leaves or blades commence to dry. Immediately after the ears are taken off, the stalks should be cut and stacked. The size of the shock depends upon the climate. If it is a foggly climate and stalks are green, it is better to make a smaller shock, but in the interior valley where the weather is warm it is best to make large shocks, so that the stacks will not dry up very rapidly.
Feed for Cows.
What shall I feed cows when they are fresh and when they are dry!
When they commence to freshen, give some green feed, such as alfalfa or corn; if possible, also give, say, two or three pounds of barley or bran, and gradually increase this for two or three weeks until six or seven pounds of bran or barley is being fed. Also give a small amount of hay. Bran may be rather expensive feeding and a substitute is being used. Take four parts of barley to one of bran and mix. With barley at its low price, this makes rather inexpensive feeding. Another substitute is to take the chopped alfalfa hay and barley. These are mixed thoroughly together and moistened. After the cow freshens and gives her full flow of milk, let her eat all the alfalfa hay she wants. A good ration is about 15 to 20 pounds of hay, 6 or 7 pounds of barley or bran and about 10 pounds of roots such as beets or mangels. When the cow is dry, pasture is the best food, supplemented with some green food.
Will Egyptian corn make good ensilage and at what time should it be cut to make the best feed for dairy cows?
Sorghum makes good silage. It must be cut while surely juicy enough, for it is a little more apt to dry out than Indian corn.
Barley for Hay Feeding.
Should the barley for hog feeding be rolled, ground or fed whole, dry or wet? Also, how much should be fed and how often to get best results?
To obtain the best results, the barley should be ground into a meal (not too fine) and have the hulls screened or floated out. This is best fed when made into a thick slop. Some good feeders believe in letting it stand until fermentation sets up, that is, gets a little sour. We prefer a sweet to a sour feed. However, hogs will do well on either, provided there is no change from sour to sweet. The change is the bad part. Hogs should be fed just the amount that they will clean up well, and no more. A hog should always be ready for his feed at feeding time. We would not feed oftener than twice a day: night and morning. - Chas. Goodman.
Sugar Beets and Silage.
Will sugar beets keep in a silo and how sugar beets rank as a hog feed?
Sugar beets would probably keep all right if stored in a silo just as they might if kept in any other receptacle, but it is not necessary to store beets for stock-feeding in this State. They can be taken from the field, or from piles made under open sheds in which the beets may be put because more convenient for feeding than to take them from the field in the rainy season. Beets put whole into a silo would not make silage. For that purpose they would need to be reduced to a pulp, but there is no object in going to the expense of that operation where beets will keep so well in their natural condition and where there is no hard freezing to injure them. Beet pulp silage is made from beets which are put through a pulping process for the purpose of extraction of the sugar and, therefore, best pulp silage is only made in connection with beet-sugar factories and is a by-product thereof which is proving of large value for feeding purposes.
Feeding Value of Spelt.
What is the food value of spelt? It is a Russian variety of wheat, and yet, I am informed, it has about the same value as a stock food that barley has.
We have no analysis of spelt at hand. It is presumably like that of barley, as you suggest, because the spelt has an adhering chaff as barley has. This fact makes it better for feeding than wheat, not in nutritive content, but because the chaff tends to distribute the starchy material, making it more easily digestible; just as barley and oats are better than ordinary wheat for stock feeding.
Concentrates and Corn Stalks.
Is it necessary to feed mulch cows any hay or concentrated feed in addition to green corn stalks?
It is necessary. Green corn is an excellent thing for milch cows, but it is a very unbalanced ration and needs alfalfa or something else to balance it up. Green corn, for example, contains only about one per cent of digestible protein and 11.5 per cent of digestible carbohydrates and 0.4 per cent fat, or a nutritive ratio of about 1 to 12 1/2. A proper ration would be about 1 to 6 or 7, or less. To balance this up alfalfa can be fed better than anything else in California, for that is very rich in protein and the cheapest supply of protein that there is. If you give the cows a good supply of alfalfa hay with the green corn, you will have an ideal combination.
Dry Sorghum Fodder.
Is Egyptian corn fodder good for cows? I have been told it would dry up the milk. I have several acres and would like to feed it if it is not harmful.
Dry sorghum fodder is counted about the poorest roughage that one would think of harvesting. It is much less valuable than Indian corn fodder. Egyptian corn is one of the non-saccharine sorghums which are valuable both for grain or for green feeding. We never heard of direct milk-drying effect, though such a result might be expected from feeding such innutritive material, which is also difficult of digestion. If fed for roughness it should be in connection with concentrated foods like bran or oil meal or with green alfalfa. No cow can give much milk when the feed is hardly nutritive enough to keep her alive.
