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Weights And Measures With Feeding

( Originally Published 1915 )

The Silo.—The silo is a large, airtight tank, in which green feed is placed. The chemical action soon heats the feed to near 170° F. and it remains at that temperature for some weeks. This makes the feed thoroughly cooked in a fireless cooker. The weight of the green material drives out the air except for a few inches around the edges and near the top. Hence the contents of the silo, which we call ensilage, is canned green feed. Teachers should send to their Experiment Stations for bulletins on the silo and read them, and also get the larger boys to read them. The older farmers are not accustomed to think of or use the silo, therefore we cannot hope to get some of them to use it, but the boys should be taught to desire and to use ensilage in their feeding.

Correlate Weights and Measures with Feeding.—Another interesting series of lessons may be given on the topic of how much feed each of the different farm animals consumes per day and how much it should consume. What a world of interest connected with denominate numbers when the teacher leads the pupils to use the tables while measuring and weighing things on the farm ! I do not know of a more valuable exercise for the perceptive faculties than that which comes from a child's trying to estimate in pints, quarts, gallons, pecks, and pounds the different amounts of feed given to the different farm animals. How few farm boys are able to tell, with anything like accuracy, what a given fork full of hay will weigh ! And yet how easy for a teacher, especially after the school yard is mown, to tie up a forkful in a rope and weigh it. A gallon tin pail may be used for weighing the different grains and feeds, such as oil meal, bran, shorts, etc. The object is to enable the boy to tell by weight what he is feeding by measure.

Correlate the Work with Reading, Spelling and Composition.—The work outlined so far in feeds and feeding may be given as part of the work in nature study. It will lose half of its value if the teacher neglects to have the children do some reading, writing, and have some spelling lessons on the words used. Blackboards, charts, leaflets, bulletins, and books may be used. Booklets may be made by the boys on the feeding of stock, while the girls make booklets on cooking and foods for the family. From this we are prepared to take up to the lessons on the use of the feed tables and the feeding of the different farm animals.

Kinds of Feeds.—Feeds are variously classified. The farmer classes the stems and leaves which he feeds, such as alfalfa, corn fodder, hay, and pasture, as roughage. The feeds which he must buy and which are made in some kind of a mill he classifies as mill-feeds. The scientists put the mill-feeds and the cereals together and call them concentrates. If the natural plant moisture is present, we call the feed succulent. If the moisture is not present, we classify the feed as dry feed.

Farm boys should be taught to group their roughage together, get the ratio of protein to carbohydrates and the amount of dry matter, protein and carbohydrates in a hundred pounds and then treat their roughage as a unit. To the roughage they must add concentrates enough to feed the animal and hence the concentrates—grain and mill-feeds—may be mixed and also treated as a unit. This simplifies the mathematics very much.

In order to be able to think clearly what the feed is to do, we call some feed rich in protein or nitrogen. Protein is the most costly feed a man has to buy. It is the feed that builds muscle and hence is very necessary for growing animals, for animals doing hard work, and for the dairy cow that gives the protein in the form of casein in her milk.

Starches, fats, and oils are classed together as carbohydrates because carbon is the important element. In protein, the nitrogen is the important element. The carbohydrates give energy, heat and fat. Fat is concentrated carbohydrates. If we have fat or oil given, we reduce it to carbohydrates by multiplying it by two and one-fourth, and then adding the product to the carbohydrates. The sugars and starches we classify as carbohydrates.

Minerals: Animals need mineral matter. There are four-teen or more elements that an animal needs. Of the minerals lime is probably the most important. We are just beginning to understand the role played by calcium. As stated in the chapter on soils, there are able scientists who believe that an excess of magnesium is poison to an animal and that calcium is necessary to balance the magnesium. The Wisconsin people are teaching that a dairy cow needs more calcium than we generally furnish. Some dairymen are feeding bone meal. The poultrymen have found that it is necessary to furnish much more calcium than hens ordinarily get from the shell which they use for grinding their food. Dr. Meltzer says of calcium : " Any abnormal effect which sodium, potassium or magnesium may produce, whether the abnormality be in the direction of increased irritability or of decreased irritability, calcium is capable of reestablishing the normal equilibrium."

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