Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Livestock and Bible Times...Question

Ok, we are discussing on our forum, A Gathering of Days, about livestock husbandry during Bible times.

It was asked if people in Bible times fed grains to their livestock as most of us do now.

I honestly have never given it much thought, and I simply don't have a clue.

I would think perhaps no...
because grains were such a highly prized resource and commodity, I don't know that during famines and such, they would be sparing grains for the stock when it was such a vital part of their own daily 'menu'...
Most people were of a nomadic lifestyle, traveling in tents with their herds to seek out grazing lands and water; few had enough land holdings to stay put with a herd of any size...
Granted the lands were much more pure back then than we have a hope of having now, but grains are not just grown easily, they require great soils that are rich to produce...
I know what my grain amounts are here with a mere 8 goats...I cannot imagine packing sacks of grain (aside from my own personal needs) on camel or donkey as I travel...

However, given that even hay requires a great deal of work and fertilization to produce ample amounts for not only seasonal grazing, but for baling for winter feeding, I just don't know that they could have maintained a herd during the seasons when free grazing simply was not possible. Then again, if you're a nomad, following the grazing cycles, you'd cover a great deal of miles going from one seasonal bounty to the next...

I just don't know one way or the other. I'm sure there are ways to manage a herd, even in our times, without the added grain needs, but it just seems to require a great deal of land to do so properly, not to mention the high level of work and knowledge to do so.

We feed mostly hay here, chickens pick through it, our hogs seemed to be searching out this bug or that stalk when we had them, and the goats especially. They graze in our limited pastures when they can, but hay is just a necessity. So is grain for our goats. Right now, not being in milk/having a kidd at their side, they are on about a pound daily and thriving like fat calves with it. Once we kidd, we'll be pushing near 5# daily with at least our matriarchs, probably close to that with the others as well. they can really pack away the grain and produce the milk :o)

Has anyone studied this out at all? What were the feeding practices of people with livestock back in Bible times?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

prov´en-dẽr ((1) מספּוא, miṣpō', from obsolete ספא, ṣāphā', “to feed,” fodder for cattle in general (Gen_24:25, Gen_24:32; Gen_42:27; Jdg_19:19, Jdg_19:21); (2) בּליל, belīl, from בּלל, bālal, “to mix”: “Loweth the ox over his fodder?” (Job_6:5); חמיץ בּליל, belīl ḥamīc: “The young asses that till the ground shall eat savory (Hebrew “salted”) provender” (Isa_30:24); this is fodder mixed with salt or aromatic herbs): The ordinary provender in Palestine, besides fresh pasturage, is tibn, i.e. straw broken on the threshing floor, kursenneh (Vetch, Vicia errilia), given especially to camels and milch cows; bran, for fattening and especially in cold weather; and, occasionally, hay made from the dried mixed grass and herbs which spring up luxuriously after the rains. The Circassian colonists East of the Jordan are teaching their neighbors the value of this food, so long neglected. from E-Sword

I hope this helps.


Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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