The Bio-dynamic Cow
Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the Biodynamic Farming Method, gave a series of very important agricultural lectures in 1924. In them he spoke of the important role of cows with horns in bio-dynamic farming. Cow horns are used in the making of the foundation preparations which enliven the soil.
Steiner observed the cow’s strong bond with the earth. Observing a healthy cow today you may also see this bond as she spends most of her time with her head low to the ground. Morning is her prime time when she is invested in grazing. She starts her day early and alternates rest time spent laying with her belly down on the earth (ideally in a lush pasture) chewing her cud. During this time she really appears to be in a dreamlike state.
Maya and Baby
A mature cow has a very large supply of blood flowing through her horns, these are living things. Biodynamic farming appreciates the mothering, insight and fertile energies of the cow.
Cows have very advanced digestive systems. With their complex design the cow can get all its nutrition from pasture. In order to fully digest pasture plants, the cow has four stomachs, each with a unique purpose. With a generous amount of saliva and using the special micro-biome in her gut, the cow’s extensive digestive system processes and presents the farmer with a precious gift. The manure of a lactating and horned cow is the bio-dynamic version of “precious gold.”
Quality manure is an important focal point for the biodynamic farm. Ideally manure comes from grass-fed cows, on the farm, ensuring quality and avoiding brought-in inputs. The cows should enjoy a diverse pasture and be able to freely pick and choose the herbs, forbs and grasses they need for their health and that of their offspring. The only treatments applied to our pastures are bio-dynamic preparations and raw milk sprays. The dynamized potentized milk spray acts on the grasses and forbs to increase Brix and reduce fungal pressures.
Tzigane Sports “Gypsy Earring” Wattles
Bio-dynamic farms generally do not dehorn or disbud animals. When animals are not kept confined there is no need for it. They get along in their social packs and the horns provide other importance in their foraging abilities. The goats can scrap off barks they desire and root through brush including their favourite thorny blackberries. They also enjoy a bit of rough play with their horns rearing up and gently butting horns. A side benefit for the farmer is that the horns are actually a great way to control goats (and catch them). Being gentle souls they never use them against you.
Big Brother and Little Brother
Pigs are raised on the farm in natural conditions where they can maintain their social groups and have the freedom to root, enjoy a mud bath and sunbathe. We are fortunate with warm enough weather on our Pacific Coast Lasqueti Island location that our pigs can stay out all year and only require open access to rain shelters. They seldom bother with these.
With bio-dynamic Demeter Standards no baby teeth clipping is allowed and no tail docking. Our personal stocking rates are lower than all the Standards thus giving our pigs lots of room to express themselves in a varied natural environment including mud wallows, grass pasture for grazing, and woodland for foraging.