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BHM's Homesteading & Self-Reliance Forum
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Go Back   BHM Forum > Homesteading > Animals > Livestock/Horses

Livestock/Horses Cows, sheep, pigs, goats, llamas, and other four-legged friends.

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  #1  
Old 08-03-2012, 02:11 PM
vr1967 Male vr1967 is offline
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Location: Liberty, Mississippi
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Default Butchering of calves

Anyone here slaughter their own cattle? I would like to start, as I have had mine on pure grass (without chicken mess fertilizer, from the hormone raised chicken house chickens) but am worried about taking them somewhere as I might not get MY calf back.

I'm trying to get my family away from all the stuff that is given harmones to grow quickly, like you buy in most stores.

Chickens and hogs are no problem, as my father still helps with the hogs, so I am learning, but neither of have ever done beeves.

Any good books on the subject? Or someone that can point me in the right direction?

Thanks
Virgil
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  #2  
Old 08-03-2012, 03:01 PM
JarDude Male JarDude is offline
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Why are you butchering calves?

Chickens are not raised on hormones. Just sayin.

If you can butcher hogs you can do a beef. Not sure were to point you other then to make sure you age it. A full 2 weeks is best.
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  #3  
Old 08-03-2012, 03:31 PM
vr1967 Male vr1967 is offline
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I'm calling them calves, but that is just a term we always used until they are a few years old. They are between 800-1200 lbs.
You would be surprised at what they feed the chickens in the local chicken houses. I had a good friend that had several houses, and I'll just say that I'll continue to raise my own fryers from now on.
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Old 08-03-2012, 03:48 PM
JarDude Male JarDude is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vr1967 View Post
I'm calling them calves, but that is just a term we always used until they are a few years old. They are between 800-1200 lbs.
You would be surprised at what they feed the chickens in the local chicken houses. I had a good friend that had several houses, and I'll just say that I'll continue to raise my own fryers from now on.
I can tell you they are not feeding them hormones.
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  #5  
Old 08-03-2012, 05:40 PM
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BurntToast BurntToast is offline
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There are a couple books that I recommend, Basic Butchering of Livestock & Game by John J. Mettler & Butchering, Processing and Preservation of Meat by Frank G. Ashbrook

I highly recommend some good instructional videos from a master butcher, it'll save you a lot of frustration in the end and prevent you from forming bad habits.

http://www.thegourmetbutcher.com/

I agree with you on the commercial chicken, it's nothing but garbage!!!!
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  #6  
Old 08-05-2012, 12:52 PM
vr1967 Male vr1967 is offline
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Thanks BurntToast,

My wife mentioned this to one of her firends, and it just so happens that her firend's husband used to run a slaughter house. Said I may be able to get him to show me how to do it. If so, I will have the wife photo it step by step to get the different cuts of meat.
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  #7  
Old 08-07-2012, 12:03 AM
hunter88 hunter88 is offline
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My parents owned a small town locker plant so I grew up in the business. Over the years I've done everything from feed them to eat them, and everything in between. So what I'm about to say comes from experience.

There is one big difference between cattle and hogs. As was mentioned, you really need to age the beef a week to 10 days, while that is not necessary with hogs. So the key is do you have a cool place to hang two beef halves that will weigh close to 300 pounds each. With that much meat at stake you want to make sure it's as good as it can be. Nothing worse then a freezer full of meat that is below average because of poor processing.

I will process 4 or 5 deer a year, maybe more. I have no problem processing my own hog, and still have the old ham and bacon curing recipes from our meat plant days. But even with all my experience and having butchered and cut up hundreds of beef over the years, I would not try it today.

I have a decent grinder that can do 10 pounds a minute, but it really isn't big enough for a beef. I don't have a meat saw, which is not a big deal with hogs or deer. But trying to cut everything by hand with a beef is way too much.

It appears your only concern is will you get your meat back. In my opinion the locker plant owner would have to be a real crook not to give you back your own meat. Now if you take a deer to a processor and want 10 or 15 pounds of sausage made, odds are you won't be getting just your meat back. More then likely he'll make sausage in 100, 200, or 300 pound batches depending on how many deer he gets. So your 10 or 15 pounds goes in with others and you each get the proper amount of meat back, but not necessarily yours.

I don't see this happening with a beef. There would be no need to mix it with meat from another since the meat from one half is enough to do at one time.

If the husband of your wife's friend used to run a plant, he's bound to know who would be good and who to stay away from. Whatever you choose, good luck.
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  #8  
Old 08-07-2012, 01:01 AM
Mom5farmboys Mom5farmboys is offline
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We raised a beef for the freezer this year for the first time in about 20 years. What we did was call a local custom meat processing place and they recommended that we have one of their guys come out to the farm (for an extra $110.00) and kill, skin, and quarter the cow on-site, instead of having someone come out with a cattle trailer and take it live to a slaughter house.

