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Posts Tagged ‘pasture raised’

I read this article in Grist today about how it can be hard for small livestock farmers to raise animals that are both organic and pasture-raised.

I understand that the cost of organic chicken feed may be prohibitive and agree that choosing to allow the chickens to free-range over buying organic feed for confined chickens is the right choice.  But… i wonder if the pasture that these chickens are raised on couldn’t be improved in some way to lessen the proportion of the birds’ diet that needed to come from purchased feed.

In this video, Joel Salatin of Polyface farms (of Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food, Inc. fame) describes the large variety of forage plants that grow in his pastures and how wonderful they are for his cattle.   I know that chickens did evolve to eat and digest grains (unlike cows), so it may make more sense to feed cattle on this pasture alone than chickens.   Chickens love grass and clover and… anything green- i think ours would eat the entire garden in a couple of hours if they had the run of it- but also need extra protein to produce their eggs (and to grow into nice meat birds quickly).  What about throwing some kale in the mix?  That stuff is amazingly nutritious- chock full of vitamins, calcium, and protein.   A sprinkling of wild garden kale seeds or a mix of siberian kales would probably do really well in most climates, and would self seed every spring just like other plants in the pasture.  Or grow some oats, barley, or buckwheat in there?

Of course, I don’t know what I’m talking about… I’m just sayin’… might be worth a try.

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