Taste of the Wild Review


Like many dog owners, I have tried my share of dog food. Well not personally, of course, but I’ve fed a good chunk of what’s out there to my dogs and I have to say that Taste of the Wild is one of the best foods out there for what it is. If you don’t know what it is, Taste of the Wild is a high-quality grain-free feed and it is one of the lower cost grain-free dog foods on the market.

I stumbled upon Taste of the Wild after changing my dogs’ food for the millionth time it seemed. No matter which food I tried, they always seemed to get really gassy. It was actually lowering my quality of life indoors, I really needed some fresh air. During my search for the perfect dog food, I found a lot of info out there about how a lot of our dog food in the US is filled with animal by products and corn. Actually the main ingredient in a lot of dog food is corn. Now dogs are omnivores so a little corn in their diet isn’t that bad but a lot is. And feeding them corn at every meal really isn’t for their system. Okay maybe it works for some dogs, but it was not working for either of mine, a lab mix and a pointer mix. I then started reading about grain-free dog feeds and how they are more natural. As the name suggest, they mimic what a dog would eat in the wild not that there are many lab and pointer mixes out there in the wild. We do know that the dog breeds we have today are descended from some species of wolf and while our dogs may look very different from wolves on the outside, the insides hasn’t changed so much. The digestive tracts of dogs are similar to those of wolves and other wild canines and how often do we see wolves chomping on ears of corn? I imagine it’s a very rare sight. The digestive system of wolves, and dogs, is built to primarily digest meat. This is why a lot of people tout the benefits of a raw food/raw meat diet for dogs, because it’s more natural. Some people disagree with this, I actually do agree that a raw meat diet is the best diet for dogs however, it can be a very expensive way to feed your dogs.

Enter Taste of the Wild, this is kinds of the jerky version of the raw food diet. It’s easy to buy and store than regular meat and it is also somewhat cheaper, although admittedly it is more expensive than a lot of grain-based dog foods out there. I think the prices is worth it though. Once I switched my dogs to Taste of the Wild, and they went through their somewhat gassy acclimation period of a few weeks, they ended up never have gas again on the stuff. Well not never, but very rarely as compared to the grain-based feeds I was giving them. They were also much more enthusiastic about feeding time. I know dogs will eat just about anything if you let them but I had never seen my dogs so excited for their own dog food until I started feeding them Taste of the Wild. It also made them pretty lean, this can be both a pro and a con. If you are looking to help your dog shed some pounds, feeding the recommended amount of this food may help them do that but because it is grain-free and thus has carbs to turn into fat, they may end up losing to much and you may have to supplement with something else. It depends on the dog though. I just ended up having to feed more to one of my dogs than the other.

As I mention before, Taste of the Wild is kind of on the low end of the grain-free or healthy dog food spectrum, low end in price and some say quality but I think it is pretty high quality. There are many slightly more expensive grain-free feeds like [Blue Buffalo] and [Canidaa] but Taste of the Wild is a good entry level feed and something you can stick with indefinitely if your dogs like it.

Taste of the Wild if a bit hard to find in the big box stores. I find that some local feed stores sell it, almost all Tractor Supply Stores carry it and it can also be shipped right to your home from PetFoodDirect.com or Amazon.com. So try a small bag out and see if your dogs like it.

Can I Keep Goats and Sheep Together?


Goats and Sheep are a very common beginner animal when one is looking to get into raising livestock for the homestead. Wether you are raising livestock for meat, milk or wool/fiber, both goats and sheep have something to offer. Many people will begin their livestock venture with either a few goats or a few sheep but further down the line, they decide they would like to add goats to their farm if they only have sheep or vice-versa.

For many, it is unclear whether those two species can be raised together, sharing the same shelter, same pasture, same feed, etc. Well the good news is, it is very easy to keep these species together just as long as a few precautions are followed.

The most important difference between goats and sheep is their nutritional needs. These needs are almost identical except for one very important thing. Goats require a copper supplement, whereas sheep do not. In fact, copper is toxic to sheep. If a sheep receives too much copper over time, it can be fatal. Most of the uncertainty of keeping these animals together, comes from this one nutritional difference between the species. Fortunately this nutritional difference is easy to work around.

There are two options here:

1. Both species are fed a general feed that is without copper. This can be an All-Stock Feed, a Sweet Horse Feed, many feed stores even offer a Sheep & Goat feed. The latter type of feed would be best. A general all species mineral can also be fed along side these types of feed. The only type of feed/mineral that can not be fed to both species is a Goat Specific Feed or Cattle Specific feed because these both have added copper that is not good for the sheep. If you go this route, many times the goats will not be receiving the proper amount of copper in their diet. This requires that the goats be supplemented with copper. A copper bolus is the most common and effective way of supplementing goats with copper.

2. The second option is keeping both species together but buying species-specific feed and mineral and feeding them separately at feeding time. This can work depending on your setup but if goats and sheep are fed in the same area, there is a good chance they will end up in each other’s feed so option one is really the best option.

