What our animals eat, besides grass.

Cows enjoying a buffet of fresh vegetables
Cows enjoying a buffet of fresh vegetables

I’ve posted here many times before about this topic, but it’s routine that I get questions from a new reader or customer.

“Do your cows eat GMO grains?”

“Do your cows eat corn feed?”

What you see in this picture is an example of what our cows eat every day, except for in the winter when they eat lots and lots of hay. Our cows eat produce coming from two different farmers markets every day, 365 days a year. Here you see them happily munching on a large pile of summer sweet corns husks. Each pallet (there are two full pallets in this picture) is full of watermelons and mixed in the whole shooting match is tomatoes, zucchini, squash, cantaloupe and anything else you can imagine growing in a garden in the heart of summer. This fall there will be winter squash, pumpkins, lettuce, collards, etc. The cows have about 1000-2000 pounds of this produce a day. This is a supplement, one that they LOVE by the way, to the intensive paddock shift grazing that we do on our farm assuring that our cows get the best of the grass we have each day. At no time do our cows get ANY commercial feed. In fact, at this point, nothing on our farm is getting commercial feed, including the new batch of meat chickens we just received.

Speaking of the new chickens. Here is a test run of the new setup for feeding them. We scavenged a sink and disposal from someone’s kitchen remodel. Luckily we were able to get a nice big 3/4 hp garbage disposal in excellent shape. A quick build by Miguel to get everything mounted and wired and we have a very functional food mill. It does a great job grinding produce into a mush and along with a little water it makes a wonderful chicken food mash. The baby chicks have been started on this mash since day one. At first I was worried they wouldn’t like it but after giving them a little time to figure out what it was, we found that not only did they eat the mash, they absolutely cleaned the bucket. By clean, I mean it looks brand new and polished when they are done. There is NO waste, NO cast-off like there is with chicken feed. For those of you with chickens, you know that they toss an unnerving amount of their feed when they eat. They aren’t messy, they just don’t care much for the commercial feed. Every single speck of mash is gone when they get done with this new setup. I’m already excited for October when this batch of chickens is ready, to see what a difference sunshine, exercise, and a pure vegetable/bug diet does for them.

Anybody want to come process chickens in October?

5 Replies to “What our animals eat, besides grass.”

  1. I would like to help you guys process chickens! I’m an intern on a sustainable farm in hillsborough, NC and have experience in processing.

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