Thank you to all the folks who have sent me info on the specifications of “grass-fed” animals. The guidelines for “grass-fed” seem to have an evolving definition. It appears that some other foods than grass are excepted in a “grass-fed” animals diet. Which is good since, my grass-fed cows regularly things that aren’t grass. lol.
If would like a smile, this post is worth reading.
First, I want to apologize if I have ever said in any of my blog posts that my cows are 100% grass-fed.
I have decided that there is no such thing.
I have also decided that all 100% grass-fed cows are eating something other than grass.
Yup. If you bought a cow (or some meat) that was, “100% grass-fed” you can bet it ate something other than grass.
It may have eaten something that was not even food. I’m just tellin’ the truth. If your cow eats your glove is it still grass-fed? I didn’t feed it the glove. I didn’t want it to eat the glove. But it may have eaten a glove. Maybe. Maybe it was just a finger of the glove.
But it wasn’t grass.
It’s gonna be hard to convince me you have a 100% grass-fed cow. I’m not going to believe you.
Because, I have decided that 100% grass-fed is not only stupid, it’s impossible.
How could my cows manage to eat things other than grass if I only feed them grass?
#1 Of course they ate something other than grass – Duh
They drank milk (or milk-replacer) as calves. They (hopefully) have a good mineral program available to eat. They are given vitamins if needed. They are offered a supplement of beet pulp (or some other form of carbs) to avoid ketosis (a risk especially for Jerseys). Of course they eat things other than grass.
#2 100% Grass-fed is Not Nessary
I am all for Grass-fed cows. I know the health benefits. I know the cancer-fighting abilities. I have seen my Doctor’s reaction to my blood-work after I got a milk-cow. Grass fed is great. It’s the “100%” part I have a problem with.
Not only is it nearly impossible to manage to raise a cow who has never tasted anything but grass; it is just not necessary. Most cows need to have some foods other than grass in their diet in order to be healthy. More on that here.
Of course all cows drank milk (as calves). It’s OK if they eat molasses, beet pulp, oats, grain, wheat, or the occasional apple for a treat. You don’t have to deprive your cows of these healthy foods in order for them to be a healthy grass-fed animal. Let the gal (or guy) live a little! A scratch and a treat every now and then is fun, tasty and isn’t going to toxify the meat. It will still be healthy, healthy, healthy.
#3 Jersey Cows are nosy and like to eat things just to see if they can eat them
Even if I “fed” my cows only grass they would still manage to eat other things that I did not feed them. Things that may not even be food. Which they may have managed to get halfway down their throat before I turned around and dislodged said item out of their mouth. Things like: gloves, 4-wheeler seats and my hair. Stupid cows.
Just this morning, Rosie tried to eat all sorts of non-edible things in the cow barn. Ugh. I’m standing there with a bucket filled with her favorite treat, but she wants to eat the frost free pump, the wash cloth and the brush. She’s like a toddler. She has to taste everything. Everything goes in her mouth.
#4 Someone else fed your “100% grass-fed” cow something other than grass
There are 4 cow-loving children running around here who enjoy taking the cows the occasional carrot, apple or peach. They have also been known to grab a handful of [insert random animal food here] and feed it to my cows to see if they like it. Foods like rabbit food, dog food, etc. No, the cows don’t usually eat it – but it was “fed” to them and it’s not grass.
There’s also the fact that it is necessary to move cows from pasture to pasture, field to field, or just into the barn so the vet can shove his arm up their backside. Do you think a cow will tolerate a doctor’s arm up her who-ha for some grass? Um…. no. You’re probably gonna need something stronger than grass for motivation. Some tasty feed usually gets our cow’s full cooperation.
#6 Real life happens
In real life your cow tries to eat your glove. In real life your cow ate the bucket of feed you were carrying to the pigs. In real life the cow found some garden scraps and helped herself. In real life the cow ate the bowl of popcorn your 8 year old left in her pasture.
I’m not gonna say anything is 100% anything. Not on this farm, with 4 children and an unknown number of critters running here and there.
Instead of “100% Grass-Fed,”
Let’s call them “primarily grass-fed”
or “mainly grass-fed”
or “essentially grass-fed”
or “mostly grass-fed.”
My cows are Grass-fed. They are on pasture. They are fed hay. They get a scoop of feed (and maybe a glove and some popcorn) now and then, but they are grass-fed.
100% Grass-fed is just impossible (I think) and not realistic (come on – they drank milk) and legalistic and just not real life.
100% Grass-fed. It’s like Santa. A lot of people think it exists – but it doesn’t.
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