OUR FARM PROTOCOLS
Ask any child what a cow eats and they’ll tell you…they eat grass. Yet, the overwhelming majority of cattle raised in the United States never eat a blade of grass. Instead, they’re fed GMO corn in feedlots. We don’t think that’s best for the cows, for the environment and, most important, for our health. So we do things a bit differently.
Our cattle are raised completely on grass for their entire lives. We move them to new pastures daily…sometimes twice a day. This way they have access to the freshest, most lush forage, and provide the rich fertilizer our pastures need to thrive. Of course they are never fed grain of any kind! Just ask American Grassfed, which audits our ranch every 15 months.
There’s just something about watching chickens on pasture. They’re natural hunters and foragers, eating grass, snagging insects and scratching for earthworms. But there’s another reason we insist our chickens have complete access to pasture; they are our sanitation crew.
You see, chickens love to follow behind cows, just as wild birds followed the buffalo across the Great Plains. They have a symbiotic relationship, cleaning up behind the cows by scratching through cow dung.
What the chickens are doing is hunting for fly larvae, which gives them the protein they crave. Ignore those “vegetarian diet” claims you see on egg boxes, because chickens are not vegetarians, as every cricket and earthworm knows.
As they hunt for larvae they are also spreading the manure, incorporating it into the soil. This not only hastens the breakdown of the fertilizer, but also allows the cows to more fully graze the pasture when they return. You see, cows won’t graze near one of their own fertilizer spots (this is to avoid parasites). So the chickens fix it where it’s gone by the time they return and they’re free to graze the entire paddock!
Everyone wins! The soil is enriched, the cows are happy, the chickens live a great life outdoors and you get the most nutritious eggs and chicken imaginable!
No Animal By-Products
Never fed any animal by-products EVER. We want what you want…honest, clean food. Enough said.
No Artificial Hormones, Steroids, Drugs or Antibiotics
Our cattle grow completely naturally. That means they’re born on pasture and spend their entire lives on our pastures. If you live in Denver, Colorado Springs, Elizabeth or surrounding areas, you know we have great pastures out here. Our cows know it too.
Our cows are never fed anything but grass and minerals. And, of course, we never give drugs or antibiotics. If an animal were to get sick, it would just be removed from the herd.
Non-GMO, Soy-Free & No Corn!
Our animals don’t want genetically modified organisms in their feed, and we don’t want to eat GMO foods ourselves. Therefore, our chickens are never fed anything that contains GMO grains, and our layer hens and broilers are never fed soy products.
It makes no sense to use so much American farmland to grow corn and soy for livestock feed, when animals are perfectly capable (and thrilled) to harvest and hunt for their own food. If only they were allowed to do so.
On Rafter W Ranch, they are. So our sheep, cows, hens and broilers are never fed corn. Why is this important? Because 80-90% of corn is GMO and we don’t want to eat GMO’s if we can avoid it.
We dry age our beef for 28-30 days because aging refrigerated meat that long allows enzymes naturally present in the meat to break down the muscle tissue, resulting in improved texture and flavor.
When we dry age our organic grass-fed beef, the whole carcass is held fresh and is exposed to the air so that dehydration can further concentrate the meat’s flavor.
Of course, this process is costly because the meat loses weight from dehydration the longer it is aged, but ultimately results in a more tender, flavorful product.
And, let’s be honest…when you buy dry aged beef you’re not paying for excess water, which you would be if you bought beef that wasn’t dry aged.
FROM THE FARM BLOG
Here at Rafter W Ranch, we use a system called Holistic Management to farm the grass of our pastures – and we get some of the best beef, chicken, and eggs around as a by-product!
There’s a lot more to an average egg than meets the eye. Learn more about the countless benefits eggs from pastured chickens contain, even more health benefits than most from the store!
If you read our story, you'll see that Rafter W Ranch represents our family's solid a commitment to sustainable farming practices that have been several years in the making. We started small on less than 3 acres of land and have grown our ranch over time...
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