Here’s a quiz question for ya: what are the top 5 farm animals? No singing Old MacDonald, that’s cheating!
Got your list? I feel like most people will have at least 3 or 4 animals in common. I feel like I can guarantee you all have at least the big three meats on there: cow, pig, and chicken.
Then things get a little hazy. Anyone out there forget about the horse? The horse certainly seems forgotten these days, with cars and tractors virtually erasing the need for this amazing animal.
Then of course there’s the goat, the one animal that is funny enough to give cat and dog videos a run for their money. But who really likes goat milk anyway?
Personally I’d think sheep would be on the list. They’re so versatile: you count them when you want to sleep, there are still clothes out there that are actually made with their wool… And lamb meat… so good. Plus we’re toying with the idea of someday raising sheep, so there’s a bias.
Then you start to get into the specifics. Other poultry, like ducks, turkeys, geese. Rabbits, llamas… These ain’t in the top 5 so forget it.
OK make any final adjustments to your list after I’ve tried to influence you! Drum roll please!
The Top 5 Farm Animals Searched for in 2015
According to search volumes shown on Google Trends, the top 5 farm animals in the United States are:
There are goats in my neighborhood and when they get noisy it sounds like demented singing. At first it freaked us out, but now it’s just funny. Goats are definitely funny, which has gotta be a big part of why they make the list. I don’t really care for goat milk, but sometimes when I’m in the right mood goat milk cheese is fantastic. For me, the best thing about goats is the soap you can make from the milk. We exclusively use the goat milk soap from our friends at Kearsarge Mountain Soaps and Sundries up in North Conway, and let me tell you, dry skin is no longer an issue in our lives.
Pork is my favorite meat. Barbecue is my favorite thing to do with my favorite meat–in fact, we’re working on a maple pulled ham recipe for syrup season, can’t wait to see where we go with that! I expect pig to be the next animal we raise once we get it planned out. Maybe next year, even. Other than chickens, a pig is the only animal we’ve made sure to use the whole animal, from head to foot. Literally. From pig’s head to pig’s feet to pork liver pate to grilled pork heart, we’ve done it all. It’s a great animal, and I’m surprised it’s not higher on this list.
Here in America, our biggest restaurant chains sell hamburgers, just about all of our desserts use milk products. That’s not to say these are the shining examples of why cows are great, but there’s no arguing that beef and dairy are simply fantastic. I can’t even begin to get into the wonders of dairy, but just sit and ponder these three foods for a few moments: cheese, ice cream, butter. Cheese is easily one of the best inventions/discoveries of humans. And then there’s beef, the versatility of which seems to know no bounds, from the meager meatball to grassfed filet mignon steaks. And quality beef raised in a good way is popular for a good reason. The best beef I’ve ever had came in a quarter share we got from Maine a couple of years back, with flavor that I didn’t know existed in steaks and burgers.
I don’t want to ruffle any feathers here, but these days it seems that the horse is more of a pet than a farm animal. That’s not to say they aren’t a valid pet, but to me it would seem that a farm animal serves a purpose. Instead of something to be ridden for fun or for show, horses used to be an absolute necessity. They were how you got around, they helped plow the fields, etc. etc.. Instead of gasoline, you used hay to power your mode of transportation. Horses are easily one of the most amazing domesticated animals, and it is always great to see when folks are actually using them on the farm.
8 billion chickens are eaten a year in the U.S.. Eggs are probably the single most incredible food in the kitchen, providing softness, binding, texture, flavor, and structure to baked goods. When people want to eat a healthy meat, they go first for chicken. It’s cheap, versatile, and everyone loves it. Plus, more and more people are realizing they can raise them in their own backyards to ensure they can have meat and eggs raised in a way that suits their ideals. We let our hens free range and pasture all of our meat chickens, and the meat and eggs are so much better than anything in the grocery store. Chickens are, without a doubt, the hottest farm animal in the U.S. They’re fun to watch, efficient, and, I don’t know if you know this, we also have some chickens.