Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The dirty secret of grass fed beef

I've been thinking about this for a while, and I'm going to say something about it here.  This may come as a shock to you, but it's true, and it's something that you will never hear on any other farm blog.  It's something that we all hide from the consumers.  Some of them would be horrified to know this, but I'm going to say it. 

COWS HATE GRASS

There.  It's said.  Given any other sort of food to eat, cows will eat it in preference to grass.  They'll eat your chicken feed.  They'll eat pig feed.  They'll accept apples from strangers.  They'll chase you down to look into buckets that you're carrying, in the hopes that it contains something other than grass. 

They'll break into your chicken coop.  They'll pace along the fence, following you for miles in the vain hope that you'll give them something to break the grass monopoly.  It's true.  Given the choice, a cow will eat just about anything else first. 

This isn't a peaceful pastoral scene, above.  That's my cow calculating in a slow, deliberate cow way how many steps it will take to run me down and take the bucket from my hands.  I'm only safe if I'm near a gate, and can dodge out.  I often feed the other animals discreetly; hiding my bucket, or holding it behind me, for fear of a cow mugging. 

COWS HATE GRASS. 

12 comments:

Kevin Kossowan said...

What?!?! Really!?!?
Maybe your grass sucks? [kidding]

Thanks for bringing this up - it's a shocker to me. The beef I buy is largely milk fed. So at least the calves are happy, even if their mothers [grass fed] are not. Although the reality is likely some pissed-off calves that their moms shoo'd them off the milk and onto something that's not nearly as tasty.

Dean Smith said...

Yeah, and most kids will eat McDonald hamburgers and french fries or candy in preference to salad or vegetables. Doesn't mean that is what is 'natural' or best for them.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you take a photo of the grass that they supposedly hate. Maybe your grass sucks (not kidding).

sheila said...

Cows know where the concentrated energy sources are, they will trample you to get at the grain. The only time cows get excited about green grass is in the spring after spending a New England winter in the barn eating hay.

Bruce King said...

That's a pretty good summary. Cows, and all ruminants, get some grain as part of their grazing. It's only in human husbandry that we give them the candy. And they do love their grain.

Across The Creek Farm said...

I don't find that a particularly dirty secret. And, just because you prefer something over another, say grain over grass, doesn't mean you hate the lesser of the two. My kid flips for suckers from the bank, but he'll still gobble up carrots and cabbage. But between a sucker and cabbage...it's not even close

dinkleberries said...

I just had my pastured cow that I finished off with oat hay, (in lieu of grain) and apple mash, butchered. The butcher told me she was really nice and that what ever I did, I did it right. After eating a t-bone and a rib eye steak, I have to say he is right.
Have you read what Greg Judy has to say about

Anonymous said...

On a related note: if i recall correctly, scinetific testing showed pigs to prefer cashew-nuts and dried apricots over any other food, but im guessing thatd be some expensive pork to fatten in the long run. (my bad memory seems to recall the article claiming it being in an old issue of http://www.samvirke.dk/samvirke/Sider/forside.aspx)

Portland Charcuterie Project said...

Well Written!!!

Anonymous said...

This is why I saw we care about how our pigs taste first, and what the pigs want second -- because if we really gave them what they want, it would be ice cream, cookies and hamburgers (with added bacon and cheese).

One of the most hilarious moments of my life was watching the leader of a high-end pig breed association (you know which) feed some of these same pigs some pork rinds from a convenience store. The pigs gobbled them up, loving every bit. When he did that, he and I knew it was what the pigs really wanted.

We also knew that non-pig raisers couldn't understand what's going on in the (small) minds of the pigs - and that they'd be irritated at us for giving the pigs what they really want.

Anonymous said...

Whats your point? Just because you like candy doesnt mean you should eat it all the time or even much at all. You think youre shocking but other people have noted this before. Not bigg deal.

Steve said...

What sheila said. google wiki=optimal forage theory.