There seems to be, however, much difference in the dry fodders from different varieties of sorghum. One grower writes: "Kaffir corn is the only variety within our knowledge of which the fodder is of much value. We consider the fodder much more preferable than that of the ordinary Indian corn, and our stock eat it much more readily than the sweet sorghum. However, it requires a much longer season in which to ripen than does any of the other varieties, for which reason it is less desirable to plant in midsummer."
Steers on Alfalfa.
How much alfalfa hay will a two or three-year-old steer eat per day, and about what is the gain in weight per day?
A steer will clean up about 33 pounds per day. Steers will make about 1 1/2 pounds gain in weight per day.
Concentrates with Alfalfa.
I have a good supply of alfalfa hay and have been feeding this as a straight feed for my dairy cows. They are not, however, doing as well as they should and I am looking for some good feed to go with it.
You could probably get better returns by feeding about a pound of cocoanut meal and three of dried beet pulp than by any other combination of concentrates with straight alfalfa. If you are producing market milk or butter prices justify it, more concentrates could profitably be fed. It is an expensive proposition to build up a properly balanced ration with alfalfa and concentrates alone, and unless market milk is being sold, it usually does not pay. The cheapest way to provide a balanced ration is not by concentrates, but by wheat or other grain straw, and let the cows eat all they care for. This is very cheap and helps to balance a ration with green or dry alfalfa hay, is usually cheap, and is fine for cows. Both are much less expensive than concentrates.
Chopping Hay for Horses.
What saving may be made by chopping all oat hay when fed to horses?
There is no particular saving in chopping hay unless the horses are worked very hard and for very long hours, as is often the case with express horses in the cities, or unless the power for cutting is very cheap and feed high. The idea is that, except in unusual cases as above mentioned, the horses can do their own grinding cheaper than it can be done by power. Somewhat less hay is wasted when fed cut than when fed long, but if they are not fed too much long hay they will waste very little.
Grain for Horses.
What is the best formula for feeding work horses with oat hay, alfalfa, barley (crushed) and corn as rations?
Feed one-half oat hay and one-half alfalfa hay, about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per day for each 100 pounds live weight of the horse. Add to this from 3/4 to 1 pound of rolled barley or corn for each 100 pounds live weight. If the corn is on the cob, four-fifths of its weight is corn; that is to say, 5 pounds of corn on the cob has 4 pounds of grain.
Feeding Cut Alfalfa Hay.
Would alfalfa hay, cut, say, from one-half to three inches in length be better than whole hay for hogs, cattle and horses, and if it is better, should it be fed wet or dry?
Cattle and horses do much better when fed chopped alfalfa hay than when fed whole hay. They can eat the required amount in much less time and with less exertion. For cattle and horses the hay should be cut about one inch long and fed dry. There is no advantage in chopping alfalfa hay for hogs unless it is mixed with ground grain and made into slop. - L. P. Denny.
Storing Cut Alfalfa Hay.
We are planning on cutting our next season's crop of alfalfa with a feed cutter and storing it in a barn for winter feeding.
The hay must, of course, be thoroughly cured, because of the great danger of heating in a tight mass. A. Balfour says: "I have been cutting alfalfa into a barn for wo seasons. It is absolutely necessary to have the sides and floor tight, and it is easier to feed it if it is in a loft. The hay is best stacked first, and must be thoroughly cured."
Is the curing of alfalfa for grinding different from ordinary; has it to be chopped before grinding, and what is the cost of grinding?
Alfalfa hay should be cut when the very first blossoms commence to appear. At this point the plant contains the greatest amount of protein; from that time on until seed time, the protein diminishes and fiber increases. To make meal, hay should be well cured, have gone through the sweat, and should be dry, or as near dry as possible. It mills easier when dry and makes a finer product. It should be cured so as to retain the green color. To grind it, it is not necessary to cut it before grinding, it mills better if ground just as it comes from the stack. The cost of milling hay varies with the size of the machine, condition of hay, whether dry or damp, or whether tough or tender. With larger plants of a capacity of four to five tons per hour, it costs about 45 cents a ton to put it in the sack, exclusive of the cost of sacks; and with smaller, it runs from that on up to $1 to $2 per ton.
How soon can calves be weaned and not hinder their growth? After weaning, what would you advise to feed them?
