Author Topic: How much meat from 6 month jersey calf & butchering costs?  (Read 5994 times)

sc12011

  • Joined May 2011
Hi, im new   :wave: and never owned cattle before so go easy on me please  :)

Im thinking of getting a pair of jersey/guernsey bull calves to raise for meat. Whilst i understand that i wont get the same meat as a beef calf, apparently jersey beef is quite tasty from what ive heard, and i dont want to be totally overwhelmed with meat! so im quite keen to give them a try. so, a couple of questions....

1) how much should a pay for young jersey bull calves? or will farmers want to give them away for free? Ive read lots of articles about dairy bull calves being shot at birth, but i dont know if this is still the case?

2)how much meat would i get from a 6 month old jersey calf?

3)how much would it cost to slaughter and butcher said calf at this age? it there a flat fee per animal or does it depend on weight/age  etc?

4) would it be practical to keep them with horses? I have a 3yo pony who is quite playfull, should i be more worried about the calves or the pony?

Oh...and im in norfolk/suffolk, incase anone local has anything suitable?......

thanks for any advice you can give  ;D

sc12011

  • Joined May 2011
Re: How much meat from 6 month jersey calf & butchering costs?
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2011, 11:41:35 am »
......or should i just get a beef calf?....

darkbrowneggs

  • Joined Aug 2010
    • TheBusPhoebeandMe
Re: How much meat from 6 month jersey calf & butchering costs?
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2011, 12:49:56 pm »
Hello and welcome from Sue in Worcestershire.   :wave:

Probably someone else will be along with advice soon, but I assume you are thinking of  Jersey calves as they will be free/cheap but don't forget the costs of rearing and slaughter and transporting and bedding and housing will all be the same

When I kept Jerseys I found they were very slow maturing, so if you are intending to slaughter  as rose veal maybe Friesians might be a better option, but if I was considering this myself as a novice I would get a book on cattle, and work out some figures re housing, straw, feeding buckets etc.  Contact your local feed merchants and get a costing on milk powder and calf rearing nuts, find where you might get a bit of hay from etc etc.

Find your nearest abattoir and get costing on slaughter and butchery, then factor in transport costs.  If it is just for fun/interest then you will still need to have everything in place prior to their arrival, but whether it is cost effective won't really matter.

I hadn't kept cattle when I bought my first in-calf cow, and probably was not as organized as I might have been, but we got by (just) and I am a quick learner - thankfully.  The first book I got was Cows for the Smallholder by Valerie Porter, though there was not a lot of choice in this type of book at the time.  And make friends with a local farmer.

All the best with it
Sue
To follow my travel journal see http://www.thebusphoebeandme.us

For lots of info about Marans and how to breed and look after them see www.darkbrowneggs.info

sc12011

  • Joined May 2011
Re: How much meat from 6 month jersey calf & butchering costs?
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2011, 02:31:40 pm »
Hi Sue, thanks for replying  :)

Ive had the horses/land for years so im ok with finding hay/straw etc, i will look into milk powder and feed costs.

If im getting them soon, would they not be able to be reared in the field for most of the summer?, keeping them inside just to start off when they are small? or would they not really grow well like this?

I was thinking of jerseys for the inital cost, and whilst it is definately a hobby, i would like a reasonable amount of meat in 6 months, so maybe a beef breed would suit me better...

Would it be acceptable to keep just one calf (with a pony) or do they really need more of their own kind? Whilst it will end on on the table, i would like it to have a happy outdoor life with company
Thanks for the book suggestion, ill look it up :)


Also, has anyone heard of/ know much about Bazadaise cattle? Ive just come across them, apparently they are very good for beef, fatten well on just grass, are very hardy and live out all winter in harsh climates.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Far North West of England
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: How much meat from 6 month jersey calf & butchering costs?
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2011, 03:13:00 pm »
I can't help with all your questions but I can tell you that up here (north Cumbria), farmers sell holstein and friesian bull calves at the mart.  They fetch £50-£90 -ish at the moment, seemingly being worth rearing as they are large-framed so when grown, even though their backends will be slight compared to a beef crossbreed, there is still quite a bit of meat on there.  They fetch a reasonable price for finishing for this reason so there is profit there for people who have facilities to take them from calf to steer.

