Hemp in animal diets ?

Industrial hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa. It is one of the fastest growing plants and in days past it was one of the first plants that was spun into usable fiber. It can also be refined into several commercial products including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, and food. Although marijuana and industrial hemp are derived from Cannabis sativa, hemp has much lower concentrations of the psychoactive component THC and higher cannabidiol (CBD) which decreases its psychoactive effects. The production of hemp has been illegal for many years because of its resemblance to marijuana. Recently it has become legal. This is leading to the development of new products.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has agreed to push the use of hemp seed oil in dog and cat foods. It is expected that hemp oil will be an approved pet food ingredient by the end of 2019, if not earlier. Many pet owners believe that hemp oil will help with anxiety and depressions. Some pet products containing hemp are already on the market, although they have not been approved at this time.

While there is no evidence that hemp oils have psychoactive or medicinal properties as many believe, there are some nutritional benefits. Hemp oil is a well-balanced blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In addition, the ground seed is gluten free and can serve as a vegetarian protein source. It is believed that the approval of hemp oil for use with hemp oil for dogs and cats will open the door to other hemp ingredients and additional species.

It is believed that poultry will be the first species to be allowed hemp feeds, followed by sheep. These feed ingredients could include hemp flour and hemp seed cake as well as hemp-derived silage and pulp.

With hemp production only just becoming legal, it is likely that demand will outstrip supply. As a result, hemp could price itself out of the inclusion in feed.

Citation: ‘First hemp-based animal feed approvals expected in 2019.” by Emma Penrod of Watt Publishing.

When is meat not meat?

January 1, 2019 a new Missouri law took affect that state that meat must be derived from harvested livestock or poultry in order to be labeled as meat. Right away the law was challenged. Turtle Island Foods under the Tofurky Company and the non-profit Good Food Institute immediately filed a lawsuit. Good Food Institute advocates for plant- and cell-based alternatives to conventional meat products. They say the law violates their constitutional rights of free speech – see https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Meatless.pdf . The attorneys involved have reached an settlement although the details have not been finalized and won’t be made public till next month. The results will have an effect on other states as well. Similar legislation has been introduced in Nebraska, Mississippi, Washington, Arizona and Arkansas. A bill in Virginia was voted down.

Twenty-four confirmed cases of Newcastle disease in the week of January 25-31, 2019

There seems to be no end to the virulent Newcastle Disease outbreak in California. There were 26 new confirmed cases in one week, most in Riverside County, California. They include backyard exhibition chickens, backyard hobby turkeys, and a retail feed store. Previous positive locations include backyard, non-commercial layer chickens, commercial table egg layers, backyard exhibition birds (which is presumably more than just chickens), commercial table egg pullets, a backyard mixed flock of exhibition birds, and a live bird market. There is no indication of which feed stores had positive chicks or where those chicks came from since no hatcheries appear to have tested positive.

For more information on virulent Newcastle disease, see the article at https://poultry.extension.org/articles/poultry-health/common-poultry-diseases/newcastle-disease-in-poultry/

For ways to protect yourself, see the article on biosecurity at https://poultry.extension.org/articles/poultry-health/biosecurity-for-small-poultry-flocks/

Launch of the new eXtension website for small and backyard poultry producers.

eXtension.org is shifting away from its current site to a wordpress site. This is the launch of our new format. Let me know what you think and what other things you would like to hear about.

We have started a new webinar format for 2019. Every other week there will be a 20 minute, topic specific discussed. Check out the list https://poultry.extension.org/webinars/. We have five webinars booked so far:

There are also links to past webinars. Check it out.