I am so frequently asked "what do you feed your animals?" that I thought it would be appropriate to include the information here for everyone to see.


Our chickens are true free range chickens. Rather than living in a large aviary type cage that is moved every couple of days to a new patch of grass, they have the run of the farm. Our chickens are free to go out in the pastures, gardens (though some areas must be fenced off to keep them from damaging the crops), yard around the house, and paddocks. This is possible because of our livestock guardian dog, Murphy. She protects them from predators both on the ground and in the air. They eat grass, herbs, bugs, worms, mice, and anything else they can catch. Chickens are opportunistic eaters and will scavenge, kill, graze, and eat treats. Additionally, we feed them all of our table scraps and cull food from the garden and supplement their diets with a certified organic chicken feed that contains corn, rye, wheat, and minerals which we purchase from Soaring Eagle Farm, a local certified organic farm.


My goats have access to browse (they are not grazers, but browsers and prefer wild herbs, trees, brush, thistles, poison ivy, and bark to grass) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are fed free choice brome hay, and recieve a mixture of four parts dehydrated alfalfa pellets and one part black oil sunflower seeds (whole in their hull). They have goat minerals, thorvin kelp and a trace mineral salt block free choice. They recieve vitamin C weekly, and every 6 months they are given a copper sulfate bolus (I use "copasure").


I grow a "milk garden" of treats for the goats here on the farm. The goats are fed treats of whole sunflower plants, apples, carrots, cucumbers, strawberries, grapes, raisins, bananas/banana peels, roses, fruit tree trimmings and herbs. The herb comfrey is a favorite of the goats and they have it fresh every day when in season.


All of the animals have clean, fresh water from the well. We do not have rural or city water. Our only source of water is our circa 1864 hand dug well. There is no chlorine or other chemical that the water treatment plant uses in our water supply. And because these things are not in our water supply, none of them are in the milk either. Once a week appple cider vinegar is added to the water at a ratio of 1/2 cup for every 5 gallons of warm water.


The other thing that the animals ingest, though not actually considered a food, is an herbal de-wormer. Parasite control is handled through multi species co-habitation, free ranging chickens, rotation of living areas, keeping their living quarters as clean as possible, and use of an herbal de-wormer. I do not have enough land to know that the parasite load is kept in check naturally, by having it dispersed over a large area. (I was told that would require 5 acres per goat, and 10 acres per horse in our region).


Our place is not certified organic as it is cost prohibitive. Knowing the protocol for organic and what the government stipulates, I like to think that our farm is, as Joel Salatin says, "beyond organic". We have been here since 2002, and in that time no chemicals have been used on this property. We also do not use antibiotics, growth hormones, or vaccinations.


To the best of my knowledge, the modern dairy goat can not be kept without feeding a minimal amount of concentrated feed (I use alfalfa pellets and black oil sunflower seeds for this purpose). This is because humans have used selective breeding to create a very high producing animal and browse diet devoid of concentrated feed does not have enough calories for them to maintain proper condition. If I do not supplement with concentrated feeds, the girls will literally starve to death. (In 2007 I was witness to the condition of 2 dairy goats that were kept on pasture while producing milk. It was very sad, and yes, they were starving.) The milk will only be as healthy as the animal is, and a starving animal is not a healthy animal. I am so glad that the alfalfa pellets in conjunction with free choic hay and pastures abundant with browse will meet the caloric needs of my goats. I hated feeding grains in the past.

Kansas Dairy Law 65-771 (w) clearly states: "On-farm retail sales of milk or milk products" means the sale of milk or milk products on the farm by the producer from the production of the dairy herd to the final consumer, so long as the person making such sales does not promote the sale of milk or milk products to the public in any manner other than by the erection of a sign upon the premises of the dairy farm. The advertisement upon any such sign shall state that such milk or milk products are raw and shall be in letters of a uniform size.