We get a lot of questions on what we feed our animals.
Corn? No, except sweet corn husks from the farmers market.
Grain? Eh, well, actually yes. But not what you think.
In the video above you can see our cows, having just been turned out onto a new paddock, eating the seed heads from fescue grass. They will eat about 80% of the seed heads, mixed in with the grass they normally eat. These grains are only available for a few weeks in the spring and the cows make full use of the opportunity scarfing all they can while they can. Does this mean our cows are grain fed? I can hear you saying now, “I thought cows weren’t supposed to eat grain. It’s bad for the stomachs or something.” Cows eat whatever they can get naturally. If there is grain available, they will get into it and it will put on fat, just like they do in the feed lots. The difference on our farm is that the cows only get grain when it’s in season (spring) and it’s only a small part of their diet, just like if they were roaming wild.
The plus side for us is we can finish grass-fed cows in June, process in July, and have some marbling in our meat and fat on the hide. Despite what the dietitians would have us believe, fat is what it’s all about. That’s how steaks are graded, based on the marbling of fat.
So don’t worry, our cows are still grass-fed and grass finished, and even the grain they get is grass.