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What exactly is the diet of grass fed animals?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 24, 2012 at 9:05 PM

What exactly is the diet of grass fed animals? Is there a special name for fodder that would be considered 100% acceptable for grass feeding? Notice that some of the fodder on the list below contains grains. Does it have to be specifically a type of grass in order to be considered "grass fed"? Can grassfed mean that the animals ate anything as long as it is not a grain?

Is it considered grass fed if they eat any of the following:

A few taken from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fodder Alfalfa (lucerne) Birdsfoot trefoil Brassica spp. Kale Rapeseed (canola) Rutabaga (swede) Turnip Clover Alsike clover Red clover Subterranean clover White clover Grass Bermuda grass Brome False oat grass Fescue Heath grass Meadow grasses (from naturally mixed grassland swards) Orchard grass Ryegrass Timothy-grass

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2 Answers

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1
E791387b2829c660292308092dc3ca9b

(831)

on October 24, 2012
at 09:15 PM

Grassfed means different things to different people. Pastures are made up of a wide variety of grasses, clovers, weeds, etc. The more variety the better the pasture and the healthier the animal. Basically grassfed to your local producer is going to mean animals on pasture when it's available and hay when it isn't. No grains except seed heads in the pasture.

2
F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on October 25, 2012
at 02:41 AM

There are two kinds of grass-fed beef where I live:

  1. The farmer actually grows grass. The grass is irrigated. It's fertilized by chickens. Cows graze it in a rotation so that there's always fresh pasture. They harvest both the cattle and the chickens.

  2. The farmer owns grassland. The cattle wander the hills and graze the natural grass. Because the grass is seasonal and dies part of the year, the farmer feeds the cattle hay and oats as a supplement.

The first is more pure grass, but the second is actually a little more natural. If you think about it, the first way is like growing cattle as a crop by growing grass as a crop. The second one is basic cattle ranching as has been done for hundreds of years.

I learned how these two farms operate by looking them up online and talking to them at the farmer's market.

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