The man who came out to the farm, was very knowledgeable, and explained things to us as went along (I hope he didn't think we were pests). He had his own truck with a water cooling system to keep the meat cold. We took the liver, tongue, and heart the same day he killed the cow. Then he took our cow directly to the processor. He had done 2 steers earlier in the day and once he quarters a beef, he delivered it to the processor so everyone is sure to get their own meat back.

As he explained to us the potential for getting someone elses meat usually happens at the slaughter house. When you have a livestock trailer full of live beef its hard to keep track of whos is whos. Also he said the meat has a better flavor when killed on-site as the cow has no adrenaline rush, because they are being loaded up and moved to a strange place before slaughter.

This may be something you might want to check into.
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  #9  
Old 08-07-2012, 01:27 AM
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BlueJae Female BlueJae is offline
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I had them come to my farm last year for my 2 hogs and a lamb. I'll call the same guys this year for my 2 steers. I'll probably take the lambs in to avoid the farm call fee but it's worth every penny to have them come here for the steers. Last year I paid $35 each for a kill fee, not sure what the beef will be since it's much bigger.
Mom5FarmBoys, I used Earl's Meats out of Holland last year but take my lambs to Guekes'.
I've worked for butchers and every animal that comes in is tagged with a number assigned to the owner so there is no mix ups. The animal you take in is the same animal you take out. The systems are fool proof so there's no way anything gets mixed up.
I worked for small shops and each animal is processed start to finish to freezer before the next one comes through. Usually while I was wrapping the meat the next animal is being cut up. All the meat of the same animal was kept together in a tray, if there was more than one tray then each tray was tagged with the assigned number.
The only exception is sausage, smoked meats, jerky, and other batch type mixes but that is made clear to customers.
I wouldn't worry about not getting your beef back.
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  #10  
Old 08-07-2012, 04:14 PM
hunter88 hunter88 is offline
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Quote:
Also he said the meat has a better flavor when killed on-site as the cow has no adrenaline rush,
Cattle can't sweat, so if a steer gets riled up before killing it can have an affect. Dark red meat is a sign of this. I would assume it has something to do with a change in the blood if the steer gets hot.

We were lucky that our locker plant was located right next to our feedlot. Along with custom work for farmers we fed our own cattle and sold by the half and quarter along with a meat counter. If one of ours got too riled up, we'd kick them back out into the feedlot to calm down and try them again the next week. Usually the next time around, knowing what might happen we left that steer in the feedlot until ready for him. Then brought him straight in to the kill pen so he wouldn't have a chance to get riled up again.

Processing a beef is really no more complicated then a hog or deer. The problem comes with the size. A 1000 pound steer means a 600 pound carcass. That means 2 sides of about 300 pounds each. Even when quartered we're still looking at 150 pound per quarter. Splitting a carcass lengthwise with a hand saw is not real easy either. You're making a cut over 6 feet long, and don't want to vary more then 1/2" either way. About everything else can be tackled by hand saw or knife.

The key will be do you have a cold place to hang the meat while it ages, and a good area to work in while cutting it up. It takes a decent table when you throw a quarter of beef on one. Also how fast can you work. A processor with a man on the saw, a wrapper, and maybe a couple people to bone out the meat can do a half in 30 minutes or more. You don't want a half laying out where it's warm for an hour or more while you cut everything by hand. If you're doing it yourself, you'll need to be able to break down a quarter or half, and then put what you're not working on back in a cold place, keeping only small amounts out while working on it.

I'd say the biggest bottleneck will be grinding the hamburger if you don't have a decent grinder. We bought the grinder we have from Cabelas, it's one of those $400 grinders that can do 10 pounds a minute. Even at that size we have to cut the pieces of meat to about half the size of your fist if not smaller. I'd hate to think how long it would take to grind up the hamburger from a whole beef with the grinder we have. I wouldn't even try with a small table top grinder.
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  #11  
Old 09-21-2012, 03:36 PM
Pitdog Pitdog is offline
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I am lucky, we have a Bilco stainless steel meat bandsaw, and a Hobart meat grinder with a 3x4 foot tub that runs off of 3 phase- it's a hoss. We usually wait until the weather is pretty daggone cold and will be for a while.
I get him in close, he will curiously watch the .38 steady over his head about 6 inches and then it is lights out with a quick stick.
Tractor forks and chain string him up, lift him, and start the real work. Gut, skin and behead. I use a stainless steel blade on a reciprocating saw that is used for no other purpose besides meat and take the hooves off. Then I'll split, the halve the sides and hang it in a dark cold insulated building.
After 10 days or so...... fire it up. Burger, Steak, more steak, roasts, tips, MORE steak.
I love it. I love the meat process. Same with hogs essentially, except I tend to do them in the evening, hang them overnight and start first thing in the morning. (We don't scald anymore like the old days, gut, skin and butcher.)
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