After the calf has once nursed, it should be taken away from its mother, but fed its mother's milk for a few days, depending on the vigor of the calf. Commence to add skim-milk after a week or ten days, adding a small amount at first and increasing it daily until the calf is on an entirely skim-milk diet. The milk must be sweet, it must be as warm as its mother's milk and the calf must not have too much of it. Four quarts at a feed twice a day is sufficient for the average sized calf for the first month, then increase it accordingly. Add a spoonful of ground flaxseed to each feed and teach the calf to eat a little grain as soon as possible. Ground barley is the most economical feed to balance a ration containing so much skim-milk. If calves show a tendency to looseness of the bowels, feed less milk, and when this does not remedy the trouble, heat some skim-milk to boiling and when it is cooled to a proper temperature feed this to the calf. A good grain ration to feed calves along with skim-milk is ground barley with green alfalfa hay. When the milk is cut off, feed barley and bran soaked with molasses water. Put a pint of molasses in a pail of water and dampen feed with it. This amount will dampen three bushels of feed. - W. M. Carruthers.
Winter Feed for Sheep.
What would be the best to sow for sheep pasture - barley, oats, rye, vetch or rape?
Of the grains, rye is usually found to be best for quick winter growth, and rye and vetches sown together are very satisfactory, because the rye holds the vetches up so that the whole growth can be more successfully handled with the mower, and if grown that way and fed green in a corral, a very large amount of good feed can be secured. Sufficient experiments have not yet been made with rape to fully demonstrate its value. Even if it grew well, it would be inferior in nutritive value to vetches and rye.
What is a balanced ration for milk cows and brood sows?
When plenty of alfalfa is available many dairymen feed that alone. It is better to feed a little corn, grain hay, beet pulp or the beets themselves to balance up the ration. Some of the best concentrates to feed to offset alfalfa hay are ground barley and dried beet pulp. The same thing can be said about the sows. They will consume about 10 pounds of chopped alfalfa per day and all the skim-milk that is likely to be given them. Not more than eight pounds of concentrates need be fed, of which one-fifth may be bran, the same amount, or more, of cocoanut oil cake, and the rest corn or barley. With plenty of skim-milk and alfalfa, but little grain or other concentrates will be needed. A few beets will also go well with alfalfa.
Pasture and Cover Crop.
I am thinking of sowing burr clover with rye to be plowed under in the spring. Is it good policy to sow rye with clover?
Burr clover and rye would be very satisfactory for sowing, after the rains, to secure a winter growth for plowing under in March or April, or earlier if the growth should be large enough to warrant. Such a cover crop can be pastured lightly to advantage.
Cutting Corn for Silage.
What is the best time to cut corn for the silo? What length is it cut? Is water put on it when it is put in the silo?
The best time to cut corn for the silo is just as the kernels are beginning to glaze. It is cut with a proper ensilage cutter into half or three-quarter inch lengths. No water is used, unless the corn should be unusually dry, with shriveled leaves; in that case, the use of water to compensate for the loss of moisture in the stalks and leaves is desirable.
Fall and Winter Pasturage.
What do you advise for planting in the fall for winter pasture in the Sacramento valley? Are field peas suitable?
The common California field pea, called Niles pea, the Canadian pea, the common vetch (which is sometimes called the Oregon vetch because the seed is largely grown in that State) are all suitable for fall planting and winter growth because they are not injured by ordinary valley frosts. Aside from legumes, you can get winter feed from fall-sown rye, Essex rape or kale.
Summer Pasture for Hogs.
I want to pasture hogs in the San Joaquin valley this spring and summer. Have water for irrigation, but will not have time to get alfalfa started sufficient to pasture.
Sorghum can be planted with pumpkins or some root crop between the rows. The root crop or the pumpkins could be used in the later summer, while the sorghums could come between the natural grasses of the early spring and the root crops. A strictly pasturage scheme is to sow wheat or barley and turn the hogs on this, so that they will eat within certain prescribed limits. In order to do this, the field needs a shifting fence, so that the hogs can be driven from one section to another - never letting the hogs eat too closely, as they will kill off the stand.
Size of a Silo.
I am planning to build a silo 8 feet high and 10 feet across. Will ensilage (corn, oats) keep well in a silo of those dimensions?
The silo you are intending to build is too shallow, and would hold only a very small amount of silage. There would be several inches loss of silage before you could start feeding, and you would have to feed at least two and probably three inches off per day in order to keep the food from spoiling. Sixty inches of silage would thus only last about twenty days. Also, the deeper a silo is, the tighter the ensilage is packed and the more will be contained in a cubic foot. The following table will give suggestions as to dimensions:
A cow can consume four tons of silage in 180 days and more or less as you care to feed, so by figuring out how long you will probably feed, you can see the size of silo to build at once.
Soiling Crops in California.
What are the dates for planting crops to be used for soiling in your State?
