But wait! We were planning on raising enough food for our goats, chickens, quail and rabbits.... in addition to us humans. Why not grow to feed our dogs too?
Here's what I'm coming up with (from research and looking over what we already plan to grow):
Eggs: As long as they don't see us cook them or mix them raw with their other food, they won't know the little oval-shape I pick up out from under chickens is what the dogs eat for dinner. And with 10 chickens (well, hopefully 8 hens and 2 roosters), and with breeding for more, we should have enough eggs for us humans, plus enough for the dogs to each get at least 1 or 2 or 4 a day (depending on dog size). I'm also thinking that when we have "extra" eggs, I'll crack and freeze, and when the hens slow down laying for Winter, I'll bring the frozen eggs out, thaw and feed. NOTE: I heard it's best to soft-boil eggs before feeding them to dogs or cats.
Whey: This is the "milk" leftover from making greek yogurt and cheese (from our goat milk). We'll add it to their dog bowls with other food. Good source of calcium. Might also include my cheese mistakes!
Grains: We're gonna grow corn for the other critters and us, so why not for the dogs too? Cracked corn. Sometimes, tho, a dog can present an allergy to corn so we'll experiment and modify as we get to know our dogs. And don't most dog foods contain rice? Of course, that doesn't mean it's a perfect dog food, but still... we can't grow it up here on the Ridge, but I do buy rice in bulk so that will work fine for them. Same with oats. We'll grow millet and amaranth but it's just for us humans and birds. Wheat is completely out (allergenic and we can't have it here for us!).
Potatoes: Cooked and probably mashed. Easy to grow.
Veggies/Fruits: Whatever we have (except for what's on the list below). Cooked or steamed or raw. All must be chopped finely so their tummies can digest them better. Should have tons on our homestead... especially apples, pears, carrots, peas, etc.
From time to time, we might butcher a quail or a too-loud rooster and give it to the dogs after plucking and cooking. Again, so they won't associate the bird they protect, with their dinner!
Key: no spices, chocolate, onions, chives, garlic, added salt, etc. that could mess them up. Just straight like we eat most of our food. Also avoid: beets, collard, eggplants, green peppers, parsley, tomatoes, spinach and Swiss chard.
1/3 Grain/Veggies/FruitsYes, this will be slightly more time consuming than just emptying a bag of dog food into three bowls, but it might save us money in the long run.
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Dinner last night: oriental lentil soup. About 1 cup of red lentils in the crockpot with 4 cups of water. Once tender (about 3 hours), I added (didn't measure, sorry) dried garlic, dried onion, dried mixed soup veggies, about 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame seed oil and 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger. Served with rice. I added a little cream cheese to mine, and Hubby added some sheep manchego cheese to his. Yummy and ever so healthy!
(As you know, I love my crockpots! Mainstay in my daily food prep.)
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This morning I was up and out at 6:15 a.m., wielding a can of yellow marking paint. I needed to mark where we want the fence line before the first fencing estimator gets here between 9 and 10. Whew! Back-breaking work and I'm pretty sure my lines are crooked and/or meandering. Plus now my trigger finger is yellow and won't get clean. That's ok. At least it's done. We left a 10-foot-or-so easement at the back, and at one side I had to go around our bank of trees (russian olive, I'm told). At some point we'll put up a 2-foot fence on our true property line just so there's no mistake should the neighbors move, but for now, this interior fence will work quite well!
Have a great day, all!