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Using dried apples for livestock feed - what do you think?

Marjory WildcraftMarjory Wildcraft ✭✭✭Posts: 1,094 admin
Hi Marjory

We've done something similar.  We used to pick up unsold/ugly fruit from a farm stand and I would dehydrate it and store in buckets to dole out to the animals.

I was careful to limit it during hot weather.  High carb foods are considered a "hot" feed, meaning not a great idea in summer as the excess calories can be trouble for ruminants.  Pigs and poultry handled it better.

I used them mostly in winter when the animals need the calories to stay warm.


  • AnAn Posts: 42 ✭✭
    edited September 2018
    I have never fed dried fruit to an animal.  I have fed it to my family and noticed that if the children ate too much, it would give a tummy ache.  As the dried fruit will absorb a lot of water, I would perhaps soak it prior to feeding it.....
  • AlisonAlison Posts: 155 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018
    I once got given half a trailer load of dried organic figs just out of date. Gave them as treats to the goats and they were very happy with them. I don't know if my ducks would eat dried fruit. I guess if I cut it up and put it soaked within their regular feed they might. I'm sure rabbits would love it.

    Have you considered if there is someone that could turn some of it into cider for you for part of the produce? I've heard of people who have had their fields slashed for free for a portion being kept for hay by the person doing it.
  • Marjory WildcraftMarjory Wildcraft ✭✭✭ Posts: 1,094 admin
    edited September 2018
    Hi Sherryo, An, and ALison (gosh, we really need better forum software with easier reply features, huh?)

    I was planning on soaking / rehydrating before feeding.  Sherryo, so gald to hear of your doing this.  It makes sense to me...

    Cider?  whew, right now that is just too much work.  I really just didn't think about how to deal with all of this and I will be better prepared next year.  Hah, got to find a cider press.  Hey, what is your interest level in a certification on brewing wine or hard cider?  LOL

    My current plan is to simply collect the nicest ones and offer them in a box on the sidewalk with a sign "free".  THis house is on the street next tot he library and lots of people walk by.




  • sherryosherryo Posts: 58
    edited September 2018
    Hi Marjory

    I've made Perry without a press.  I just ground the pears with my hand crank grain mill and fermented in buckets.  It turned out awesome.  But it was work and I probably won't do it again.

    I have fermented sweet pears in a saltwater brine and that also turned out good.  Sweet, crunchy, salty...with natural probiotics too!  It's just a bucket with brine and a plate to keep the pears submerged for a while.  Very little work to get something that added pop to our winter plates.

    I'm not too interested in making alcohol...but I would be very interested in fermented foods.
  • sherryosherryo Posts: 58
    edited September 2018
    Hi An

    I think some animals do better with soaked fruit.  People, especially; also pigs need their food soaked.

    Goats, cows, horses can handle dry food a bit better but you are wise suggesting soak it first anyway.  Soaking doesn't hurt and could prevent trouble.
  • Marjory WildcraftMarjory Wildcraft ✭✭✭ Posts: 1,094 admin
    edited September 2018
    Hi Sherryo,

    Oh fermented pears!  Not there is an idea.  If you can ferment pears, then I bet you can ferment apples...  Now fermenting is what I consider easy.  Just chop them up, put them in a quart jar with water and what? a tablespoon or two of salt?



  • sherryosherryo Posts: 58
    edited September 2018
    Google suggests "Russian brined apples" for recipes.

    Per  "The Joy of Pickling" by Linda Ziedrich...
    • 3 quarts water
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 8 tsp pickling salt
    • 3 lbs apples
    • Cherry leaves and tarragon
    To be honest I didn't follow the recipe that closely.  I left out the honey and the herbs.  You really just need a good brine of 3-5%. I didn't chop my pears, I left them whole, but this is temp and time dependent.  I did this during winter, so cool temps allowed a slow ferment of 3 months.

    I dropped the washed whole fruit into a clean 5 gal bucket, added brine to submerge, added a plate and weight to keep fruit under, and then left to cure.  I'd taste, every few weeks, until I thought they were good.  Worst case, they would have been pig food - but that didn't happen.  Family of three ate all 5 gallons.  So crisp.  Fresh.  And took very little effort.
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