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Country Discussion Topics
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Raising Butcher Calf
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GregCo    Posted 01-21-2005 at 08:55:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
The last few years we have gotten very spoiled with having good meat in the freezer. Some friends of ours would raise up a few a year for friends and family and it was always very good. This year they were unable to do it again and I am considering doing my own after getting a few steaks from the grocery store the other day. They tasted nasty and were tough.
Any pointers on doing this would be great. I guess I am looking for care and feeding instructions as well as selecting the animal to start with. I have raised plenty of goats but never a beef cow and am just not sure where to start.


RN    Posted 01-21-2005 at 17:03:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
If you can get a angus/holstein cross from a dairy herd and have a milk goat available, feed the goat milk to the calf or let the calf nurse directly off the goat until eating solid feed and hay. Single calf running with a couple kids won't be lonely and trouble maker any worse than the goats, herd animals like company, stay calmer. RN.

Oliver    Posted 01-21-2005 at 14:33:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
I'm afraid I have to disagree. There is a reason beef cattle are called "BEEF" cattle. It is because they are breeds better suited to producing BEEF (bovine meat for human consumption) than are the "DAIRY" cattle breeds, that are better for producing milk. For sure there is a price difference between those calves. Would anyone care to guess why that is? If you said the beef breeds are higher because they are more desirable, you are correct? Can you take a dairy calf and grow it up to be good tasting meat? Yes you can, but you won't get as much of it per pound of food put in, as you will with a beef breed calf. Now if the guy next door has dairy calves, and you know his stock to always look good, and you will have to drive a hundred miles to buy beef calves you know nothing about, then I'd say the smart thing is to go ahead and buy the calves next door. But, if you ever get a chance to take 2 calves the same size, one beef and one dairy, and raise them side by side, treat them just the same all the way to and through the butcher shop, and then set down to a plate of each, I'll bet you several dollars you will be able to tell the difference in those 2 pieces of meat, and then double or nothing the beef breed will taste better.

mike    Posted 01-21-2005 at 09:05:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
w/ you having goat experience it's pretty common far as breed selection I'd go w/ a crossbeed. coincidentally we are cutting up a hereford-holstien cross this afternoon,always been good for us.other folks can get more technical w/ what and how much to feed but i will leave you w/ one thought. it takes no longer to raise 2 or 3 vs one and mayhaps you could sell off the extra "organic freeezer beef" and end up w/ a free or lo-cost beef in your freezer. also watch how full you get your freezer, at my house beef kept much over a year gets an off/ bad flavor. good luck and have fun

screaminghollow    Posted 01-21-2005 at 09:47:48       [Reply]  [No Email]
We've been raising our own for 5 yrs now. Beef calves can be expensive to buy, especially if already started. I have a deal with a dairy farm and they sell me their jersey bull calves and the jersey cross calves for $20 each. Jerseys can have pretty good marbleing although they don't get very big. For some reason jersy cows tend to be pretty gentle to handle, Jersey bulls tend to be more unruly than other bulls. There seems to be a market developing for the leaner dairy steers. A few local butcher shops like them because the beef steers have too much fat and the excess fat can be mixed with the ham burger from the leaner dairy breed steers.

Our hamburger from Jersey bulls tend to have barely enough fat to fry it up in the pan. When making taco's etc, there isn't any fat to drain off. Our cholesterol counts have been rather low since we switched to raising our own, even though we are eating much more meat now.

Between the cost of buying the calf, the milk replacer, feed and butchering costs, I figure the meat runs a dollar a pound. That is for the hamburger and the steaks and roasts,

Storey Publications sells several beginner books about raising calves, they are available at most TSC stores.

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