Thursday, February 17, 2011

Grass-fed beef vs. Grain-fed

Here on our farm we raise our beef on a salad bar of grass and other forages.  Some people ask us why we insist on raising our beef on a forage diet instead of corn.  Since we live in the corn belt, and corn and soybeans are readily available right out our back door, shouldn't we feed them grain.  The answer in NO!  We believe and research shows that God created cows to be ruminants.  This means that they are not carnivores nor were their digestive systems created to consume large amounts of grain.  The cows digestive system was designed to extract nutrients from the grasses and hay by utilizing the multiple compartments of their stomachs.  This multi-step process accomplishes not only the extraction of important nutrients, but also leads to an increase in saliva production which naturally buffers the animals digestive system.  This buffer works against excessive acid and facilitates a harmonious level of beneficial microbes necessary for proper digestion.  Grain-fed cows are generally fed a diet high not only in concentrated feed stuff like grain, but given GMO grains that are found to trigger inflammatory response in both animals and humans.  In short, grain is not the natural feedstuffs for cattle.  God created their digestive systems to function at their best when they are fed a forage based diet.    Also another difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef is the way in which the animals are raised.  Being natural foragers, how much sense does it make to raise these animals on concrete lots, competing for feed in an environment that promotes disease, land pollution and the dissolution of the family farm that cannot compete with the corporate "big agri-business".  In future postings I will go into the health benefits of grass-fed beef.  I will explain why beef animals raised on a forage based system are healthier to eat than grain-fed beef.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

To bottle feed or not

There are a lot of opinions whether you should bottle feed triplets or not.  The lambs have done well from birth, but we thought maybe we needed to help supplement the momma.  Ben tried with one of the lambs, but she wasn't interested.  Mark talked to Jared, the farmer we bought the sheep from, and he said we probably won't have to bottle feed.  Jared has had mommas deliver triplets before, and the ewes have successfully raised three babies.  We will be keeping a close eye on them to make sure they continue to do well. 

a couple more lamb pictures

Yesterday Mark went and bought some 6 month and 9 month old layers.  We are needing to increase our flock.  A little here and a little there accomplishes that.  It takes 24-26 weeks for chicks to mature enough to start laying.  We plan to buy more chicks this spring.  As for now, it is nice to have chickens that are already laying to increase our egg production.

Speaking of eggs, this morning for breakfast I fried eggs and ham for breakfast sandwiches.  Add a slice of cheese and a couple pieces of bread.  Yum!  My family really enjoys hot nutritious breakfasts.

Monday, February 7, 2011

They're here!!!

Friday morning Ben came in from doing the sheep chores and told us he thought the momma was in labor.  He guessed we would have babies within 24 hours.  A short while later he snuck out without his siblings knowing to check the ewe.  He came in quite pleased.  The momma had birthed triplets.  They are each doing well.  She took all three, but we are going to supplement them with bottle feeding. 

Of the three, one is a male, and the other two are females.  One of them keeps jumping out of their makeshift pen, noses around, and then jumps back in.  The boys are really enjoying them.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Moving the ewe

She's in the barn.  Whewwww!!!!  It's no small task to move a very pregnant momma sheep into the barn.  We haven't had the sheep very long, and she was not so sure of us.  The Bible talks about leading sheep and that all we like sheep have gone astray, every one to his own way.  Well, we were seeing how she wanted to go her own way!  With the help of a rope, some feed and the Lord, she is now safe inside.  No matter how much snow we get, her babies will be able to be warm when they arrive.

Mark had several ricks of wood to split and deliver yesterday.  Thankfully he was able to get that done before the expected winter storm.  Hopefully if the storm comes as forecasted, we won't lose electricity!  Enjoy your warm cozy homes and warm tea/coffee/hot chocolate!