Thursday, September 5, 2013

This has been my week for going to town.

I think I've been in every day.  I ought to just move in and get a trailer in there. Driving back and forth isn't cheap.

At least today's trip was more pleasant than going to the dump yesterday.  I went in to the feed store, and got some scratch and cracked corn. 

Scratch was $12.37 a 50 pound bag.  I don't feed as much scratch as I do cracked corn, because scratch is more expensive. It has different seeds and other things in it the chickens like, but raising chickens who are gourmands of fine chicken cuisine is not on my list of priorities.

Cracked corn is just that,  kernals of corn that have been busted up by a mill. I have a good hand mill and I have, on occasion,  made my own cracked corn when I got dried corn in one way or other.  It's a lot of trouble to shuck the corn and then get the kernals off the cob, though. Milling it by hand is a good workout but not if you have arthritis in your wrists. So the only way I'd ever make my own cracked corn is if I didn't have any choice. Fortunately, everybody and their dog has a plot of corn up here and it is not hard to come by, either through trade or purchase.

You can buy dog food and cat food at the feed store but it is pretty nasty stuff. Mainly it's for people who keep hunting dogs. They mix a can of wet dog food with the dry stuff, or they pour bacon grease or table scraps in with it. That makes it more palatable.

I don't just feed my dogs "dog food."  They get lots of scraps. I also give them all the ham bones from the soup we make, and they get large beef bones from town. The butcher at the grocery store has started putting out "soup bones" which everybody buys for their dogs.  

Right now I just have two dogs so I buy Old Roy at Walmart.  You can get 50 pounds for $20.00 of the plain dry food, and my dogs like it well enough. I also buy the Old Roy copy of Kibbles and Bits, which is more expensive but the dogs like it a lot.  I give them that ever so often, mixed in with hog jowls , as a special treat.  I can also get the fat trimmings from bacon , and that's good for their coats so  I mix that in  too, especially in winter when they need more calories.

The cats eat whatever is cheapest.  Right now it's Kit and Kaboodles,  which is $10.00 for 16 pounds. One sack lasts 3 days.  Yes, I spend a lot of money on the cats, but they eat a lot.  I think we have about 15 cats outside now.  They serve a purpose, keeping down rodents in the barn and killing snakes.

I don't mind feeding them if they work, and they do.  I admit I could do with a few less, but most of them are feral so there isn't much I can do about it.  If they are sick I can usually give them medicine, but that's about as close as they will let me get.

Right now I'm not buying goat chow or horse feed, which is nice.  My ferrets have an elaborate diet , but I've talked about that before. They are not really working animals, but my pals who keep me company up here.  I don't mind spending a little extra to get them the foods they like.

While I was in town I got two boxes of Federal .45 ACP, which was a nice surprise.

Cost $21.27 a box plus 7% Tyrants Tax.   Not bad.  If  I ordered the same ammo from any of the on line dealers I buy from, I'd have paid up to twice as much and still had to pay for shipping.
You have to feed your baby!

Stopped by McDonalds since I am still angry with the people at the restaurant I used to eat at .  I wanted one of those hamburgers with french fries on it that I've been seeing on the television, but they said they decided not to offer that. They did have a cheddar and onion hamburger for a buck that was really good.

All in all, a pretty good day.  So far.


  1. "they pour bacon grease or table scraps in with it. That makes it more palatable"

    Bacon grease makes EVERYTHING better :)

    And don't feel guilty about spoiling your chickens with the Scratch. We will actually buy watermelon's once in a while (when they're on sale) and cut them up for our girls... crazy extravagant for chickens, but they love it so much its hard to resist doing it :)

    1. I'd noticed that when I had a water melon the chickens swarm around and eat what falls to the ground. They'll also eat apple cores and banana peals, now that I think about it.

      Bacon grease does make everything better. Fried eggs, hash browns, tater tots, just everything you fry is better when it's fried in grease. Of course, that's why the South has the highest rate of strokes in the country I guess, but that doesn't stop anybody.

  2. harry i took a dozen ears of corn that was almost as hard as baged and toseed it to our yard chickens they had no trouble with whole kernel.

    1. Gary, they can eat whole kernels but some of mine have trouble digesting them, even with their gizzards going full tilt. I usually bust it up in the grain mill if I have to go that route. Same thing with red wheat kernals. The chickens will eat them but if they are not busted up a lot of it doesn't digest. I have wondered if it is because my chickens are the English fighting chicken breed, which means smaller than the chickens bred for meat and eggs. I got three hens and two roosters in 1999 and now I am covered up with chickens.

  3. Only the outside dog gets table scraps and only because I give em to him. He gets special treatment from me the inside dogs well their diet is watched closely thank the lord we are down to only two inside smaller dogs. All dogs are strays that showed up.

    Now the cats. We are up to 16 now. Two inside neutered males and two go wherever they want spayed females. Another five or six spayed females that inhabit various outbuildings and then the rest are barn cats. In 2009 there was one barn cat on this entire place if that tells you anything. They just keep showing up, all strays and mostly already fixed but we had two litters this Spring. We are now building a special kennel/detached garage for the cats. Insanity.

