Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bamboo: Alternative Source of Livestock Feed


For about a year now we have been getting nice big bundles of bamboo trimmings from a friend who grows lots of this wonderful plant in his permaculture garden.  He frequently harvests the poles for building, cutting off the leafy bits and baling them up for us to feed to our livestock.  Bamboo is after all a grass, which is quite high in protein, up to four times as high as other fodder grasses.  The species we have been using are mainly clumping timber (Bambusa oldhamii) and golden bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea).  In Asia, farmers have been feeding their livestock bamboo for hundreds of years.  For us, this is a free and nutritious supplement for our animals.  As the price of alfalfa (and feed in general) is steadily rising, feeding bamboo is one more way we can cut our feed costs.  We have planted several types of clumping bamboo in the hopes that we can produce a small quantity on our own property.  As our knowledge of permaculture design grows we are also planning on planting part of our hillside with quantities of forage trees.  The ultimate goal is to grow as much feed as we can on our small holding. 

The real question about the bamboo is...do they like it.  YES!  The goats and cow strip the poles clean, leaving us with thin branches to use in the garden as stakes or in our hugelkultur mounds. We have even used the leftover branches for mulch. 



Bamboo is versatile with many uses and quite easy to grow.  Just be sure you research how to grow it (or better yet, contain it) before you begin!

4 comments:

  1. I had no idea about bamboo but it makes perfect sense! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. That is really interesting. I have been looking for different feeds for my animals for a while now. This is an interesting idea. I wonder if I could grow it where I live.
    http://salemfeedandgrainandmore.com/

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is really interesting. I have been looking for different feeds for my animals for a while now. This is an interesting idea. I wonder if I could grow it where I live.
    http://salemfeedandgrainandmore.com/

    ReplyDelete
  4. nice blog !! i was looking for blogs related of animal feed . then i found this blog, this is really nice and interested to read. thanks for sharing such type of information.

    ReplyDelete