Happy hot weather time! I actually really enjoy it, but along with hot dry weather comes hay season….and try as I might, sometimes it’s hard to remind myself that putting up hay is a good work out and I am not, in fact, dying a slow painful death.
But, I digress. That’s not what I wanted to talk about today. As I’ve said before, I work in a feed and forage lab. We test the feed that is given to dairy cows, beef cattle, pigs, horses, and chickens with dairy cows being our largest animal customer base. So with all that means we get some interesting samples to test and I thought it would be fun to share with you all some of the more out there ones!
Before I get into the weird stuff, I’ll briefly go over what generally is contained in dairy cow’s diet. Not all of this is usually included but a good majority. Just like you need to eat a balanced diet of different food groups to get your essential nutrients, so do cows!
- Haylage (fermented hay, it’s wetter than normal dry hay)
- Corn silage (chopped up corn that’s also been fermented)
- Some sort of mineral mix
- Small grains like barley, oats, wheat, or triticale
- High moisture corn/shelled corn
- Distiller’s grains
Now, as I said, we have gotten some oddball samples.
- Candy meal – all sorts of candies mashed up and mixed together
- “Gravy” – it was a fine powder that reminded me of the Ramen noodle seasoning packets
- “Meringue” – another powder that smelled like vanilla pudding!
- Bakery by-products – these are the things left over from bakeries and other like companies (i.e. Oreos, etc)
- Peanut waste – waste not as in trash, but leftover bits of peanuts
- Potato waste – again, not waste as in trash, but leftover bits of potatoes
- I’ve also heard of (but we haven’t gotten a sample of it) the by-products from companies that make jams and jellies!
Now, why would dairy cows get fed these types of things? To serve as a source of some nutrient, whether it be sugar or energy or starch. These weird foods are fed most likely because the farm has access to a high quantity of this food and therefore it makes their cow grocery bill cheaper because they don’t have to grow it and they probably get a discount for taking it off the hands of the business it comes from.
What’s the strangest thing you have eaten and did you like it?
Until next time,