If you’ve ever been to our farm, you’ve probably noticed how friendly the animals are. Maybe you saw the chickens roaming around the coop, a stray calf wandering up close to the farmhouse, or a curious flock of turkeys gobbling at your vehicle as you drove by.
We believe it’s important to know how the animals are doing, and check on them frequently to make sure they have what they need to be healthy and strong.
But there’s a hidden benefit to friendly animals!
Animals that are happy live a low-stress lifestyle, which translates to more tenderness in the meat, richer flavor in the milk, and overall a more nutritious food for you and your family.
Here’s three ways we work to make our animals happy:
1) Check them frequently. No matter what species we’re considering, keeping an eye on them and watching closely for their needs is really is the biggest factor that contributes to happy, low-stress raising of animals.
2) Keep up a routine. Cows relax and enjoy having a routine (don’t we all?) they can look forward to each day. They love it when they hear the clank of milking equipment coming to the barn at about the same time each day. Keeping the chore routine steady makes for happier, low-stress animals.
3) Ask the animals. Let’s say we’re experimenting with a new feed — like green fodder for chickens. How do we know if it will be a good supplement? Ask them! Put it in a feeder they can reach and let them go after it and see how they like it. Or, put two different feeds side by side and see which one they like better. By considering their likes and dislikes, we can mix and match and help them get the most out of the foods we provide them, making them happier and healthier.
Stress produces adrenaline which causes a higher acidity in the meat . If a cow is raised in a manner that causes them to be stressed for much of their life, the beef will actually look bruised due to the adrenaline in the meat.