The calves which fetch very little - I have seen them offered at £5 - are ayrshire bull calves.  I haven't seen jersey bull calves at the mart but it is likely they are similar to the ayrshires.  My neighbour, an organic dairy farm & cheesemaker, keeps ayrshires and they keep some of the bull calves on to sell as organic beef through their shop and to use in recipes in their organic cafe.

A Jersey dairy farm not far from here processes all their own beef and, like my neighbour, sells it in their shop and uses it in recipes in their cafe.  I have had some of their meat and found it tremendous, full of flavour.

Guernseys are larger animals than jerseys, you would get more meat off a guernsey.  Although neither of them will be very big at 6 months old. If you are looking at slaughtering so young for veal, fine, but if it is to keep the amount of meat low you may be better looking at someone to take half (or two to take a quarter each) off you.  If it is just that you don't want to wait till 2013 then you could look at buying part-grown animals - our local mart sells calves at a few weeks, a few months, at weaning and at pretty much every age thereafter and in between.  In fact, it could be a good idea to start with a slightly older pair before buying young calves - they are notoriously difficult to keep healthy when they are very young.  Older animals would cope with your playful pony better too (but make sure you get ones without horns!), and then he would get used to calves before you got some younger ones.

On slaughter / butchery costs, it is worth talking to your local butcher (if you have one.)  He or she may offer you an all-in slaughter and butchery price, or may be able to do a price per kilo - which could be a better option if you are looking at a smaller animal.

Oh, you have just posted again so I'll pick up on some of the later questions too.

Calves will appreciate access to grass in good weather yes.  But they don't like to be wet so you need good shelter.  As they don't have mum to take care of them they would probably be best being brought inside if the weather is wet or cold while they are very young.  Like lambs, they get cold quickly and you don't want young calves getting wet and cold.  Indoor accommodation needs to be clean, dry, very well ventilated.

Cattle are herd animals and any bovine will be utterly miserable without another bovine for company, ideally of a similar age and size.

Bazadaise - yes, we use a Bazadaise on some of our cows.  The calves are a tremendous shape and do not need much cake, no.  But when people talk about fattening on grass, not needing much cake, etc, they are probably talking about a calf being reared on a suckler cow and getting ma's milk till 8 months old.   If you are rearing on milk powder to 3 months you will, I think, need to be feeding cake to 6 months - although someone nearer to you should comment as I expect your grass is quite different to ours!

The other thing about Bazadaise - or any continental breed - is that the temperament may be a little flighty up to downright bolshy.  Some are calm and steady but some are not.  You would be safer with an Angus or Hereford cross, I think, unless you know a farmer who can vouch for the temperament of his Bazadaise cross calves.  Angus or Hereford cross should outwinter ok too.  (Don't forget that the mother's breed will also impact the hardiness; if you are looking at a calf from a dairy cow her breed will probably be less hardy.)

I'm sorry I think I have maybe given you more to think about and not very many answers!

BTW, I have that same Valerie Porter book and can recommend it too.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

sc12011

  • Joined May 2011
Re: How much meat from 6 month jersey calf & butchering costs?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2011, 05:46:20 pm »
Sally - wow, thankyou so much for your help, you've definately given me a lot to think about.

I think you might be right in that slightly older animals may be best. Im starting to think a couple of 3-6 month old calves would be a better plan, (and possibly buying an extra freezer  ;) )

Do you think heifers would be better than bull calves for this situation (if beef cattle)? I assume they may be quieter and not as big as bulls?

Do you know a rough amount of meat you can expect from a 7-8 month old beef calf?

Eventually I would love to have a house cow, (I have my heart set on a guernsey for this), then crossing her with a beef bull each year for meat. I thought it might be sensible to start by raising a calf or two before i dive right in.


robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: How much meat from 6 month jersey calf & butchering costs?
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2011, 06:30:06 pm »
i dont think your idea is in your best interests        a dairy calve will not flesh out the same as a beef cross or pure beef (you can get them)
also to kill at such an early age is a waste         it is harder to rear a calve from a few days old rather than an older one (without its mother)
dont get bulls especially dairy ones :farmer:

sc12011

  • Joined May 2011
Re: How much meat from 6 month jersey calf & butchering costs?
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2011, 06:59:36 pm »
thanks robert, im starting to think you may be right.

so possibly a couple of 3-6 month beef heifers would be the best way to go....

how many big freezers would i need for two 8-10 month old heifers?  ???

