Raising Holstein Bull Calf

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Tango, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I'm picking up two day-old Holstein bull calves in a couple of weeks. we're not growing them out very big- probably not over 6 months- possibly not over 4 months. I read the archives about castration and just want to make sure I understand. I can grow my bull calves without castrating them and the meat will be without taint? If I did this with my pigs I wouldn't be able to eat the meat and I would be very ticked if I raised two bull calves to 6 months of age, butchered them myself, and then had to give the dogs everything. I'd like to hear everyone's opinions on this. Seems that some people have more sensitive noses to certain smells. Thanks :)
     
  2. Sandhills

    Sandhills Well-Known Member

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    Tango,
    We used to have a holstein dairy. We have butchered 2 year old bulls and the meat tasted just fine to us. These were bulls we had used for breeding purposes and they had gotten too mean to handle. We had the butcher hang the meat for 3 weeks under those special lights. A Holstein won't put on as much fat as a beef breed so our ground meat was lean, but I prefer it that way.
    Anyway, we never had a problem with the meat tasting off.
     

  3. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Sandhills. I'd rather not put them through unnecessary mutilation in their short lives. 21 days seems to be the magic number in terms of hanging. I'll have to call the local meat locker to see how much they'll charge me. How about quartering and letting it age in the fridge?
     
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Tango, the quantity if meat from the holstein will probably overwhelm the fridge. I seriously doubt that you can hold the desired temperature. Meat from a bull under 24 months should not be detectable from a steer.
     
  5. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. Yeah, you're right :) It was one of those crazy thoughts I'm prone to have. :)
     
  6. milkstoolcowboy

    milkstoolcowboy Farmer

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    In many European countries, Holstein bulls are raised to about 1000 lbs. and butchered. You wouldn't have to castrate the bulls, and chances are they'd be pinched or banded rather than knife-cut.

    Even then, however, these animals are not finished. Most Holstein steers take, at a minimum, 15 months to finish, even when fed high-energy rations.

    I don't understand why you'd get two Holstein bull calves and only feed them to 4-6 months of age. If you're worried about having too much meat, two animals aren't necessary, and neither is a breed that will finish heavy.

    I'm about ready to faint for suggesting this, but a Dexter would make sense for finishing at a light weight. I think they might finish around 450 lbs and yield about 275-280 lbs. of freezer beef.
     
  7. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I can't see myself handling a 1000 lb. carcass, even with a hydraulic lift. These little guys are raised all over the place here and don't look scrawny at 6 months. There's just no way I can get close to the price with another breed. I can get twenty Holstein bull calves for what I might be able to find one sorry-looking Dexter. Dexter's go for $1K here :eek: and if I can find them older I have to promise not to eat them (no big deal but I'm looking for food and don't want to make that promise) Beef breeds and cross breeds go for a lot more money than the dairy males. I want two so they can keep each other company :) and so I can butcher one earlier for the dogs and get a little cutting experience on the carcass :) before I cut ours. It is a first for me so we'll see. At least we can eat our mistakes :)
     
  8. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

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    Tango, I agree. We live in Dairyland, as a matter of fact the town right next to us is named Dairyland. We can get holstien bull calves for $75-$100 at a few days old. We got our first last year. and slaughtered him at 10 months. We did band castrate him. The meat was very tasty but tough,I gather from the responses I got , the hang time is important. We only were able to hang for a few days. Next time We will keep for 15 months and hang for 3 weeks.
    steff
     
  9. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

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    Almost forgot. What if you did have adequate space in a refrdgerator. Could you cut and age the meat in it? I have about ten full size fridges in my yard, we have apts, so the are easy to come by.That would be a great space saver.
    steff
     
  10. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    That's our case here as well. We have several large dairies in this county and several smaller ones. We also have beef cattle ranches but they aren't selling calves for $50 - $80. Good luck with you next calf :)
     
  11. Patty0315

    Patty0315 Well-Known Member

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    We never hang anything that young for more than a few days. Beef is not like pork , the males do not taint the meat. And I fully understand about male pigs left intact{gross tasting and smelling}. At 4-6 months they are not going to be beef. They are going to taste at best like a cross between beef and veal. I would try to keep them to a year, I think you will be much happier with the meat. As long as they are "finished" the meat should not be tough. I finish mine by putting them in a smaller pen for 6 weeks. They get all the hay they want plus corn.
     
  12. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Patty. I called a local butcher and they told me they hang the beef by the amount of fat it has. the less fat the less hang time. She told me something that young would be about 7 days max. We'll be taking it to the locker to hang since I have no facilities for that here. We'll see how it goes with the first one and make the decision for the second one by that. I'll need to get all my son's friends here to help put it on the hydraulic lift if we decide to go to a year or more. Maybe I can ask a neighbor how he does it. Thanks :)