We had planned to have her in the freezer before we ran out of feed which we knew was inevitable due to the lack of rain. We also knew that because of the severe drought affecting much of Queensland buying feed would be very expensive (between $16 and $22 per week). At that sort of cost it basically ruins any saving we might have made from raising our own meat.
So for the past 6 weeks we have been cutting grass from the roadside to feed to our cow. We feed her 2 wheel barrows of grass a day and she has not lost any weight/muscle mass by the looks of things.
|Setting off to cut grass|
|Hubby does the whipper snipping and I do the rake up|
We cut a few days of grass at a time and store it in the neighbours open ended shed. We have finished the grass on the roadside nearby and are now going around our neighbours shed.
|Freezer 2 comes running when she sees the wheel barrow|
The grass is not great but she picks through it and eats most of it. You can see in the photo below that she is not at all interested in what is outside that gate when there is a pile of grass to eat.
We have a row of trees in our front paddock where she is at the moment and for a while now I have been picking up all the fallen branches and piling them around the base of each tree. To this I add dried cow pats and now that we have been cutting this grass for Freezer 2, we are also adding any leftover grass she does not eat. I am building a sort of Hugelkultur which is something often used in permaculture to build soil and it helps to deter the cows from wearing down the soil around the base of the trees and stops them rubbing on the trunks. Cutting all this grass made me realise that if you are creative there are sources of free organic matter all around us we just need to go out and find them.
We now have a new butcher who is happy to kill our cow in September so we only need to keep feeding Freezer 2 for a few more weeks.
Thankfully we have just had some good rain (34 mm) and the weather is warming up so we should even get a bit of growth to help things along but I think we will still be cutting grass until she is in the freezer and that possibly means trekking 500 metres up the road and back with the wheel barrow a few times, but free is free right.
What frugal methods have you used to feed your animals?