Animals, Nutrition

Animal Nutrition…



Our eleven cats are fed PMI Exclusive Chicken & Rice from Mom’s feed store (look for the red and white checkerboard sign on the building as a sign they carry Purina Mills (Land O’ Lakes)).  If you can’t afford (time or monetary) to feed your pet a raw food diet, this is a great alternative.  It cost less than and is more nutritious than the Purina brand (Nestle) in super stores or your Science Diet/IAMS brands.   

Here is a great article on pet food.

She is promoting her brand of dog food, but does tell you what to look for when reading labels, why organic isn’t always better, and discusses supplements as well.


Our cats receive nutritional (brewer’s) yeast and garlic on their food to help prevent fleas.  The garlic is also to promote good health overall.  I have all the information on Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth and hope to start using it in multiple ways on our homestead.

We also use baking soda on their litter, vinegar to clean the pool house and have started using a biodegradable litter, all in an attempt to decrease their toxin exposure.

We have used Natural Defense to control fleas and ticks.  However, I have read cat’s don’t have the ability to metabolize essential oils leading to toxicity.  I also used to use Mrs. Meyer’s Pet Litter Fresheners, but it contains essential oils.  I have discontinued using it also and use just plain ol’ baking soda.



Our 3 dogs are fed PMI Exclusive Lamb & Rice from Mom’s feed store.  Again, would love to do a raw diet, but time and money don’t allow for this at the moment.  Mornings they just receive 1 cup of food each (Thai receives 1 ½ cups since his is younger, more active, and a bit heavier). 


In the evenings they ALL receive 1 cup of food along with 1 teaspoon garlic and 1-2 teaspoons cod liver oil (our cats should be getting this too, but we’re just not there yet).  They will receive Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth as soon as I get it into a mason jar and into our kitchen.  Right now it is in a container in our shed for the sheep.



Spring thru Summer:  pasture

3-4 weeks Before Breeding:  grain (barley, oats, or corn)

3-4 weeks Into Breeding:  grain (barley, oats, or corn)

Fall thru Winter:  hay (brome, oats, sudan)

3-4 weeks Before Lambing:  grain (barley, oats, or corn)

Through Lambing:  alfalfa, grain (barley, oats, or corn), pasture (spring)


The sheep receive protein tubs during the winter months when extra protein is needed.  They also receive salt and mineral with Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth and garlic mixed in.  I’m contemplating other ways to get them DE daily.  We have also used garlic to treat worm infestations once they have occurred and are trying to move away from chemical wormers.

We also use baking soda for upset stomachs and vitamin c powder for those who need a boost due to illness.

We have had good luck with our alternative forms of treatment.  We will never have a fully organic sheep flock, however, we feel the steps we are taking will make for a healthier flock and lessen the need for pharmaceuticals.



We haven’t come up with an organic feed in our area, so for now our chickens receive Purina’s Layena (for laying hens) and Flock Raiser (for meat birds) both of which are not medicated.  They get Scratch Grains in the evening as a treat and to get them all back in the coop for the night.  Our chickens spend the better part of their life roaming free and foraging for bugs and eating green grass.


The only thing extra we give our chickens is oyster shell for added calcium.

What We Avoid:

We have moved away from using Frontline (or similar) products on our cats and dogs.  We have also recently decided to stop using heartworm medicine on our dogs and will begin supplements and or Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth this winter so they are healthy and ready to face the buggy world come spring.

We have also stopped vaccinating our animals other than rabies every two years (as required by law).  We want them to be strong and healthy and research shows vaccinations greatly compromise the immune system.  We avoid steriods and antibiotics, the drugs of choice for nearly every ailment.  If our pets do receive an antibiotic they receive homemade yogurt on their food for at least a week after finishing the antibiotic to rebuild their digestive tract (both cats and dogs). 

We also avoid all chemicals on our lawn.  Animals walk on the chemically treated grass, then lick their paws and ingest the dangerous chemicals.  So we avoid spraying our lawn.  Bermuda tends to choke out weeds, we are slowly converting more and more of our grass to either grazing for the sheep or edible landscaping, and what’s left we try to control by mowing frequently to give our grass a fighting chance.

Hmmm, I’m drawing a blank here.  I’m sure there are other things used regularly by people, but it’s been long enough since we’ve used them I don’t even remember them as a part of our daily (past) life. 

I’m sure I’ve forgotten something along the way, but these are the basics.  These are the things we are doing to improve our animal’s quality of life.  Yes, there is always more we could do, but for now this is what our finances and our time permits.

**We buy our garlic and DE in 50 lb bags from a feed store near where we live.  This is the cheapest way to purchase both these items.  Also as I linked above, VitaCost is a great place to buy supplements for a fraction of the price.


3 thoughts on “Animal Nutrition…”

  1. I also use DE for pest control and have definitely heard that essential oils are bad for kitties, particularly tea tree oil. On the vaccine point, I also do only rabies, though Jordan took her to an appointment last year and ended up getting other shots for her. I was SO upset, because she’s an old girl and had been just fine without those chemicals in her. The appointment was with someone other than our super cool vet, and when she told Jordan that Magic “needed” the additional shots, he didn’t know any better and let her administer them. And charge us for them. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR Still pisses me off at that particular vet. I called and raised hell, but what you can you do at this point.

    Thanks for the food tip. I used to spend a lot of time preparing/freezing a raw diet for Magic made from raw local chickens and a meal purchased from a natural pet food store, but strangely she wouldn’t eat it. She spend her first ten years scavenging on the farm, so I’m not sure what her deal was, but I was soooooo not going to keep investing the time and money for her to lick the juice off and walk away. HA!!! Little mongrel. I’m not a fan of Science Diet’s nutrition profile or ethics but do currently have her on their special formula for kidney function since she was dehydrated at her last check-up.

    Still struggling with a flea strategy, as I hate putting anything in her system but hate to see her suffer. From past experience I’m not convinced that natural methods are completely reliable, though they obviously help. Conundrum!


  2. Mom is in the exact same boat with her cat at her store, Molly. She has fleas she can’t get control of most likely because she hangs with the alley cats behind her store. Mom has decided to do the Capstar to get her into winter and the first freeze. By spring hopefully her natural flea control methods will pay off and Molly will be strong and healthy to ward off the little buggers : )

    Just a thought, maybe due to Magic’s age, the recent vaccines, and did you say she has asthma (?) her immune system is weak making her susceptible to fleas. On Earth Easy it said, “If your cat or dog has a severe flea problem, it is often a signal that their health is not as it should be.” Maybe she just needs a healthy boost of something through the winter to get her a-ok for spring.

    I agree and feel this way A LOT with our sheep. Sometimes there are no other options then to take the chemical, pharmaceutical, poison route. Just to get a handle on it until you can figure something else out.

    The raw food diet thing made me chuckle. Just because Magic lived in NYC for a couple years doesn’t mean she’s high society and needs Midwest Sushi. Aren’t cats funny! A guy at work says his cat acts like he should be thankful she lets him live with her. So true!

    Good luck with Magic! Wish I knew more to help.


  3. Wow, such a good point. Yes, she was diagnosed with asthma almost four years ago and takes two different inhalers twice a day… She acts great, but if we miss a dose she has an attack… I’m convinced they’re keeping her alive. So you’re right, her bod is working overtime with that ailment. Never thought about how the immune system relates to fleas. We’ll give her some extra lovin’ and whatever “healthy boost” we can come up with. 😀


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