from Spiral Garden
I hope by sharing this I don't upset anyone. I am not up for debate of the ethics of meat-eating. In fact I'm possibly the least likely to know about anything to do with butchering... I haven't eaten much meat at all during my adult life... Some locally-caught fish, homegrown roosters, and very little else. Sometimes for years at a time I ate no meat (or even no animal products) at all.
But now I keep a house cow. To produce milk, a cow has a calf. Lucy's first calf when she came here was a Wagyu-cross male. Unneccessary as a lawn mower and so deemed for the freezer. And so, at 20 months old this week, his time was up.
Wags as a new calf
Basically for us the process so far:
1. obtain a beef-cross calf (via Lucy, but there are other ways of obtaining cattle)
2. late weaning apparently promotes tastier beef, as does early castration
3. allow him access to abundant food (for us, grass) and water from birth
4. treat naturally for flies and ticks using neem oil, other essential oils, mineral supplements etc (diatomaceous earth as a worm preventative)
5. carry fewer stock so there is plenty of feed and less problems with pests and parasites
6. call the butcher, ask a million questions
7. buy a freezer
8. catch the steer in a suitable paddock, away from other stock
9. let the butcher do his thing
Wags had a beautiful life
A few of our family members eat beef (local, biodynamic beef), who knows I might try some too? I never would have imagined that I'd write about turning one of our animals into food, but this is where our farming journey has brought us...
I'll write about stage two of this home butchering process next time!