On goats and grain

So, I have been doing a lot of reading about grain. A lot. Tonnes. Literally. What I have learned is that um… there’s a lot of information out there and most of it’s contradictory.

Tell me you don’t love this picture. It’s from
http://www.babygoatfarm.com/Feeding_Goats.htm
by way of google. You should go and see the rest of their cute pics.

The first thing I’m realizing is that grain isn’t really needed if you have good forage; some would even say for late pregnancy and babies. Some would say that it’s always needed. Some would say that it’s needed as an economic balm against (for?) the rising cost of hay. Some would say you must mix your own grain, others would say the average goatherd is too much of a novice to know what their goats need and must rely on premixed. Some would still say they don’t need grain.

So, here’s what I think. First of all, I’m a grain feedeer. Not all year ’round but I have been feeding in winter and I will when the girls are in milk and babies are wee. So, you know you’re getting a “pro-grain” position here. At least I’m pro-grain for my animals, your mileage may vary.

First of all, I’m consistent on feeding grain three times per day (yep, three). Once in the morning, once in the early evening (the goats have tea time as well), and once right before bed. I figure that if the grain stokes the fire of the rumen, better to stoke it thrice on cold days. And because you don’t want to be feeding sometimes and not others (it’s hard on the goat’s tummy), I would rather have the hassle of giving little bits, three times per day. I adjust the amount I give per feeding based on the weather; the amount varying with the temperature.¬†We have dramatic temperature shifts here all winter. The worst is when it’s warm and sunny – or cold and sunny but not windy and then it warms way up above freezing with a torrential rain and then, a few hours later, plummets a zillion degrees to coat the world in ice.

Second of all, I do work with a local grain farmer to make my own mix. Maybe I don’t know as much as my grain guy but one of the arguments against mixing your own is that you don’t know what’s needed for your area. Um… so I don’t but Purinea does? Seems unlikely.

So, I guess where I stand (given that I need to get supper made and this post is already a week late) is simply -do what you think is best. I can’t imagine that a huge company, not based in my area, knows what my goats need. But, if you aren’t lucky enough to be in an area with mine and have other goatherds and a grain guy to consult with, you might want to buy a commercial mix. As always, give it some thought and make the call.

Yes please. I will have grain but I won't stay still for the picture.

Yes please. I will have grain but I won’t stay still for the picture.

A dodgey business

So, I had some other thoughts I wanted to post about today (like my first loaf of totally sourdough – no commercial yeast – bread) but, while looking for some recipes I stumbled across something that could best be described as, well, dodgey.

So, here I am looking for a yummy recipe and as I have some ideas of what I’d like to use up, I put them in google. As an example:

carrot, apple, berry, yogurt, muffin recipe

And of course, google gifted me with a bunch of options. So, I’m cruising through the recipe options, drooling as I go and realizing I’m in danger of spending more time reading blogs and recipes than actually baking, when I realize something. I quickly switch back and forth between a few pages… yep… I really am seeing what I think I’m seeing. Roughly the same recipe which on two pages are attributed to another page (the same one, in fact) but the third page isn’t attributed to anything. Curious. So, I go to the page referenced by the other pages. Strange. Did that page, a very well known cooking site that I suspect is the primary source of income for the owner, steal from this other homesteady page which is also selling ad space and clearly trying to generate revenue? I start checking dates. Nope, the attributed page is from two years ago where the other page is from this summer. Well, it happens that we write down a recipe and think it’s ours, I guess. But then I realize the write up is the exact same on both pages which is really odd because it’s all about fresh fruit and climate but the original (which is now clearly the original) is from the UK and the other one is from the Southern USA.

Now as I said, it would be easy to jot down a recipe and forget it’s home – you could easily be forgiven for thinking you’d invented it. But copying the whole page of text that goes along with it? That’s a dodgey business. Even dodgier when you start looking at the other recipes and realizing they’re also ripped. Rather than give that site more traffic, I just stopped looking.

It just seemed odd to me – especially as this was a “whole foods, live honestly, back to the land” kind of site. I guess people like that can be a bit (seemingly) dishonest but it just seemed strangely incongruent.

As for the bread? It’s not very pretty, not like this loaf:

250px-Sourdough_miche_&_boule

(ripped from Wikipedia)

but it was all naturally leavened and did rise. It is cooling right by me and I can smell the tang of the sourdough. I hope it’s delicious.

I’ve got my next batch of start underway and hope to do a better job with photos so I can report on it. I have learned a tonne about fermenting lately and can’t wait to share that information.