What Do Farm Animals Eat?

 Quin and Xander love to visit the farm. There are always animals for them to play with, and things for them to do. They like exploring to see what is new, they like helping to feed the animals, and they like to pet any animal that will let them.

Ronnie, our turkey hen, is so friendly!
Quin and Xander love her.
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Look where I found a bunch of eggs!
The new chickens are sneaky and were hiding their eggs in the hay shed.
I hope they keep laying through the winter.
Most chickens don’t lay eggs unless there are at least 14 hours of daylight.

Here is a special calendar that shows when the sun rises, when the sun sets,
and how much daylight there is each day in November.

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Are you excited for Thanksgiving vacation next week?

Since you are thinking about all the yummy food you will be eating next week I thought it would be interesting for you to see what types of food the animals on our farm eat.

Your teacher has small baggies with the different kinds of food we feed the animals. You can see and smell the food as you look at the photos.
Nutrition is a big word. It means the way animals, plants, and humans take nutrients from food and use them for energy and growth.
If animals, plants, and humans (that’s you!) have food that is good for them they grow strong and are healthy. They are able to perform well. That means they are able to do what they were meant to do. 
A milk goat that is given the right nutrition (food, vitamins, and minerals) is healthy and strong. She can give between 1/2 – 1 gallon of milk each time I milk her.
A calf that is given the right nutrition is healthy and can grow into a big, strong steer or milk cow. 
Chicks that are given the right nutrition are healthy and can grow into hens that will produce eggs. 
Chickens that are given the right nutrition are healthy and can produce eggs for our family.
Dogs that are healthy can run and play and learn new tricks. They have energy and can help us with the animals on the farm. 
Animals that have the right amount of food and water can stay warm in the winter.
Children that eat the right foods are usually healthy and grow properly. They can learn and do well in school. They can run and play at recess. Now you know why your mother tells you that you need to eat fruits and vegetables every day. That’s why she tells you not to eat too many sweets.
People eat different foods to get proper nutrition and stay healthy. Animals need to eat the same things every day to get the proper nutrition and stay healthy. They don’t need to eat different foods every day. Most animals will get sick if you change their food every day.

You will have many different types of food for Thanksgiving Dinner. The animals on our farm will have the same food they eat every day.

That may sound boring to you, but it is what is best for the animals. We like to do what will keep our animals healthy and strong!
This is cat food. 
You might know what cat food looks like if you have a cat. 
Cats need to have the same food every day or they may get sick.
This is dog food.
Some dogs eat too much food and get too fat! They are not healthy if they are fat.
Our dogs get fed about 1 cup of food for breakfast and 1 cup of food for dinner.
That is all they need to stay strong and healthy, so that is all they get.
This is called a ‘grain blend.’ 
If you look closely you can see different types of grain and some pellets in the food.
This is what we feed to the milk goats and Echo, and Miss E.
We never feed this type of feed to the bucks (boy goats). It isn’t good for them.
We can feed a little bit of this to the chickens, ducks, and turkeys.
This is wild bird food. 
We have bird feeders on our farm. 
These are alfalfa pellets. 
They are made from alfalfa hay. We feed a little bit of this to the milk goats, Chuck, and Echo. We don’t feed them very much of this because we also feed them hay. 
We don’t feed this to the bucks (boy goats).
These are Timothy hay pellets. This is what we feed to the bucks!
They don’t get very much of this because we also give them hay.
This is called “Calf Manna.”
If you guessed that we give this to calves, you are right!
We give it to any animal that needs more protein.
You probably eat meat and beans for protein. Protein helps you grow properly. 

Our animals don’t eat meat but they need protein just like you do.
We feed Calf Manna to the milk goats and Echo.
Milk goats need protein and fat to make milk.

These are called lay pellets.
We feed them to the chickens and the turkeys. Lay pellets have protein, too!
Chickens need protein to stay warm and to make eggs.
Some people like to feed chickens ‘mash.’ It is made up of the same things that pellets are made of, but it looks like corn meal. It looks like the chick starter in the next photo, too.

We like pellets because it doesn’t get wasted like the mash does. Chickens can make a mess. If their food is small it can get lost in the dirt when they peck it out of their feeder. Then it’s wasted!
This is chick starter. 
It has the right nutrition for chicks to grow into chickens.
It also is small enough for the chicks to eat.
They can’t eat pellets like adult chickens can because their beaks aren’t big enough yet.
This is oat hay and alfalfa hay.
We feed this to the milk goats, the bucks, and Echo. 
These animals also eat grass in the pasture.
In the winter there isn’t any good grass on the pasture so we make sure they have
plenty of hay to eat.
Can you see the seeds in the hay? Those are oat seeds!

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Everyday we move Midnight’s food because the chicken and the neighbor’s kittens eat it.
Today we put it on the top of the hay stack.

Miss E is still drinking a bottle every morning.
Her bottle doesn’t look very big when I’m letting her drink from it.

This is Quin when he was 4 years old.
He’s holding a calf bottle.
When you see a little kid holding a calf bottle, you can see how big it is!
Here’s another photo of a calf bottle on the right.
A calf bottle holds 1/2 gallon of milk.
That’s the same amount of milk that’s in the middle container.
 The gallon container on the left is the same size container that
you probably find in your fridge.
That container holds a whole gallon.

Can you imagine drinking an entire half-gallon of milk in about 3 minutes? Whoa! That’s a lot of milk! Miss E drinks that much milk every morning for breakfast.

She also eats hay, pellets, and grain during the day. All that good food helps her to grow big and strong, and stay healthy and warm through the winter.
Next week I will show you what the animal feeders look like. We have a hanging feeder for the chickens. The chicks have a special feeder for their food. The goats eat their hay out of a special feeder, so do the cows.
When you eat Thanksgiving Dinner this week look at the different types of dishes and bowls that the food is served in. Each dish is made to hold a different type of food. Bowls hold soup and liquids. Different size plates hold different types of foods.
Animals have feeders that hold their food just like you have bowls and dishes to hold your food!

I’m sure there are a lot of things you can do to be nice and helpful as your family gets ready for Thanksgiving Dinner. 

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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