Hairy Vetch and Home Grown Sunflowers

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by Anita Martin, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. Anita Martin

    Anita Martin Senior Member

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    (this might be an off-topic subject, sorry if I put it in the wrong place.) :/

    In the thread about management, I noticed that Vickie mentioned feeding homegrown sunflower seeds and vetch. I didn't want to hijack that thread as it had gotten quite long, but I got an order of hairy vetch and rye grass along with the innoculant from an organic producer here in va. I was going to plant it as a cover crop over my garden, which my neighbor promised to till for me, but never did. Anyway, I was wondering about the feed value of these. Darn, I wished I got gotten it planted sooner. I won't tether a goat, but I'm planning moveable kid pens, (to avoid cocci in contaminated pens) and was wondering if I could put the pens over a vetch and rye plot, or at least part of the plot as the kids got older and were eating solid food? I planted tons of sunflower seeds last spring, but unfortunately, my chickens loved the young sprouts and ate just about every one of them. How does one go about storing those heads? Can they be fed just picked, or should they be dried for a period of time first? I have enough land here to grow some of my own feeds, and sure would like to do that more than I am now.
    Anita
     
  2. Madfarmer

    Madfarmer New Member

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    Moveable kid pens: What I've used are cattle panels. Drive a few t-posts where you want them, stand the panels against the posts, secure them with about 3 plastic cable-ties/post. Easy to move & reassemble.

    Sunflowers: You might have to protect them from birds while they're repening. You can drape cheese-cloth over the flower heads.

    Hairy vetch: Some, not all of the vetches have some seed toxicity, so cut/graze it before it sets seed

    Tom
     

  3. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Mine came in a deer plot mix I broadcast over my pastures, with rye and wild bird seed. Over on homesteadingtoday.com in the rabbit section they have a really good start for you in how much protein etc...alot of weeds and stuff like vetch and rape have in it. Vicki
     
  4. homeacremom

    homeacremom New Member

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    When I have homegrown sunflower heads I hang them upside down in an airy place. I put a box under them because as they dry some seeds let loose and fall. It really is necessary- in my area- to hang the heads after harvest because laying them out on the floor they mold. Once the seeds are really dry (a couple months) they seem to keep fine in a bag or bin.
     
  5. Anita Martin

    Anita Martin Senior Member

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    I have the cattle panels and plenty of t-posts, just need to get a good portable shelter. I actually have one I need to modify just a bit and it should work just fine. It's a bit hard to move though and I need to add a floor something to keep the water out.

    I'm hoping to get the chickens out into the pasture full time so I can grow those sunflowers. They spend just enough time around the house to pluck those sprouts, and then they head back out to the pasture where they are supposed to be.

    I'm a member of homesteading today, just rarely get over there as my computer time is so limited but I do know they have lots of good info.

    I hadn't thought of broadcasting weed seeds. We have only been here for a year, and my pasture was mostly weeds, which the goats loved. We had tons of thistles and blackberries. It used to be a big cow pasture years ago and had not been used for anything for several years. The goats have cleaned it up well, and the grass we planted for the horses is growing in. I really don't want the thorny bushes out in the middle as the girls tend to get cuts and scratches on their udders, but some smooth weeds such as in bird seed would be great. (Maybe my horses wouldn't get so fat!)

    If I planted some of the vetch in the pasture, would the goats eat it before it went to seed, or should I just plant it in the garden and cut it before it seeds to feed?
    Thanks,
    Anita
     
  6. sammyd

    sammyd New Member

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    We planted a bunch of sunflowers a few years back. I cut the heads and a few inches of the stalk off, took a piece of twine and tied them on one above another and then ran the twine over a truss in the garage and tied it off. When I needed a head for the chickens or goats I just cut the twine above a head and hauled it away.
     
  7. Madfarmer

    Madfarmer New Member

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    If the goats have already cleaned out your thistles & briars, & you're rotating horses through the same pasture, it sounds like your stocking density is sufficient to keep things from getting overgrown. if you don't have mowing equipment, most places you can hire someone to mow reasonably.

    Tom
     
  8. Ashley

    Ashley Active Member

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    Could y'all find nutritional information on vetch, I couldn't seem to find anything real conclusive. I did find the seeds are considered poisonous.
     
  9. Madfarmer

    Madfarmer New Member

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    Vetch is a legume, so it's nutritional value will be in the range of the clovers. But if you want to know Total Digestible Nutrients, you have to consider the entire diet and know more math than I do. Vetch is widely used as a green manure crop, so it's nitrogen-fixing ability is known. You might want to Google "Peaceful Valley Farm Supply" for a wide variety of forage crop seed.

    Tom