We start our calves as natural as they can be. When they leave the farm they are in great health but a little rough around the edges — like most teenagers leaving the nest…without drivers licenses!
We check herds everyday and move them around onto new pasture periodically. The term “managed grazing” means, instead of putting cows out on the range all year (like you might see out west), we have different pastures into which we rotate the herds. All pastures have a good diversity of grass varieties, nutritious weeds and legumes, providing a healthy “salad” mix supplemented with free-choice, all-natural minerals and vitamins — necessary “salt” support for bovine health.
We’ve invested heavily in infrastructure (fencing and watering) to allow maximum flexibility, depending on time of year and stage of cows — for instance, a cow with no calf, not supplying milk, does not need the quantity or quality of grass that a cow with a calf needs. We’ve been working to fence out forested areas, too, for three reasons: first to keep the cows from hiding in the woods when we want to move them; second, to protect trees and understory for managed forestry and wildlife; and third, because calves like to eat acorns in the fall — and that can kill them. We have a mixture of well water and fenced off ponds feeding drinkers, providing fresh water year-round. Clean water, healthy grass, a little shade, and daily visits keep our herd happy and healthy!
Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is a national program that certifies farms, including ours for proper handling of livestock, including moving herds and handling animals at close range. We know, if you’re kind to cows, they take care of you — and cows actually learn what you want them to do, given a little patience and understanding.