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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thoughts on economizing on feeds & supplements...



These are interesting times financially.  The prices of many items are going up, including feeds, hay & supplements.  I hear and observe people saving money by cutting back on grains and/or supplements, switching to bargain brands, feeding less than the recommended amounts, etc.

I would offer the thought that this may be penny wise and pound foolish, as the old saying goes.  

The folks producing those supplements, grain and hay are likely thinking those same thoughts about economizing, and switching to less expensive fertilizers (or none), using least-cost formulas with lower-quality grains, using less expensive and less absorbable forms of the minerals & vitamins in the supplements.   So, as we cut back on our goat's nutrition to save money, are we creating longer-term issues with mineral deficiencies, lowered immune systems, slower growth, lower conception and kidding rates?  Will we end up having to deworm more often because the goats are unable to fight the parasites off by themselves?  Will we end up with vet bills or lost animals due to various health issues that a solid immune system could have prevented?

I personally feed a very high-quality supplement program.  I do it to have the healthiest goats possible that can fight off what nature throws at them without medical intervention.  I also do this so the parents are passing on this higher vitality and mineral reserves to their offspring.

Here are some possible ways to save money while still maintaining optimum health for the herd:

Ø I skip one day a week on the supplements.  This allows the body to flush any extra and saves me about 13%.

Ø I use the free choice vitamin/mineral mix year round, and add the high-potency supplements prior to the start of breeding and during pregnancy.

Ø If I had to really cut back, I would just give Dynamite Excel daily, either milled into their feed or hand-fed, and Dynamite DynaPro.  Both are fantastic digestion support. 

Ø I look for opportunities to buy wholesale.  Both of the supplement lines I use offer wholesale options.  I signed up and have saved at least 35% over retail.

A side note from Judy Sinner (senior Dynamite director and years of experience with animal feeds) "Another interesting note is that barley is now not only VERY expensive, but nearly impossible to find. So, as Jos (note - company VP) pointed out on a recent call with the Silver and Gold Directors, many companies who do "least cost" formulations are simply cutting out the barley, or cutting it to nearly undetectable levels but still showing it on the label, and using more oats and corn. So COB becomes CO. Problem is, oats are rather heating and stimulating, where barley is cooling and calming..."   With all the heat we have been experiencing, feeding a grain mix that heats/stimulates is probably not the healthiest for our animals.
 
Carrie
http://www.oakhillfaintinggoats.com/
 
You can find the Dynamite supplement line at www.dynamitemarketing.com/carrieeastman 

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