Friday, March 18, 2011

Where The Wild Things Are

Sometimes you just need to be with wild things.

I headed out to my cousin's farm yesterday for some serious face time with the bison and wild boar. 

D.O.G. kept me company.

The Bison come right to him. He's of the earth. There's an understanding.

My cousin raises bison, wild boar and free range grass-fed beef. You know, the kind that's actually got Omega 3s in it. 

If you eat meat, as I do, free range and grass-fed is a healthier choice than beef raised in feedlots. It's a no-brainer that corn-fed cattle with acid stomach can't be a good thing, for the animal, or the consumer. 

Happily, everything on my cuz's farm is all natural, no antibiotics and free range. These bison travel all over the vast acreage at will.

In the past, his bison meat primarily went to customers on the nearby reserve, but today 50% of his business comes from city dwellers who drive up to buy direct from his farm shop. Farm to table. No middle man. People are increasingly concerned about their food sources and sales reflect that.

Bison meat is lower in fat and cholesterol and higher in protein. It's also hypo-allergenic. Roasted bison has 60% more calcium, 500% more iron and 350% more zinc than roasted skinless chicken breast. The bison burgers we ate for dinner were delicious. Filling, but without that heavy, bloated feeling you get after a greasy beef burger.

I heard there'd been trouble over at the wild boar enclosure. So I checked into their digs before dinner.

There was a lot of the regulation rooting around.

But this alpha sow had been up to no good.

She's the likely candidate responsible for the infanticide of a litter of four piglets in the last month. Wild boars have a gnarly look about them, but their piglets are just adorable. The piglets have similar markings to chipmunks. Unfortunately maternal infanticide is an issue with wild boar in captivity. They need a larger enclosure or separation during farrowing or the alpha females will kill off the other females' offspring.

In the wild, new mothers can try to escape to protect their young from the marauding alpha females, but not so in captivity if the enclosures are not large enough. It was too late to save the young mother's babies this time, but changes are being made. It's always a dance of logistics. Coyotes can take them all if there is no fencing.

Meantime this miserable old girl who has been terrorizing the others is headed for the butcher. Isn't it often the case, that leaders who kill off their own tribe to hold onto power often end up on the slab themselves.

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