    We did manage to find homes for five kittens this year but ended up keeping four anyway because they got too big or were too wild.

    A 20 pound bag of cat food last us maybe a week and we now have two cats that are on special food because they kept getting crystals in their urine.

    Two cats have adopted me as their own personal servant and although they are proud of themselves when they bring me dead rodents and lizards (Which they place on my foot) they also have determined it is their job to follow me around and make sure I do everything to specification. It is also my job to be available to open the door when they wish to come and go. I call these two my supervisors as they will even ride on the tractor with me to make sure I do everything right.

    Oh well they all will add flavor to the stew pot when it hit's the fan :)

    1. Sounds like your cats are a lot more friendly than mine. Mind don't really want anything to do with me, and mostly live in the barn. This year we had a really bad virus come round about the time the Queens had their litters and although I worked like a slave taking care of them, and doctoring them, and cleaning them up they all died. Only one kitten survived and she is in my shop so the virus didn't get to her. I even lost some of my older cats.

      Cats are a good thing in the woods. I'm sure I would have been snake bit more than I have been if I hadn't had cats.

      I don't have any indoor dogs, just big outdoor dogs. All of mine have been strays over the years, I never bought a dog either.

    2. Ya all the cats are super friendly except three kittens from a litter we did not discover until they were several weeks old. Those three will never be really tamed but the wife can actually pick them up at times now. The other ones well they have all obviously been inside pets that were dumped so they are just begging for attention.

  4. Harry,
    If you love your dogs, please don't feed them Ol Roy. Dogs fed that do not live as long. Plus, some dogs are allergic to corn. They get something that is or looks like mange with lots of hot spots. I would not be fond of buying more expensive dog food, but if I ever have a dog, it will have a raw food diet except for the cooked vegetables.

    I even cook oatmeal for my hens because they prefer it that way. lol.

    A Poultry Science PhD said that the reason chickens need meds is the corn in their feed. Of course, you don't have 100,000 chickens so you are probably not going to need meds for your hens. My hens get the occasional corn I can scrounge from a field once a year or they get ears sold for human consumption. They also get canned whole kernel corn.

    I never thought about lots of cats keeping the snake population down. If I ever move to the woods, I will keep that in mind.

    I have a friend who has seen hundreds of cats outside his home. He lives on a highway and people drop them off. They breed and hide in some sort of impenetrable brush, so no one can get to them. And, it is illegal to shoot where he is. Otherwise, he would have tried to clear the place of cats.

    1. I only go in fields after the corn has been harvested and get ears on the ground. I go around and get pumpkins leftover from Thanksgiving and Halloween decorations, ones that have not been cut. My two hens love love love them. I put a whole pumpkin in the yard outside my window where I could watch. They spent a lot of time pecking their way into the pumpkin. When I put a pumpkin in their pen, I usually cut it open. I give them watermelon to the watermelon and watch them go wild, pecking seeds, standing in the watermelon.

    2. Parsimony,
      I've been feeding my dogs Old Roy since I moved up here, and aside from those who vanished in the woods they all live to a good, ripe old age for dogs. Did you read something somewhere on the Old Roy that I could take a look at? I called my vet this morning and she is not aware of any issues with Old Roy. However, it is always possible that you saw something she missed, so if you can tell me why you feel that way I would appreciate it.

      Cracked corn and scratch seem to make for a good chicken diet. Mine will eat anything, they are free range and I've seen them eat animal carcasses they find, including dead chickens, snakes, and when I had goats they delighted to eat the goat poop for reasons I can't understand myself.

  5. I feed my dog's Ol' Roy as well, the Meaty Chunks and Gravy. My 1st dog lived 12 years on that, plus the occasional table scraps so I think he did pretty well. Our 2nd dog is doing just fine on it as well. We live in town and Wal-Mart is approximately a mile away - convenient.

    Hay is $8 a 40 lb bale. We have two cows and due to drought, have to feed them 1 a day. Ouch! They save us a large commercial property tax bill by maintaining the ag use - rain why don't you dang it!

    1. I used to have to buy hay when we had horses. I'm glad I don't have to anymore. They could go through it in a hurry.

      I'm not aware of any issues with Old Roy but perhaps Parsimony can give me a reference I can check. If the stuff came from China I'd not buy it, but it's made in the U.S. and I've never heard any complaints about it until now.

  6. Harry, this is a grain crusher I use for beer and should work for feed.
    What I like is you can attach a 3/8 drill and crush five pounds of grain in less than a minute. It also comes with a nice handle for those without power. If you are using a small grinder for your whole grains to bake bread I think running it though this crusher first would make the fine grind of grains much easier.

  7. MAISR,

    Nice rig. I have one I bought from Walden Feeds. It has the wheel for putting a fan belt on it and hooking it up to a bike or a motor of some kind. I really need to do that now that it has gotten so hard to use the hand crank. I don't think mine is set up for a hand drill, that's a darn nice feature.