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Country Discussion Topics
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What to do with a calf
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Griz    Posted 11-16-2004 at 07:07:37       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I had purchased 2 black angus this past spring for a winter butchering. Well, as luck would have it, one of them dropped a calf on me. Well, when all was said and done I ended up keeping the calf which is now approaching 4 months of age. Mother and sister are going to be going to the butcher here real soon, within the next 5 weeks.

The calf is obviously part black angus but he has a lot of brown in him as well so who knows what his actual make up is. Anyways, he was on the mom for about 12 weeks and is now completely weaned and eating strictly corn with cotton husks, no grass, hay etc and is doing very good (in other words he's eating what mom is who is being fed out).

So, here's my question. He's 300lbs now and is a fast growing bull. If I were to keep on this finishing feed, what would he taste like when he hits 600-700 lbs? Would I not get much marbeling etc because he would still obviously be growing or would I end up with a nice finished product? Any other suggestions as to what I can do to make sure he tastes good? I really would prefer to butcher him vs selling. He is intact at the moment as well.


Oliver    Posted 11-16-2004 at 13:49:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
He would have been a lot easier to cut at 1 or 2 days of age, than he's going to be now at 300#. Guess you will need to hire it done now. If you have any doubts about what he's going to taste like later, now would be the time to turn him into cash. Don't feed him and mess with him over the winter, let someone else do it. If however you are going to be in the market for some meat by the time he is to be finished, and you think he looks tasty, I'd keep him. If you do that I think I would back off the grain some for a while and let him do some growing on hay, then get back on the grain to finish him out. You keep him on grain from now till he's finished and he's going to be expensive beef.

screaminghollow    Posted 11-16-2004 at 07:28:28       [Reply]  [No Email]
Some of the experimental university stuff I read, is that cattle can put on more marbling and fat from three to six months than the last few months before slaughter, and at less feed than at the end of the growing out. In addition, some dairy breeds are known for having better marbling than beef breeds. We raise quite a few Jersey and jersey cross bull calves for meat. We get them in summer, get them weaned by Thanksgiving and feed them heavy on grain through winter. Then the next spring, summer and fall they are just on grass. They seem to have pretty fair marbling in the steaks. The hamburg is kind of lean, but we prefer it that way.
I have heard that some of the smaller eastern butcher shops actually prefer to get some of the leaner Dairy animals in for meat, they can mix in the leftover fat from heavy beef breeds and stretch the hamburger they make and sell.
I read an article by Bob Evans (Down on the Farm Guy) in the old Southern States, Cooperative Farmer Magazine about ten yrs ago. He thought jerseys were the best marbled beef there was naturally. He also said the best beef came from half angus and half jersey. (Jangus??) The problem with some dairy breeds for meat is that they tend to have yellowish fat.

We butcher the Jerseys at about 15 to 18 months when they weigh about 700 to 800 lbs. They are still tender. My wife says, at that age they are between veal and beef.

I'd raise your boy up. He didn't cost you much, and you've already been feeding him heavy on grain so he should be well marbled. The butcher can tell if he'll make for good meat when they slaughter him. If not, you can gat all hamburger.

Ron/PA    Posted 11-16-2004 at 07:15:10       [Reply]  [No Email]
Griz, first of all, your brown may well be Jersey, alot of breeders will breed to jersey so they keep the size of the first calf to a minimum and reduce the stress on the mom.
As far as the quality of the meat, I doubt that you will get any marble effect at 700 lbs. It's just too young and he will still be putting all of his feed into growth. No matter what you do, I'd change his life style and castrate him. That's just my opinion from past experience.
Good luck

mike    Posted 11-16-2004 at 07:54:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
after several close calls w/ bulls including one w/ a 2yr old ayrshire bull who REALLY wanted to kill me I'd suggest steering the lad. when they get to the point that they put their nose on the ground and start "growling" at you head to the nearest phone and make an appt. fer him to be processed into smaller more managable packages. as a lad I used to be able to outrun or outfight em, at 40 I'd prefer to avoid the fight...

Fern(Mi)    Posted 11-16-2004 at 07:21:39       [Reply]  [No Email]
Ron has my vote on this one. If ya want his taste to have a bite to it, ya really need to keep him 12>14 months when his body matures.

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