We decided again this year to butcher the calf at 8 months. From the reading we have done, we found out this is categorized as “baby beef.” We do this because we have no pasture at all, so we have to buy all the hay we feed. And with our current drought hay is expensive. The weight gain to wait another ten months or so doesn’t justify the cost to feed that long. So this is why we do it this way.
I must admit that it wasn’t as emotionally difficult this year as it was last year. Maybe because it wasn’t our first time? To read about last year’s butchering click here.
Three things were different this year. First, the calf is a JLow (miniature Jersey x Lowline) so it is a miniature, and it is also half beef breed. Last year our calf was a purebred full-size Jersey (dairy breed). The second difference this year was that we decided to leave the calf intact, so he was a bull. Last year’s calf was a steer. The third thing was that this year’s calf is being butchered after a couple of months of hard winter, last year’s steer was butchered in summer.
Here is what we were able to harvest from our 8-month-old JLow bull calf:
- 102 lbs of meat (steak, roast, ground, & stew meat)
- 22 lbs of soup bones
- 10 lbs of dog food
- This year my dad requested organ meat, so we also had 6.6 lbs of meat organs
We are very happy with these amounts. Especially since he is a miniature.
Just for comparison, here is what we got off the same age Jersey steer last year:
- 110 lbs meat
- 34 lbs soup bones
- 22 lbs dog food
Yet again, we weren’t able to age the meat since it is so cold out that even in any of our outbuildings the meat will freeze overnight. But last year’s beef was great and it wasn’t aged, so we are OK with that.
It feels so good to have all that meat in the freezer! And yet again, we raised our own grass-fed, homegrown, antibiotic-free beef!