A magician is never supposed to reveal their secrets... Such matters are meant to be kept heavily cloaked in mystery and wonder... Only they, are supposed to know the answers...
But seriously, where's the fun in that!? ;)
I'll stop being weird now.
I love getting to talk with other people who are of like mind, and gleaning new ideas and techniques from them. So many times, I have caught myself thinking, "Duh! Why didn't I think of that?" when someone shares something new with me.
So, I thought I might share a few of my "deep, dark secrets to success" [wink], with y'all...
My number one, top secret item that I absolutely could not live without is.... apple cider vinegar!
I'm not kidding! I put 1/2 cup of the raw, unfiltered stuff in my animals water bucket (holds 5 gallons), and it gives them a beautiful sheen, boosts their immunity, helps keeps the flies at bay (doesn't completely deter them, but it does help), and causes your animals to have female babies. I know, that last one sounds weird, but it's true! I always increase the ACV amount in their water right before breeding season, and voila! you have about a 90% chance of getting female offspring. :) I put it in my chickens water as well, for all the above mentioned reasons, and I've heard that it too will increase the chance of getting pullets instead of cockerels in your hatch, but I have yet to try this.
If you want male offspring, then start giving your girls alkaline foods two weeks before breeding. A lot of goat owners end up with an amazing amount of bucklings each year because their goats have baking soda available year around. Very alkaline.
To give your chicks a really good head start in life, give them mashed up hard-boiled eggs, complete with crushed egg shells (I do 3 eggs for every 50 birds) once a day for a few days. I usually leave the mashed eggs in the brooder for 20 minutes before removing it.
Chopped up raisins give excellent results when given to chicks too. They're a pain to chop, but it's oh, so worth it! I don't know what it is about raisins, but they really seem to boost the health and vitality of those teeny chickies. Chopped up onions and parsley are also super good for chicks. Again, only leave these extra tidbits out for maybe 20-30 minutes each day; otherwise the chicks may get too full on them, but not receive the protein they need.
Put 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in each quart of water for your chicks. I have never had a single case of "pasty bum" with my chicks when they were on the ACV. A wee bit of raw milk is also really beneficial to the little guys. :)
The following recipe is great to use for pregnant livestock. Start feeding one month before their due date.
2 Tablespoons Raspberry leaf
1 Tablespoon Thyme
1 Tablespoon Chamomile
1 Tablespoon Peppermint leaves
This is one dose. You can easily change the recipe to "parts" (e.g. 2 parts raspberry, 1 part thyme, etc.) to make bigger batches, and then feed 1/4 cup a day.
If you are going to be bottle feeding any animal, put Slippery Elm powder in the milk at each feeding! This will prevent scours entirely, as well as being a good bone and muscle producer. I started out, putting 1 teaspoon in Poppy's milk when she was on the bottle (each feeding was 1/2 gallon), and then gradually worked up to 1 Tablespoon. I had to switch milks a lot with Poppy; sometimes she was on goat milk, sometimes cow milk, sometimes milk replacer! But she never once scoured, since I put the Slippery Elm in there. For goat kids or lambs, I would stay at 1 teaspoon per feeding. Calves, foals or other large animals can have 1 Tablespoon.
Pine tree branches are an excellent hay substitute if you suddenly find yourself out of hay. I don't know if horses will eat them, but I do know that my goats and cow love them!
Apple cider vinegar will cure hoof rot in record time. Spray it undiluted on the affected area twice a day until the animal has recovered.
Keeping your future dairy animals on the bottle, or on the mother, until they are 5-6 months will make them less reliant on grain in order to produce milk when they are older. It's my secret to building a "grass-based" herd of dairy goats!
Quoting Dr. Seuss helps calm down fidgety animals. ;)
I use freezer bags filled with frozen water to chill milk quicker. It's like having giant ice cubes! By putting my milk in a pot full of ice cold water, with the freezer bags, and then keeping it in the fridge, we get our milk chilled in about 20 minutes.
Having 6 goats, 75 chickens, 1 cow, 2 ducks and three gardens makes you sleep really good at night. ;)
What are some of your favorite tips and tricks?