Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tonic Treats For Livestock

I've been focusing a bit more of my attention on the animals this week.  I bred one of our does a couple of days ago and realized that I have not been giving any of the animals the extra supplements and treats they used to get so frequently.  After all, it is a lot of work to keep up with everyone's (human and animal) needs!  I thought I would share an easy recipe for these tonic balls I like to give to the goats and cow.  There are infinite ways and ingredients for this recipe. What you put in will depend on what extra supplements you want your animals to have and perhaps what time of year it is.  Or maybe it will just depend on what you have around the house. Since this is one of my ways of using food as medicine, it is important to me that all ingredients be organic.  

Garlic is the essential ingredient being a very effective natural wormer and generally increasing immunity, as well as, over all health.  Flax oil is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which does wonders for the animals appearance.  When fed to lactating animals, flax improves the fatty acid content of their milk.  (We also try to feed flax seeds to our chickens to get the omegas in the eggs.)  For this batch of tonic balls I started with a generous amount of peeled garlic cloves which I put into the blender and immersed in flax seed oil.  (You can also just crush the garlic with a mortar and pestle and add whole flax seeds.)  I then blended the garlic and flax oil until almost liquefied.  

Next I ground some steel cut oats into flour.  Other substitutes for oats could be rye, barley, wheat, or any grain you think your ruminant will enjoy.  The goal is just to have some flour to add into the mix, the fresher the better.  My animals tend to find oats the most palatable. (And in case you are wondering, the cast iron grain grinder attachment for the Kitchen Aid mixer is awesome!) 

So once you have the garlic mashed and the flour ground, combine these ingredients in a large bowl.  Add rolled oats and a good amount of black strap molasses, which holds the balls together, makes the whole thing sweet and yummy for the animal, and is very high in iron and calcium.   
Other additions I usually add are...
-Vitamin C powder
-Probiotics  for healthy digestion
-Nettles for iron and calcium
-Olive leaf extract for anti-bacterial and anti-microbial action

Mix well, adjusting wet and dry ingredients until you get a consistency that will stick together.  Shape into small balls (you may have to pat your hands into some extra flour to avoid the mixture sticking to them).  Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.  I usually give 2 balls a day to each goat and several more to our cow.  Use your best judgement on the dosing depending on what ingredients you use and how potent the balls are.  If your animals are picky you might have to reduce the amount of garlic.  And be sure to use them up when they are fresh.  The longer they sit the more garlicky they get and the goats especially will turn their noses away.  

Welcome winter and happy tonic making!

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