Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Where’s the beef?

On May 14, 2007, our Guernsey, Josey, gave birth to Chucky Joe, a little bull calf. It’s been something watching him grow during the last 19.5 months. I banded him when he was a couple of months old (he was just about too big at the time) in order to make a steer out of him. We’ve raised him for beef. Sometime in the next two weeks, we’ll butcher him. I know that to some that may sound like a harsh thing, but that’s what he was created for – to become beef (and to provide the materials to make two powder horns).

Chucky has lived a good life. He’s had plenty of grass and hay to eat and good clean water to drink. He’s gotten to be with or near his mother his whole life. In fact, he still nurses. Chucky JoeShe never kicked him off. It’s something to see a 900+ pound steer nursing. Josey is just too patient and kind to wean him. I tried to wean him, but it just didn’t work because Josey wouldn’t help. Even those weaner things you put on a calf’s nose didn’t work. He found a way to work around it. I even kept the two of them separate for two and a half months, but when they were together again, it was like they’d never been apart. Finally, I gave up.

If we put off killing Chucky for beef until next winter, I’m sure we’d get more out of it. He’s got the frame to grow quite a bit more, but, I don’t want to keep feeding him for another year. So, his time is coming soon. Dad, Danny, and I will do the job. Mom and Anne will help with the processing, too. We got fewer deer this year than usual, but with the addition of the beef from Chucky, we’ll have enough meat for the coming year.

We don’t buy and eat conventionally raised and processed meat from the store. The way animals are treated and raised and what they are fed and injected with in order to provide that unnaturally-colored meat in the supermarket is horrible. I don’t want to consume it, let alone support the industry and its practices.

I want to know how my meat is raised. I want the animal from which it comes to live a good live, eating good food, and to not be filled with antibiotics and hormones. A cow is not meant to eat a diet of corn and corn products; it is a grass eater. Chucky has eaten grass and hay his whole life; he has lived naturally. The meat we get from him will be healthful and will have been gotten in an ethical, humane fashion. And, apart from some labor and a little fuel and string for making bales of hay to feed him, it’s free meat. In my book, that’s good.

8 comments:

small farm girl

I completely agree with you on feeding cattle grass and only grass. That's what we feed our cattle. They taste different too.

dp

When I was teaching on campus, I used to make comments about eating flesh (at the time we didn't eat meat because we weren't raising our own) and what is fed to animals in the commercial feed lots. The usual response was something along the lines of, "Don't tell me. I don't want to know because then I couldn't eat it."

Our primary meat the last 5 or 6 years has been venison. We've also had goat and lamb that we've raised before. It'll be nice to have our first farm-raised beef!

Anonymous

Hey Darryl,

not sure if you are still checking the Cedar Creek blog so I thought I would try to catch you here. Came across this yesterday and thought it may be of interest to you.

http://www.greenplanethomes.ca/greenpanels.htm

Looks like a really neat way to do straw bale infill in sections without the worry of weather.

Hope all is well.

Wade

dp

Thanks, Wade! I appreciate the link. I saw something about these panels a while back. I'm going to read more about them.

Hey, when are you starting your blog? :)

A Maine Homestead

You are going to love your beef. We won't eat any meat from the grocery store, either because of the conditions the poor animals have to put up with. Have you seen the movie Food. Inc? We just got it from Netflix. It's a great movie.

dp

Actually, just last night I looked into renting "Food, Inc." to watch online. Anne and I will probably watch it within the next week.

Before we bought our place here in Kentucky, we briefly considered some property in Washington County Maine that we saw listed online, but it was a long way away from family.

A Maine Homestead

I think you will enjoy the movie (or it will make you sick!)

Wade

Hey Darryl,

Starting a blog....hmm...not sure when I will get around to doing that. I really have to start moving on deciding if I am going to do a timber frame or not. I guess the confidence is just not there.

Stay tuned, it may just happen

Wade

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