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: How much meat from 6 month jersey calf & butchering costs?
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2011, 07:57:39 pm »
I'd agree with most that's gone before. Rearing dairy bulls - usually killed about 15 months - is a specialist enterprise. One, the bulls can be dangerous, two, they are usually kept intensively and fed a high grain ration - many are never at grass as they don't fatten on it. The calves are fed milk to about 6 weeks, then a concentrate diet.

You might be better buying a couple of beef heifers or steers at weaning, as store cattle, about 8 months. They should be fat at maybe 20 months off grass - but remember, you will have to feed and house them through one winter at least, depending on when you buy and slaughter them. There's another thread on here about how much beef you get from a steer - maybe you can find it.

sc12011

  • Joined May 2011
Re: How much meat from 6 month jersey calf & butchering costs?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2011, 08:36:04 pm »
Thanks rosemary, do you think i would see much growth from 3-8 months of age, if i had them from say june-oct/nov, as they could then spend all day grazing, with supplemented feed. I would rather have something that can live out free range than in a barn for most of the time i have it, which id imagine would need to happen over winter?

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: How much meat from 6 month jersey calf & butchering costs?
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2011, 08:44:21 am »
I think it's that you won't GET a beef suckler calf at 3 months - they don't wean them until 7/8 months.

You could try and get a couple of beef x dairy heifers or bullocks (ie castrated) at a few days old, bucket rear them to 6-8 weeks, then put them on grass until you want to kill them. I've no idea what yield of meat you'd get - probably not optimum - but if it's only for the freezer, it wouldn't matter. Otherwise you might be better raising them on bucket then grass then selling them as stores for further fattening to someone who doesn't mind keeping them inside and using the money to buy some locally sourced beef.

TBH, I think cattle are OK inside overwinter so long as they have company, decent housing, food and water and room to move about. Cattle are pretty easy pleased, I think. But obviously housing brings its own issues. We had our Shetland heifers housed over winter and they did well and seemed content - in fact they still ask to come in. One of the downsides is the mucking out of the house, which I'm off to start today  ::)

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Far North West of England
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: How much meat from 6 month jersey calf & butchering costs?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2011, 10:54:56 am »
Castrated bullocks - stirks they call 'em up here - are what you want.  Heifers will only start 'bulling' - and if there's a bull, or even other cows, anywhere nearby they are likely to take off in search of sex!

I see that you want to be putting meat in your freezer as soon as possible but it seems a shame and a waste to slaughter such young beasts.  We sold a homebred 3/4 Angus bullock to our local butcher last winter.  He was fattened on grass with just a little cake over the last couple of months.  He was 24 months old when he was slaughtered and we were paid for 386kg deadweight.  Ideally he should have gone a couple of months earlier, at 350kg deadweight, but with the snow and then Christmas (so the butcher was too busy!) we had to run him on that bit longer.

We have sent the odd bullock at around 14 months old to be sold 'in the fat' when the vet has recommended they not be kept on any longer (one had the cattle equivalent of ingrowing toenails so kept going lame, for instance.)  So that's probably a realistic earliest to get 'em butched.

Rosemary posted since I started this and I'd agree with everything she said.  I suspect that Angus or Hereford crossbreds out of Friesians or similar dairy cows would be likely to outwinter ok in your part of the world provided they have shelter.  

Let us know what you decide and how you get on!

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

sc12011

  • Joined May 2011
Re: How much meat from 6 month jersey calf & butchering costs?
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2011, 11:28:28 am »
Castrated bullocks - stirks they call 'em up here - are what you want.  Heifers will only start 'bulling' - and if there's a bull, or even other cows, anywhere nearby they are likely to take off in search of sex!

This sounds sensible, especially as our neighbouring farmer often has cattle in the next door fields! (which have, incidentally, jumped over into our fields before!)

Let us know what you decide and how you get on!

I will do, thankyou all very much for your advice  ;D


Paul Sill

  • Joined Jan 2009
Re: How much meat from 6 month jersey calf & butchering costs?
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2011, 09:45:31 pm »
A British Blue would also be a good breed plenty of meat and they finish well but the down side to that is the calves are expensive.

 

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