Finishing/Fattening Your Homegrown Beef

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Ken Scharabok, Dec 23, 2005.

  1. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    If you do anything special to finish/fatten your homegrown beef prior to slaughter, what process do you use and why?

    If you sell to buyers, do you finish it any differently than you do for your own freezer. For example, corn finishing the one(s) to be sold versus grass-finishing your own.

    Do you attempt to do a 'humane kill' (e.g., head down in the feed bucket) or just drop the animal(s) off at the processors?

    (If you have additional questions you would like to see addressed, PM them to me for consideration of adding to the list.)
     
  2. JulieLou42

    JulieLou42 Well-Known Member

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    Feed him 8# rolled barley per day the last two weeks. Ours went three weeks that way, along with his grass/hay and had more fat than we expected!

    Next one will be shot in the pasture, rather than tied to a fence post, if my processor's willing, that is!. It was deer-season opening day and he was in a BIG hurry.

    He tastes just wonderful, anyway!
     

  3. idontno

    idontno Well-Known Member

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    Ken ..I raise Holstien for meat.They get grass and corn silage for the most part.Then when i get 1-2 months to go I put them on fine ground chopped corn.Starting with 1 gal a day and uping it 1/2 gal a day till they are eating 5 gal or so a day each.Some will eat more and some less.Along with all the alfalfa and feed they want.But they take much more than other breeds.If they go off feed you have to start over with small amounts till I get them back to 5 gal.It puts on a nice layer of fat.I kill mine at 20 months.They are big (2000 lbs).and mighty good eatin...... idnotno
     
  4. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

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    all the hay, corn sileage, and shelled corn they can eat from the time they are 500 lb untill they go to slaughter
     
  5. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    All the hay and grass they'll eat and some grain until they're about 15 months old. Then, gradually up the amount of grain until they're eating pretty much all they want until 18 to 20 months old. Usually have a live weight of 1700 to 2000 pounds, depending on the individual steer.
     
  6. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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  7. Jcran

    Jcran Well-Known Member

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    Brewing beer spent grains and the daily bucket of stale beer from the tap at the bar; worked so well when I bartended. Our brewery raised a steer and I still remember that steak; yum. I think the steer (Barley) had it pretty good with all the beer he got to drink each day (about 3-5 gallons a day).
     
  8. francismilker

    francismilker Udderly Happy! Supporter

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    Usually we leave the calves on grass in the pasture with normal care like the others (cake cubes and grass hay in the winter, nothing but grass in the summer) unitl we run low on freezer beef. We then pen them up and feed them GOOD, CLEAN, grass hay and all the corn/alfalfa pellet mixture they can consume (we top dress this with 2 cups unmedicated milk replacer powder a day) for 60 days prior to slaughter.
     
  9. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I run my calves as yearling and then in January start feeding them rolled barley. They end up getting 6 pounds a day along with 25 pounds of orchard grass hay. They have been grading Prime, but don't have all the exterior body fat that most do.

    Bobg
     
  10. robin f

    robin f amplify love

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    francis, i'm intrested to know why top dress this with 2 cups unmedicated milk replacer powder a day) for 60 days prior to slaughter., and what age do you slaughter approx, this is something i have never heard of, i guess it works or you would not do it, but i would like to know why, and what benifits, its intresting, thanks Robin
     
  11. francismilker

    francismilker Udderly Happy! Supporter

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    Robin, I don't slaughter at any particular age or weight. I know that there's a "generic" weight where the packer houses say an animal is finished. But, from what I learned in the animal science books from highschool vo-ag classes, you can tell if a steer is beginning to "finish" when the remainder of his scrotum is beginning to "feel up". Most usually, the animals that I pen up for slaughter are between 12 and 16 months. It depends on the breed for weight.

    On the benefits of it: If you look at the contents on the milk replacer bag, usually it's about 20% protein and 20% fat. From what I've learned from meat judging back in school, you want to have optimum fat thickness back on the animal's 13th rib area and the MR helps the animal to finish out. It may be of no advantage to me, but I seem to be having better than average results with the marbling and outer fat on the steaks in the freezer. It also helps the animal to slick off all the unhealthy, long hair on it's back an helps increase the animals appetite. If a feeder calf has a lot of hair, they are warmer and therefore usually eat less. I generally feed the freezer calves out during January, February, and March when it's still cold.
    Once again, this may be just a waste of time and money as MR is expensive, but I think it helps.
     
  12. sammyd

    sammyd Well-Known Member

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    When corn was 100 a ton I finished 2 steers on whole shell corn and TendRLean for the last 4 months or so. Sold one at market and ate the other. Made some really nice meat.
    Last one we butchered we didn't do anything special just kept her on pasture and about 6 pounds of 14% dairy mix a day. She turned out quite tasty.
    We just had another done but sold both halves so I will have to hear how that went.

    We usually butcher ours at 18 months and get around 600 pounds of meat. If I time it right we only have to feed them through one winter as bigger animals.

    Our first steer we took in to be processed, the last 2 animals we used a different guy that comes to the farm and kills and quarters them there, does the rest at his place.
    The cow doesn't know what's gonna happen, I lead them out towards their truck and the guy pops them with a 22. Quick simple and humane.
     
  13. robin f

    robin f amplify love

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    thanks francis, i may try that, sounds like it would be good, because i love lots of fat on my beef, i always tell the butcher....... DON'T trim the fat off, the only one that didn't have much fat, was a holstien heifer i did last year, the only reason i can think of why she didn't was because she was very flighty and you could not get her to settle, even when she could not see you she was always startling at things, things that were not even there, she hardly seemed to rest, she is pretty good eating but no where near the best.
     
  14. BeltieBandit

    BeltieBandit Cookiecow's Husband

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    We raise registered Belted Galloway breeding stock, so all of the culls we process for our own use, or that of our friends. We have three families living on our farm, so we make a pretty good customer. All of our animals are raised naturally (no implants, hormones, etc) on grass or hay. With the drought and hay shortage, we are using grower rations this winter to suppliment. Under normal circumstances, we raise our "food" animals on pasture alone. Most of the time, they have been 14 to 16 months old, although we have processed culls as old as 12 years. Mostly, they are between 800 and 1000 lbs when we process them regardless of their age. We have learned to put them up 2-6 weeks before processing, because forage-based animals can pick up bad flavors from eating noxious weeds, like wild onions. Because they have very little fat, the bad flavors do not get stored in the animal long-term. Our processor uses humane methods for killing (I personally verified) and will not kill on the same day the animal is dropped off. The stress of handling and hauling can make the meat very tough. I would love for him to hang it for three weeks, but require at least two. The longer it hangs, the more tender the meat. We have learned to have lean beef steaks cut thick (3/4 or more), or they can be tough. Steaks are grilled 4-6 minutes per side. Hamburger requires a little olive oil in the pan. Roasts are best cooked "slow and low". We have our vacumm sealed, which allows them last longer in the freezer.