Grass or Grain-Fed, Free Range and Pasture-Raised

What’s the difference between grass or grain-fed, free-range, or pasture-raised when it comes to beef cattle and poultry? It can be confusing and advertising can be misleading. Read on to learn the difference.

Grass-Fed or Pasture-Raised

Grass-fed is also referred to as pasture-raised. For beef cattle, this means the cows live on grass without supplementation from grains of any kind. In the winter months, they live on hay which is just grass in a dried state.

Grass or Grain-Fed
Pasture-raised or grass-fed cows

Poultry that is pasture-raised refers to those that have outdoor access to scratch and peck at grass and bugs but shelter from hot sun, cold or wet weather. They are also supplied with feed. In other words, they are allowed to roam (somewhat) freely to do what comes natural to them.

Grass or Grain-fed
Free-range chickens

Grain-Fed Issues

Grain-fed refers to the cattle and poultry that are raised on grain alone.

The problem for cows lies in the fact that they (like many humans) cannot properly digest grains which causes numerous health issues. The reason for this is because cows are ruminants meaning their digestion process requires a fermentation stage.

The big issue for massive, grain-fed poultry stations is the lack of space for the birds to spread their wings, literally. Chicken and eggs sold in stores may claim to be “cage-free” but that doesn’t necessarily indicate they are raised humanely.

In fact, large grain-fed cattle and poultry stations are known to support inhumane practices too. Too often cattle and poultry are packed like sardines into a small area.

Animals fed corn as the grain leads to a whole other problem as corn is highly linked to GMO issues.

Then you have individuals like myself who are allergic to wheat. It took me years to figure out why I react to some eggs but not others.

Hybrids

Some cattle start off grass (pasture) fed but then end up receiving grains to fatten them up for market. This is referred to as “finishing.” Done humanely, (without overcrowding) this should not be a deal breaker.

You may not care whether your beef, poultry, or eggs are grass or grain-fed, free-range or pasture-raised. Educate yourself on the difference and you may just start caring.

These pictures were taken at my uncle’s farm where their cattle and chickens are grass-fed or pasture-raised. I love to visit this childhood-invoking farm with my grandchildren.

Buy Local, Support Small Business

As a small business owner myself, I am all for supporting and promoting local entrepreneurs. When you buy local, from growers, artisans or crafters alike, you are investing into the economy of your own community. That’s healthier on so many levels.

TruLOCAL is such a business delivering their local meat products anywhere in Ontario. Your chosen products arrive frozen in airtight packages, packed with dry ice to keep the contents cold for many hours. That means it can sit on your step until you get home. You also receive an email notification of when it will arrive.

I have received several shipments now and must say, I love the products and the ease of ordering online. You can easily change the frequency and size of your order as well as the products in each order. There are so many items to choose from. Each order is based on a point system, you simply fill your order until your “box” is full. For example, with BBQ season coming soon (I hope) I will be ordering more steaks and fewer roasts.

The best part? Their meat products come from locally raised, free run and grass-fed animals, that are free of hormones and antibiotics. In this era of heightened awareness, these qualities cannot be ignored. Sustainable foods are popular today, cows raised in pastures instead of feedlots turn out healthier, tastier meat with more vitamins and minerals.

If I have convinced you to buy local with TruLOCAL, use my referral code of
TRULOCAL2097 to earn us both free products!