We are using Indian corn and sorghums of various kinds for soiling to a certain extent. There is also some cutting and carrying of alfalfa, although most of the alfalfa is pastured. Dates of planting depend upon the frost-free period; sometimes beginning in April, and successive planting for later growth as water may be available for irrigation. There are places where one can see standing corn and sorghum untouched by frost as late as December 1. In other locations the growth of these plants have to be made between May and September. We have also winter-soiling practiced to a small extent in this State and for that purpose rye and barley sown at the beginning of the rainy season are used to some extent.
Brewer's Grains for Cows.
Are sprouted barley grains that may be had from breweries good for milch cows? Will it increase the milk, or will it dry up the cows?
Professor Henry, in his standard work on "Feeds and Feedings," says: "Fresh brewer's grains constitute one of the best feeds for the dairy cow. She is fond of them and they influence most favorably the flow of milk. Fed while fresh in reasonable quantities, supplemented by bright hay or corn fodder for dry feed, the grains being kept in tight feed-boxes which can be kept clean, and with other conditions favorable to the healthfulness of the cow, no valid objection can be raised against this form of feed. From 20 to 30 pounds of wet grains should constitute a day's allowance."
What is the proper way to feed pumpkins to cows? Some say to cut them in halves; while others say they must be chopped fine enough so that the cows cannot choke on them. Some tell me the seeds tend to dry the cows up, and should not be fed with pumpkins.
Pumpkins should be either cut in halves or broken in large fragments so that the stock can get a bite at them or else should be chopped fine, and we could never see the advantage of going to that trouble. Cutting into medium-sized pieces is dangerous because of the temptation to swallow them whole and thus getting choked. It is not necessary to remove the seeds.
Feeding a Family Cow.
What shall I feed family Jersey cow in addition to alfalfa hay to insure a good supply of milk?
One of the best things to feed in addition to alfalfa hay is a couple of quarts of middling or bran twice a day, with which is mixed a cup of molasses with enough water to make a nice paste. Dried beet pulp is exceptionally good with alfalfa, if it is available, this also to be moistened before feeding.
Rolled Barley for Cows.
Will rolled barley hurt milk cows, say two light feeds a day? Will it not do about as much good as the same amount of bran?
Certainly not and otherwise will be good if not used in excess to encourage fattening. Bran is a better feed for milk because it has a higher protein content.
Horse Beans and Pie-melons.
Would it pay me to raise horse beans for fattening hogs? Horse beans do well. Would citrons do well there without irrigation, and would they be better than stock-beets for hog feed?
We do not promise anyone that anything will pay. Horsebeans are good with other feeds for hogs. Theoretically, they will balance well with pie-melons and beets, and both the latter will produce well on good land with proper cultivation in the valley you mention. Theoretically, also, we would rather have beets than pie-melons. The hogs will tell you the rest.
Are "horse beans" a leguminous crop and how does their feeding value for hogs compare to cowpeas and Canadian field peas?
They surely are legumes, and they resemble so closely in composition the other legumes which you mention that their feeding value would be practically the same.
Storing Stock Beets.
What is the best method of storing stock beets and stock carrots in this climate? We can let them remain in the ground and grow until February or March and would like to preserve them for feeding as long as possible.
Stock beets and carrots can be stored in California without recourse to covering with ground or use of a cellar. They keep very well during the winter if piled under cover in such a way as to keep cool and dry.
Kale for Cow Feed.
What is kale worth for cow feed as compared with alfalfa, also can it be cut and cured the same as alfalfa and what variety is the best?
Kale is very similar to cabbage in growth, and for feeding purposes. For cow feed it would have about three-fourths the amount of digestible nutrients as green alfalfa, but would have an added value on account of its succulency. It would go especially well with alfalfa hay. The Jersey or Thousand-Headed kale is considered the standard for stock or poultry feed. It is always fed fresh and is not made into hay.
What Kind of Beet for Stock?
Which would be most valuable to plant on river-bottom land for cattle and hog feed, sugar beets or mangels?
Grow a large stock of beet by all means - either a mangel or a tankard. Usually you will get more weight than with sugar beets; the cost of harvesting is far less, and the nutritive contents high enough.
What is the best way of storing pumpkins, under ordinary farm conditions, in a climate such as we have here in northern California? I have no facilities for cold storage.
All you have to do in this climate to keep pumpkins is to keep them out of reach of the stock. They do not need storage of any kind, but will keep in good condition during the late autumn and winter months in any open-air place where they may be convenient for feeding purposes. In parts of California where there is hard ground freezing, protection must be given by covering with boards or straw or any other material available. We have no need for root cellars or cold storage, for our winter temperatures are neither high nor low enough to hurt them.