All other aspects of feeding and raising goats are very similar. They both require a good quality hay. An orchard grass mix is best for both species. An alfalfa mix could be supplemented during lactation but it is not recommended to give alfalfa to sheep and goats that are pregnant as it could cause the kids/lambs to grow too fast inside the mom and cause labor problems.

Now that you understand their nutritional needs, here are a few other things to know about keeping goats and sheep together:

Their shelter requirements are the same. Both species require a 3 sided shelter at the very least. Goats dislike rain and just generally getting wet, much more than sheep do so keep this in mind when providing shelter. It should be adequate enough that both species can stay dry no matter what the season or the weather.

Goats and Hair sheep don’t require much in the way of grooming. Angora Goats and Wool Sheep require quite a bit more when it comes to grooming. Both of those woolier breeds will need to be sheared during the spring and sometimes the fall as well. When it comes to hoof-trimming, goats will require more frequent trimming than sheep. Goat hooves are also a bit softer than sheep hooves so be aware of this when trimming. It can take some adjusting when moving from one species to the next.

Goats are browsers and they prefer to eat bushes, tall weeds and low hanging tree branches before they will turn their attention to grass and short weeds. Sheep are grazers who prefer grass, forbs, or short weeds to bushes but they will definitely investigate low bushes and low hanging tree branches. They are just less inclined to spend as much of their time doing that as goats will.

When it comes to breeding, goats and sheep have about a 5 month gestation and depending on the breed of goat or sheep, they will either breed year round or seasonally. Sheep and Goats that breed seasonally, generally come into heat during the fall in order to lamb or kid in the spring. Knowing this, it would be easy to keep a mixed group of does and ewes and breed them all at the same time if you have access to a ram and buck.

When breeding, it is not recommended to throw both a ram and buck into a mixed flock of ewes and as this could cause a lot of stress and confusion in the herd. When it comes time to breed, animals should be split into species specific herds with the right male thrown in or does and ewes should be taken to the buck or ram for a visit. It is also not recommended to keep bucks and rams together when they are not being used for a breeding. A ram can seriously injure a buck, especially during rut. Rams tend to be stronger than bucks with stronger skulls and they have been known to kill bucks with just one head-butt. Bucks also like to rear up when head-butting, whereas rams like to ram in a straight line. This usually ends up with the buck received a serious blow to their abdomen which can be fatal. So it is important to keep the males of these species separate.

The last thing I would like to mention is that both goats and sheep are very social animals. Some people sometimes just want to start out with one animal just to get their feet wet. You cannot keep a lone goat or sheep, it will be a very happy and loud animal not matter how much attention you can give it. You must keep at least two. Similarly, it is not recommended to have only one of each species kept together. Two goats and two Sheep of the same sex, are the minimum one should have when keeping these species together. While sheep can bond to goats and vice versa, they will create a MUCH stronger bond with their own species because that is who they are most comfortable with. As someone with a mixed herd, I can tell you that in a more confined space, sheep and goats will mingle pretty regularly but no matter how long they have been together, when let out into the open, they will find the ones that look most like them and stick with them. It’s what is natural to them. So if you are thinking of adding either one species or the other to your herd, make sure whatever you are adding, has a companion of the same species to bond with or they will be very unhappy in the long run.

If one keeps all of these factors in mind and uses a bit of common sense for anything not covered here, then one can be very successful in raising sheep and goats together.

Eggs


Okay so you like eggs, but what kind of eggs? Different kinds a poultry produce different kinds of eggs and they don’t just vary in size and color but also taste.

Substance:

Chicken: a chicken egg tastes just like a chicken egg.
Quail: quail eggs also taste like chicken eggs.
Turkey: I’ve never had one but I have heard they taste like chicken eggs, however they are so rare people generally don’t eat them and prefer to hatch them instead.
Duck: Duck eggs can be an acquired taste. A scrambled duck egg will be firmer and unfortunately more rubbery than a scrambled chicken egg. This is because duck eggs contain more protein in their whites and when this protein is cooked, it’s makes for a much firmer cooked egg. Some people do prefer cooked duck eggs to chicken eggs, they also have a slightly different flavor. It’s hard to explain, it’s a fattier egg and so tastes fattier and richer than a chicken egg. Ducks are excellent for baking though. The extra protein adds loft to cakes. They make very good meringues because the whites
Goose: These are kind of a cross between a duck and a chicken egg. They are not as firm as a duck eggs when cooked and they also have a lighter flavor than ducks eggs. The majority of the goose egg is yolk and if you like yolk, this is the egg for you. There is very little white in a goose egg and the whites don’t have the same properties as those of duck eggs.

Style:
chickens have the most variety when it comes to egg color. Chicken eggs can be white, tan, chocolate brown, blue green, pink and any variation of those colors.

A few breeds of chicken that lay colored eggs are Ameraucanas(green or blue), Araucanas(blue), Black Copper Marans/Welsummers/Barnevelders (chocolate brown), Buff Orpingtons/Plymouth Rocks ( light brown), Leghorns/Polish (white), and Easter Eggers which are generally a cross of True Ameraucanas and some other breed, their eggs can be green or tan.