One of the giant reasons we wanted to live on a farming homestead with my family is because we knew the food that is sold in the local city grocers are all altered. What do you mean, Zac? I mean that the meat that is being sold in almost all city and chain grocery stores comes from animals that have been given cocktails of antibiotics, de-wormers and probably growth hormones since birth. Industry titans are concerned about their bottom line and not your health. They give their animals whatever will help raise their profits. Along with this, most cattle are fed a diet of GMO corn that has been altered genetically for maximum production and weed killer resistance. GROSS! None of it is natural and none of it can be ultimately healthy for those who eat such animals! Cows/goats/sheep are meant to eat grass!
So over the last couple years, low and behold I find so many people who raise their own animals doing the exact same thing, but just on a much smaller scale than current industry titans today. WHY? Sheep, goat and cattle farmers are convinced that they need to use chemicals to keep their flock healthy. So they invest in the chemical drenches, ivermectin, panacures, etc. I even had a sheep farmer tell me online that the only way they can keep from losing livestock to parasites is to give de-wormer every 21 days to their flock. Wow! I was floored.
And there are some that if you try to ask about natural worming methods or organic livestock raising, they scorn and tell you its not possible. My question: How in the world did people 100 years ago get by without ivermectin, panacure and whatever chemical cocktail drench the vet says will stand up to the parasites in your area today? You see, I live off grid. When I tell people I live without air conditioning, they scoff and squirm and tell me “for them” that’s just not possible. Again, how did humanity manage 100 years ago with ac units?
Much information and knowledge has been lost to the commercialization of livestock. Today the industry doesn’t care about the health and care of the animals like the farmer who has raised them for thousands of years has. The industry only cares about the bottom line and what pays the investors.
Now, with all that out of the way, what do we do here on An American Homestead to keep our livestock healthy and happy without chemicals? It was obvious to me that natural raising of our sheep was possible. After all, as far back as Bible times with Abraham, Issac and Jacob, we see large numbers of sheep and livestock being moved about over open land. How did they deal with parasite issues?
Here is our list of 4 things we use to keep our sheep healthy and growing.
- We keep our pasture pressure to a minimum. What does that mean? It means we are not overloading our pastures with too many livestock. A local farmer who also raises his sheep naturally and organically says that most cattle and livestock farmers push the limits on stocking rates for their animals. They have way too many cattle or sheep/goats on each paddock. Animals need to constantly be rotated over different rested areas or parasite issues can increase.
- Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar. I have now read dozens of testimonies online of sheep/goat/cattle farmers using raw apple cider vinegar with great results in their livestock. Many have had so much success that they are able to completely replace all parasite medications. Just google the words “sheep apple cider vinegar” and start reading the boat loads of information that come up. Apple cider vinegar is an easily made product. Anyone can make it and its history dates back to Egypt in 3000 BC. So could this easily made miracle cure be what Abraham, Issac and Jacob used to keep their flocks healthy? I don’t know but I’m sold on it till proven otherwise.
- DE or Diatomatious Earth. We sprinkle this into our livestock’s sweet feed. There is a lot of speculation if DE actually has any benefit against parasites. There are studies that seem to show that DE in the blood stream can remove toxins and help with high blood pressure in humans. All grain silos in the world will use food grade DE in their grain storage to prevent insects from infecting grain storage. There is lots of conflicting data on using DE and because you can buy a bunch of the food grade stuff for super cheap online, we decided to go ahead and use it. NOTE: Be sure to get the food grade DE ONLY.
- Colloidal Silver. This past spring we started putting colloidal silver into the water supply of our sheep. Our sheep have a dedicated 250 gallon tank that stores their water and each time we fill up, we will pour a half gallon of Colloidal Silver into the tank. We have our own colloidal silver generator here on the homestead and can make as much as we want rather than buy it online, as it’s very very expensive. (See Making Colloidal Silver) Colloidal silver is another method that has lots of science to back it up. Lab studies have even shown that it kills the AIDS virus. So why don’t we hear anything about this? There is no money in it for the drug companies. There are plenty of published and reviewed studies online about colloidal silver and its effectiveness against bacteria and viruses, and even molds and fungus. We will use it here for our sheep.
So there you have it. 4 ways we keep our sheep healthy and growing here on the homestead without using chemicals or at least only using them if we have too. I won’t say we’ve never used them, but part of learning to be self sufficient shouldn’t only mean learning to live without TV, lights or an AC unit. Let’s learn to live in ways that our animals who provide sustenance for our survival can benefit and live happy drug free lives.