7 Tips & Tricks Farmers Use to Feed Their Animals (& Actually Keep Them Healthy)
In recent years, Americans have become increasingly concerned about where their meat comes from, how it is raised, and how the animals are treated by farmers. Films like Food, Inc. have made many Americans think more carefully about the food they choose to feed their families. Parents are concerned about everything from antibiotics in chicken to hormones in beef to tainted animal feed linked to Mad Cow. But many Americans don’t realize that many farmers actually treat their animals very well. Think about it: if a farmer doesn’t take care of his livestock, he loses money. So it’s only natural that smart farmers choose to treat their herds and flocks to the best possible food. Here are some of the ways that farmers preserve the health of their animals...just by feeding them properly.
1. Natural Enzymes for Water Quality
Research into a natural enzyme that can be added to hog and chicken feed could make many animals around the country much healthier and happier. The feed contains a natural enzyme made from fungi. When added to livestock feed, the enzyme helps to reduce phosphates lost in manure. The end result? The animals retain more phosphates, making them healthier. In addition, water quality is also improved because the manure created by the livestock does not contain phosphates that can contaminate the water supply.
2. Grass-fed Beef
The findings from a recent USDA-conducted study comparing corn-fed beef and grass-fed beef found that grass-fed beef is "higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium; lower in inflammatory omega-6s; and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease."
3. Halal-Certified Meats
Halal is the Muslim equivalent to Kosher food preparation in the Jewish faith, and these animals are treated quite well before they are taken off to the abattoir. Halal-certified animals (cattle, goats, sheep, and poultry) cannot be given artificial growth hormones during the course of their lives. In addition, the animals and poultry must have been fed only vegetarian feed, organic feed or Amish-style feed.
4. Kobe Beef
Kobe beef comes from the most pampered cows in the world. While it is true that the cows are raised to have a high degree of fat marbling, the cows lead remarkably stress-free lives. The cows are massaged daily with rice wine in order to promote circulation and improve the quality of the meat. The cows are also given beer every day to help them relax, as well as to help improve their appetites. Today they are raised on only 262 small farms, most of which pasture fewer than five cows, and the largest of which run only 10 to 15 animals. Happy cows make for great-tasting meat, and Japanese Kobe beef often retails for $100 per pound.
5. Prebiotics and Probiotics
Prebiotics and Probiotics are another way that farmers and ranchers can improve the health of their animals. In the case of horses, prebiotics and probiotics are used to help aid digestion, which in turn can ease the ill effects of stress, illness, and even old age in a beloved horse. By feeding an animal the correct balance of live and active cultures from beneficial bacteria, the owners are protecting their investment and improving the animal's quality of life.
6. Whole Grain Chicken Feed
Some farmers are passionate about feeding their flocks with the highest quality, all-natural feed. One chicken farmer swears by this feed recipe (http://www.greenerpasturesfarm.com/ChickenFeedRecipe.html) 2 parts whole corn (in winter this is increased to 3 or 4 parts) 3 parts soft white wheat 3 parts hard red winter wheat 1 part hulled barley 1 part oat groats 1 part sunflower seeds (in winter this is increased to 2 parts) 1 part millet 1 part kamut 1 part amaranth seeds 1 part split peas 1 part lentils 1 part quinoa 1 part sesame seeds 1/2 part flax seeds 1/2 part kelp granules free choice of granite grit free choice of oyster shell Those are some healthy chickens! Most Americans don’t even eat that well! Oh, and in case you are wondering about the grit and shells....those are necessary for proper digestion. The minerals in oyster shells also help the chickens to lay eggs with strong shells.
7. Swine Dining
Pigs are notorious for eating anything they can get ahold of. But some pigs eat better than others. For example, one select group of pigs is fed by some of the finest restaurants in Las Vegas. Nevada farmer Bob Combs (who was featured on the TV program “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe”) takes leftover food from renowned Vegas eateries and gives it to his pigs. The finest seafood, pastries, and even ice cream help to fatten his hogs. What Las Vegas diners would pay hundreds of dollars for in a restaurant becomes the favored feed of our porcine friends, giving them a rich and varied diet.
Sources: http://www.greenenvironmentnews.com/Environment/Agriculture/Fungal+Enzyme+Could+Help+Livestock+Retain+Phosphate http://www.albalagh.net/halal/0059.shtml http://www.grayson-jockeyclub.org/newsimages/Probiotics050109.pdf http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/foods-unsafe-doctors-eat.html http://www.askthemeatman.com/kobe_beef.htm