finishing off a bull

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Jim East Tn, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. Jim East Tn

    Jim East Tn Well-Known Member

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    I have absolutely no knowledge whatsoever concerning cattle, so please excuse the sheer lunacy of this question.

    I have an "extra" Black Angus bull on a friends' pasture that I bought in early Spring for $500 dollars when he weighed about 500lbs. He has done well this Summer, and is scheduled to go to the slaughter house this Christmas.

    If only he has access to the feed-how long, and how much of what type feed should I buy to fatten him up some--I do have access to a local co-op for feed.

    Appreciate the help.
     
  2. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Start slow with grain, about 10 percent, oats is best grain to start with. gradually bump up the grain (get a good ration from your feedmill) . At around 6 weeks I'd have him at about 75% grain (by weight). For the best carcass I'd feed for 90 days.
     

  3. Jim East Tn

    Jim East Tn Well-Known Member

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  4. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Should have added, watch for bloat. If the belly swells up like a ballon you need to get the gas out in a hurry. A garden hose down the throat will usually do the trick, but sometimes you need to poke a hole. This info is not to scare you, just a warning. As long as you increase grain slowly, there should be no problems.
     
  5. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hey, he's a young bull on grass, he'll be good eating just as he is. In view of the considerable nutritional value of grass fed beef, do you really want to throw grain into him and lose the value of the omega three fats he's stored up? If he were mine, and I was going to process him, I'd take him right off of pasture and put him in the freezer the way he is. It's one of the best benefits of raising your own beef.

    Jennifer
     
  6. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jen, the several hundred lbs of beef he will gain from finishing is well worth it. If you want to eat dry lean beef have at it, but for me, give me a prime (or at least choice) chunk of beef.
     
  7. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jim,

    Do you have your appointment with the butcher? It's awfully hard to find a butcher that will process cattle during hunting season. You may have to wait until March.

    Genebo
    Paradise Farm
     
  8. Philip

    Philip Philip

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    Jennifer - I'm with you. Why push grain into a perfectly good beast. Does the extra weight justify the extra cost. If its not needed, why do it. Another disadvantage of grain feeding will be the loss of flavour of the meat (more grain = more bland taste)
     
  9. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ya know Phil, the reason a lot of people homestead is that they are sick of social engineers telling them what to do. Get him fat as a tick bud, love crispy steak fat.
     
  10. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    Blah! I much prefer the lean, grass fed beef as well. It does take some getting used to if you've never had it before but once you've gotten used to it, you'll never go back to that bland store bought stuff. We use some grain on top of the pasture to finish but nothing like you're talking about.
     
  11. VTdairy

    VTdairy Just Graduated

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    Didn't take me getting used to! The first time I had grassfed I was hooked. The flavor was much richer and there was no fat to drain off like there usually is. You just have to be more careful cooking because it can dry out easier.
     
  12. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Some people don't mind butchering a bull, but I don't like the taste of it. I would grain him at least 90 days, but it's up to you. I bought some grass fed beef once and it was like eating venison. Now I grain for at least 90 days and prefer 120. From what I have read not every breed of cattle makes good grass fed meat.

    Bobg
     
  13. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    Then you too can be a heart attack waiting to happen!
    Seriously, grass-fed beef is actually heart healthy.
     
  14. Philip

    Philip Philip

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    Well, stuff me sideways. I've been called a lot of things but never a 'social engineer'. However, the practice of 'finishing' seems to be a north american one that perhaps originated in areas where there was an excess of summer cropping and a dearth of winter feed, and over time that rationale has been lost and it has become a practice in its own right ?
    Being raised in a 'grass-based husbandry' culture means that the concept of feeding over and above available pasture to achieve a milder-tasting product is not one that I look on as a natural progression for an animal to reach slaughter weight. Still, whatever tickles your fancy, as me old dad used to say
     
  15. JulieLou42

    JulieLou42 Well-Known Member

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    Two weeks before you plan to have him processed, if he's been on some bit of grain all along...say 2qts dry daily [mine was on his mother's dairy COB w/molasses]...increase his ration to 7qts. dry, rolled BARLEY; that'll work out to about 8#, given in 2-4# doses. Be sure he has his hay on his stomach first so as not to cause bloat. If he does bloat, TAKE HIM OFF ANY FEED AND GET HIM MOVING, MAKE HIM WALK OR RUN...SPRAY WATER ON HIM IF NEEDED...TO MAKE HIM PASS WIND OR MANURE. I've done this with my cow just about whenever she's turned out in the spring on new grasses, and it works like a charm.

    I say use BARLEY because there were trials done with nearby ranchers two years ago and that turned them out best; but the were "open-fed." I couldn't do that because mine shared pasture with his mother.

    It was a brother [hay provender] of one of the ranchers involved that suggested I do this upon my asking about how to proceed and my telling him how old the steer was and when I planned to butcher him.

    My 1/2 Saler, 1/8 Red Angus, 3/8 Guernsey steer was 16.5 months when slaughtered, and his hanging weight/dressed out weight was 688#...i.e., no head, no lower legs, no hide, no guts. I'll pick him up this afternoon.