Grape Pomace as Hog Feed.
What is the value of grape pomace as a hog feed?
It has been sold for 50 cents a ton as it comes from the press at the winery and when a person has not got any surplus of other feeds, it is evidently worth that and then some. The only way to feed it is to put it up in a big pile and let the hogs take it as they want it. It will help keep them growing through the winter provided they have other feed with it that might not be sufficient without the pomace.
Proper Feeding of Young Pigs.
If I put two 50-pound shoats to an acre of barley that will yield 10 or 12 sacks of grain, how many months could they be kept there to advantage, and what gain could I expect them to make in that time?
If the pigs have been properly fed and were of good stock, they should have attained a weight of 50 pounds at three or four months of age. Pigs in this condition would be more likely to lose than gain turned on a dry barley field, even if the yield were double what you state. Barley is an excellent fattener for mature hogs, but is a poor food for young growing pigs. Young pigs should have a balanced ration, which may be defined as a little of almost all kinds of feed and not all of any one kind. We have pigs running on a barley field such as you describe, and in addition to the barley we feed them once a day a slop composed of wheat middling and bran in equal parts by measurement, to which we add about 8 per cent tankage, and they seem to be moving along nicely. Without the slop we don't think they would hold their own. - Chas. Goodman.
Pie-melons and Pigs.
I have 14 sows which were fed almost entirely on pie-melons and milk, not much of the latter. Out of the 14, only 3 sows have saved any pigs; the rest lost all the young they had. Four or five sows that for the last three weeks have had no melons, nothing but green grass and a little whole barley each day, are saving their pigs all right.
Pie-melons are poor feed and pigs which are not given anything better ought to fail. "Green grass and a little whole barley" is much better feed than pie-melons. Pie-melons are useful fed with alfalfa hay or some richer food.
Wheat or Barley for Hogs.
Which would be the better grain for me to buy for hog feed; wheat at $1.30 per hundred, or barley at $1? Would it be worth paying 10 cents a hundred for rolling, and then haul the grain 8 miles by wagon?
Wheat is only considered about 10 per cent more valuable as a hog feed than barley, so that in your case, barley at $1 is the cheaper. In Bulletin 80 of the Oregon Station it was found that crushed wheat was 29 per cent more efficient than the whole grain, and it is safe to say that barley will run about the same, enough so at any rate to pay the extra 10 cents a hundred for crushing and the hauling.
Grain and Pasture for Pigs.
What is the most profitable amount of grain to feed to spring pigs while on alfalfa pasture, from the time of weaning to the time of marketing?
We doubt the profit of feeding whole grain to hogs of any age while on green pasture. On almost all kinds of land they will get enough grit to keep their teeth sore, hence they will not masticate the grain thoroughly. Perfect mastication is very essential. We would feed the pigs all the slop that they would clean up good twice a day. The slop to be composed of equal parts of corn, barley meal ground fine, and wheat middlings mixed with milk. There is nothing in all the world like milk for growing pigs. If milk is not to be had, we would add from 5 to 10 per cent meat meal, which we consider next to milk. If whole grain is to be used, it should be thoroughly cooked on account of the pigs' teeth not being in condition to chew the hard grain. - Chas. Goodman.
Growing Pigs on Roots and Barley.
We can raise all kinds of root crops, such as carrots, sugar beets, rutabagas, etc., and cow peas and pumpkins do wonderfully well. Will hogs do well an that kind of diet, especially if given a little barley with it?
The plants that you mention are good for hog feeding and can be used to advantage with a little barley as you suggest. None of these plants are, however, rich in protein as alfalfa and the other clovers are. The reason why we get such a rapid and satisfactory growth of young hogs in California is due to the fact that they are largely kept on alfalfa and rapid growth is the product of a sufficient protein content in the fodder. Both common field peas and cowpeas do not possess this element, and if you can grow them they will serve as a substitute for the other legumes, such as alfalfa. If you are feeding skim-milk, which is rich in protein, roots and grain will go well with that.
Wheat and Barley for Feeding.
What is the difference in the feeding value of wheat and barley for hogs and horses?
There is very little difference in the chemical composition of wheat and barley. In their physical condition there is much difference, chiefly because of the adhering chaff of the barley, which makes it more digestible because it separates the starchy mass and enables the gastric juice to work upon the particles more readily and quickly. Oats also have this character. This is very important in the case of horses, which can quickly be put out of condition by feeding wheat. For hogs and chickens it makes much less difference, and the absence of the chaff gives a greater amount of nutritive matter to the ton, so that wheat is worth more at the same ton price. But look out about giving horses too much wheat.