If you have a big farm with a lot of pasture or extra grass, you may want to add animals that will benefit from that to your farm so it doesn’t all go to waste.
Fortunately, there are lots of farm animals that eat grass.
In fact, herbivores eat grass primarily. It means they mainly eat grass without adding other plants and plant parts.
We have grazers like cows and sheep and we have browsers like deer and goats.
Some poultry birds also eat grass, so you won’t be short of farm animals to put on your farm and can even choose which ones suits you best. Here are 10 of them.
Cows are grazers and mainly eat grass.
As large as they are, they can survive on grass alone because they are ruminants.
This means they can get every nutrient they need to grow healthy from grass alone.
This is because they have a digestive system that is able to breakdown the cellulose found in grass to give them what they need.
Cows can eat grass in any form. Whether green and fresh grass, dried or barn stored, cows can eat and survive on it.
They do not have upper teeth so they eat grass by grabbing it with their tongue and cutting with their lower teeth.
With the help of their molars, they shed it into small pieces so they can digest it easily.
Here is an article I wrote on farm animals that eat bugs
Goats will prefer to eat weeds, leaves, branches etc. first before going for grasses but they do eat them.
Goats eat grasses especially when other plants are not available.
They do not eat grass to the ground as they are browsers. They rather trim grasses. They prefer tall grasses so they can just eat the tops off.
Just like cows they do not have upper teeth so they grab the grass with their teeth and chew it off with their lower teeth.
This is why they do not destroy pasture by pulling grass from the roots unlike some other animals.
Grass is a major part of a horse’s diet.
They love it as it is their natural food.
Allowing your horses to graze on your pasture is a major of keeping them happy.
They enjoy cutting and eating fresh green grass and their digestive systems help them break it down to benefit them immensely.
Horses however cannot survive on grass alone.
If you’re going to be adding horses to your farm animals then you should know that grass cannot supply them with all the nutrients they need to grow.
You should also ensure they do not overgraze as overgrazing can cause them to fall sick.
See this list I wrote of animals that do not need a lot of space
Sheep are avid grass eaters. They feed on grass by nibbling on it. They do not cause serious amount of damage to pastures like cows and horses because they are smaller.
Sheep like to graze on grasses that are close to the ground and they do this without pulling them out.
They do not like tall grasses. This can be bad for your pasture though.
If you have pasture with very low grass that needs to grow, your sheep might keep it from growing by nibbling every time.
You should hinder this.
Orchard grass is very good for them and sheep eat about 3% of their body weight per day.
Rabbit is one of the farm animals that can survive on grass.
They enjoy eating grass a lot and will always love to spend time in the pasture. Wild rabbits sustain themselves exclusively on grass, so your domesticated ones will do fine feeding on it.
Rabbits love fresh green grasses, but you should ensure the grasses aren’t treated with chemicals like pesticides before allowing them to feed on it.
If you’re going to feed them clipped grasses, cut them with scissors. Grasses trimmed with lawnmower are bad for your rabbits because of fermentation.
Add hay to your rabbits’ diet as they need more nutrients than grass can supply some times.
The best grass to feed them are timothy, orchard and oat grass.
Donkeys enjoy eating grass and if allowed, they will overeat grass to their detriment.
Donkeys feed on meadow grasses and weeds and they are good for them.
Grasses are full of nutrients that benefit donkeys immensely and they constitute a major part of their diet.
Donkeys shouldn’t however eat fast growing grasses full of sugar in the spring.
It can cause them harm, the lushness can make them overweight and the sugar will cause a lot of other health issues.
Donkeys do not damage pasture but organized grazing is necessary so they won’t hurt themselves eating more than they need in a day.
Alpacas are good lawnmowers because they eat grass without damaging the pasture.
They do not uproot or eat grass to the ground. Alpacas graze by snipping the tops of the plants off.
Alpacas can survive on grass exclusively, provided the grass is lush and fresh.
They however need hay for extra fiber. They do not like long grass and do not eat much, so they can’t do a good a job of keeping your grass down.
Alpacas eat about 2 pound of their body weight everyday so if you’re going to be feeding your alpacas from your pasture only, ensure you only buy the ones your pasture can sustain.
Goose is one poultry bird that can survive wholly on grass.
Some species like Canada geese are primarily herbivores. They feed and survive mainly on grass and other plants.
Wild geese graze on grass while they walk on land and they can eat a large amount of grass everyday.
Keeping geese on your farm will keep grass down on your farm drastically.
Geese can eat a variety of grasses so whatever grass you have on your pasture or farmland is suitable for their digestive systems.
They eat grasses by grasping the blades with their bills and tearing it off by jerking their heads.
This makes them suitable for trimming off grasses.
Not only do chickens eat grass a lot, fresh grass is very good for them.
Grass provides them with about 1/4 of their daily nutrient requirement.
Eggs laid by hens who eat grasses are healthier, taste better and have darker yolks.
This is why farmers feed their chickens grasses and let them forage on pasture.
Chickens also get their protein requirements from fresh grass in form of amino acids.
Chickens that eat fresh grass regularly cannot lack protein and tend to be healthier and more immune to diseases.
This is because grass contains vitamins E, C and iron.
About 50%-60% of turkeys’ natural diet comes from vegetation.
Turkeys aren’t picky eaters and tend to eat everything edible. They are omnivores so they eat both animals and plants.
Wild turkeys feed on grasses, seeds berries etc.
Turkeys prefer to eat the growing tips of grass.
They eat grasses by tearing the tops off and this supplies them with a lot of nutrients. Wild turkeys depend on these nutrients in spring.
Turkeys eat grass that are about 4-6 inches long and are very good at trimming grasses.
They can however destroy gardens while feeding on the weeds so it’s better to restrict them to just pastures.