Anton Coaker : Feeding insects to pigs and chickens

Discussion in 'Agricultural Matters' started by JP1, Dec 3, 2015.

  1. JP1

    JP1 Moderator

    It’s been a funny old week. Firstly, you’ll be as glad as I am, and my ladies are even more pleased, that we’re back into some sweeter round bales now. There’s still 2-300 of the late cut stuff without much of a nose, which will be fed to the fittest-if most reluctant- cows. The weaned calves, cows still rearing calves, and such worthy causes, are enjoying something with the whiff of bottled summer about it. Given we started baling at midsummer, I daresay it’ll get better yet as we work backwards in age .....time travel in a stack of wrapped bales.
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    Then, listening to the tractor radio as I trundle out and about, I’ve been perplexed by various news items. I’ve been hearing about radical new plans to feed insects to pigs and chickens, using land better, lowering carbon emissions, and all of those good things. Admittedly, the boffin selling it on the radio was waffling about how many extra tonnes of protein we could generate if we were farming maggots, so there’s a way to go on the PR front…I think he’d be better of talking about larvae, or grubs…but maggots? And what really tickled me was that no-one has told my chickens about this development. They’ve been catching and eating anything they can best the whole time. Insects? Cripes, one clutch of our young bantams shut in a run were seen to kill and consume songbirds which got in. And whilst I’ve very little experience of pigs, I understand that’s there’s not much an old sow won’t chew up and recycle, if left to her own devices.

    Seriously, the combination of FMD and BSE has left us blinkered to this. Of course we should be exploring such avenues. No, we shouldn’t feed raw cow brains to other cows, but yes, omnivores can safely consume all sorts of stuff, and we should be mandating better integration of such systems. The use of swill for feeding pigs is perfectly sensible, albeit perhaps boiled/cooked under the eye of the state rather than someone with an incentive to turn down the heat. Simples.

    Hey-ho. Later in the week, everyone was talking about something called ‘Black Friday’. This seemed to be, if you saw the pictures, where crowds of educationally challenged shoppers rush to buy stuff they could’ve bought before or after the feeding frenzy, but probably don’t need, with money they probably haven’t got. Christmas in a nutshell old chap!

    And that unfortunately leaves events in Colorado and Ulster.

    It’s inevitable that the subject of pregnancy termination is going to cause strife and angst…how could it be otherwise? And never more so than on the fringes of where it is acceptable. Behind many of the faces with strong opinions, I guess there’s often a personal story, and there are more stories yet etched on faces who don’t shout as loud. It’s hard to imagine many happy tales around the subject. Such is its very nature.

    Once you’ve detached yourself from the ‘personal’, the next thing is to detach the religious. How one particular religion can have so much to say on abortion, when its guiding leaders are exclusively males, who’ve accrued their lifetime of ‘experience’ by detaching themselves from it is a genuine mystery to me. Anyway, leave religion out of it.

    Then, you have to pretty much exclude all males from the discussion. This is primarily a matter for the women and girls themselves, and there must be precious few who find themselves in that situation who don’t wrack their conscience. They hardly need anyone else foisting opinions on them, least of all those with their own issues or some irrational religious creed.

    Blessed, I would say, are those professionals who will give sensible impartial help and advice, in a safe environment. Interfering with such matters strikes me as pretty much unspeakable. And I find both the fundamentalist lunatics in the US, and the previously shocking narrow views prevalent in Ulster, quite abhorrent. Remember, there are people yet in Northern Ireland, who, to take an example, would insist a girl who found herself pregnant as a result of rape, carried the foetus to term. Let’s not dwell too much on what that would mean for the victim……suffice to say I find such views very difficult to countenance. I’m glad that some headway is being made, although there’s a way to go.

    And I suppose you shouldn’t judge everyone in the US on the actions of one nut-job with a rifle…even if they do seem to be overly supplied with such nut-jobs.

    And we haven’t yet got to that Trump bloke, who they’re seriously considering as a presidential candidate….

    Hmm. The voice of reason!

    Anyhoo…there’s some stuff to ponder. Back to the cows- I know where I am with them.

    About the author

    Originally published in The Western Morning News, these articles are reproduced for the enjoyment of TFF members World-wide by kind permission of the author Anton Coaker and the WMN

    Anton Coaker is a fifth generation farmer keeping suckler cows and flocks of hill sheep high on the Forest of Dartmoor and running a hardwood and mobile sawmill.

    A prodigious writer and regular correspondent for The Western Morning News, NFU and The Farming Forum, Anton’s second book “The Complete Bullocks” is available from www.anton-coaker.co.uk
     
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