Friday, July 03, 2009

In answer to a reader's questions:

1. At what age will this calf be in your freezer?

Probably when he's around a year old, maybe older, depending on whether we have plentiful pasture. We won't give him grain or try to fatten him at all; we'll have him mostly put in ground beef except for the organ meats and the fillets, just like we did the last steer.

2. Do you call for someone to slaughter or Cliff does it himself?

Cliff working at the butcher shop in the '70's.

Cliff butchered for many years of his life, so he is capable of doing it; we butchered a couple of hogs in his shop four years ago, and again in 2007.

However, all the years he spent butchering left him with arthritis in his hands and shoulder. If he butchers an animal now, he pays dearly for weeks afterward with pain in his arthritic joints.

And then there's always the risk of a family member losing a digit in the process of helping.

So these days we haul the animal a mile up the road to the local butcher shop.

Muhd, those questions were anything but silly.

If anyone else has questions about milk cows or butchering at home, feel free to ask and I'll edit this entry and add them, along with my answers.

Small Farm Girl asks, "We have beef cattle; can you milk them?"

Indeed you can, if they are gentle enough. However, you'd be robbing the calf. A beef cow normally gives just enough milk for one baby (perhaps one to three gallons a day), and the baby needs all of it. Dairy cows have been bred down through the centuries to give much more milk than a calf needs. Some Holsteins give over ten gallons of milk a day at their peak of production.

Beef cows are, well, beefy; they've been bred so that what they eat goes to beef. That's why they have lots of meat on their bones, whereas dairy cows are bred to utilize their food to make milk. This is why my Jersey is so skinny. If you butcher a dairy cow, the meat is good; but the steaks are small and the meat doesn't have the tendency to marble like a beef animal. One item of interest: the fat on a Jersey, when you butcher her, is yellow, for the same reason a Jersey cow's cream is yellow. I think it's something about the way they convert chlorophyll and beta-carotene, if I remember correctly.


Hollie said...

interesting entry!

small farm girl said...

We have beef cattle. Can you milk them?

Muhd Imran said...

Thanks Donna for taking time to answer my questions.

It is very interesting to know how things are done on a farm and somewhere so far away across the globe from here. Beats TV!

Have a great 4th July celebrations!

Hyperblogal said...

Organic.... the best there is.