Raising Your Own Meat – Is it Hard to Eat an Animal You Raised?
They start out so cute.
The kids spend sunny afternoons in the fields with the tiny calves.
I can’t imagine a person who wouldn’t fall in love with a baby cow.
Just so cute.
They grow fast. Before you know it your sweet, darling, bottle calf is 10 months old and charging at anything red.
When our first beef calf, Henry, reached 10 months old he weighed 700 pounds. Henry still loved to play and thought everyone wanted to play with him. I have 4 children who chose life. So Henry had to go.
Henry was 1/2 Jersey, 1/2 Belted Galloway. From the day he was born everyone knew his destiny. He was a great calf and a wonderful help with the milking, however, in the end he was always intended to be food for our family.
For us, this is an essential part of homesteading. We are passionate about clean food. So that we can know where our meat comes from and how it is raised, we have chosen to raise (most of) it ourselves. This means that eventually the animals we raise have to die. This was Henry’s fate.
Henry was never weaned from Faith. He was nursing the day he left the farm. He ate his mothers milk for the entire 10 months of his life.
I’ve heard that people call this “Milk & Meadow.”
I call it, “DELICIOUS.”
The good news is that when day comes to say good bye to most of the animals that are destined for the freezer, they are usually sufficiently obnoxious.
Really, we have raised animals that I personally wanted to shoot in the head myself. Please, let me shoot him.
Like…… the 17 pigs I was sharing a farm with last summer. Ugh. For more on that go here.
Anyhow, everyone around here is usually bidding the livestock farewell, wishing them the best and happy to see them move on when it’s time for them to go.
So……. Henry went to the processor (because I don’t want to process my own cow).
When I went to pick the meat up from the processing plant they wanted to know what we had fed him. The butcher was over 70 years old and had never seen a steer (as young as ours) with that much fat on him in his life. He wanted to know what kind of feed would produce results that amazing. I told him, he was raised on milk & grass.
He was stunned & we were pleasantly surprised with our freezer stock.
Never before have I had better beef.
Everyone asked my kids if they were sad about Henry. The truth is that Henry was scary to them. He was no longer a cute little calf. He stomped the ground. He charged anything colorful. He bucked everything. He rammed his 200 pound skull into whatever was in front of him. The only one sad to see him go was my oldest daughter.
She knew that without Henry, she was back to milking twice a day!