Monday, July 23, 2012


I like to save resources on the farm by reusing things or reducing waste. Here are some things I do:

I have two male goats who live outside in a pen all the time. They have two hay mangers and two nice dog houses to sleep in. I take any uneaten hay from the hay mangers daily and spread it in their dog houses for fresh bedding.

The male goats waste a lot of hay by pulling it out of the mangers and not eating it. Every week I rake this fairly clean hay up and put it in the chicken yard. The chickens love to dig through it for seeds and bugs. If I throw 1 cup of scratch grains on this hay, the chickens really tear into it!

My does go into the barn at night where they have individual hay mangers in their pens. My oldest doe and my youngest does are picky and won't always eat all of their hay each day. I take this clean hay out of their mangers and put it in the mangers of my two middle does. They will eat just about anything so they don't mind getting clean leftovers from the other goats.

Any spilled hay gets raked up in the barn and distributed in the goat pens for fresh bedding. This helps to keep the pens fresh and eliminates the need for me to buy hay or straw just for bedding.

My goats love fresh, clean water. After two days they will not drink any water if it is stale. I take this stale but clean water and use it to water the chickens and the lettuce plants by the barn. Any poopy water goes to water the flower pots and seedling trees.

When I rinse my water buckets out I always dump the rinse water on my flower pots. I never dump it on the ground.

All of my dirty goat bedding goes directly on the garden for mulch. This works great during the fall and spring to cover the empty space and renew the soil. During the summer I put the dirty bedding in the compost pile for later use as topsoil. The chicken manure goes in the compost pile.

My husband owns a wood chipper for his business. Any wood chips that people don't want, he brings home and puts in a big pile. I use these as a base for my goat pens and for covering muddy spots in the goat yard. I also use them for the chickens.

I unplug the electric fence at night. I bring the goats in the barn at night so no one is out on the pasture anyway.

When I prune the maple trees or raspberry bushes I give these cuttings to the goats. They love them! I also cut raspberry canes in the fall before the leaves fall off and bundle them for drying in the hay loft for the winter. The goats love to eat these when they are in labor and right after giving birth. It's a nice treat and raspberry is supposed to help with labor and delivery.

I rake all my maple leaves up in the fall and bag them for the winter. The goats love getting a few handfuls of these every few days as a treat. Just be sure that they are very dry before bagging so they don't mold during storage.

I never mow my lawn. I use portable electric netting fence to move the goat pasture all around. It takes only 20 minutes to move and I move it every 3 days to give the goats fresh forage and to keep the lawn cut short. The goats do a good job at cutting the grass and they fertilize as they go. I have gotten pretty creative with moving the fence so the goats get to all parts of the lawn.

My chickens get any melon rinds, corn cobs, leftover pasta and vegetables from the house. I compost the rest of the food waste. The goats get any stale cookies or crackers.

All cardboard and paper from the house go into the compost pile. It composts fairly well and is cheaper than paying a dump fee to dump it in someone else's hole in the ground. In the winter we use it to start fires in our two wood stoves to heat the house.

I use rolled up feed bags as insulation in the eaves of my hen house for the winter. The eaves are open for ventilation so I plug them with feed bags for the cold weather.

I use an old lid off of a large tote bin as a rain cover for my electric fence charger. It covers the charger and the power cord so they don't get wet. I also have a solar fence charger that I can move around for spots where the plug-in can't reach.

All of my milk that I don't need for my house goes into buckets for the neighbor's pigs. The neighbor's drop off buckets with lids once a week and I fill them up with goat milk. The pigs don't mind if the milk is a little fermented by the time they get it, they love it!!

That's some of the things that I do. How do you farmcycle?

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