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Friday, April 15, 2011

Hmmm... bottle calves to decide about.

So we found bottle calves today... they aren't beef calves, instead they are dairy breed bull calves, $10 each and the rancher will make sure they've gotten colostrum.

I just am torn. I have about 24 gallons of goats milk in the freezer from my milking job last fall that were put in there in case we got a beef calf (we've gotten one from a relative's ranch the last two years, but not this year). So we will have a steer ready to butcher soon and another one that'll be ready next year. We are getting half, since we raised them from a day or so old til weaned, then they went to pasture at a co-worker's house, so we are splitting them. We will sell part of our share of the meat to give us some income/tax write off from the costs of raising it.

I have had people tell me that they wouldn't raise a dairy steer for meat, and others (the large livestock vet I know thru 4-H) who says that for the price, its a great deal. I think, if we decide to commit, I need to get two. I will have to buy a bag of milk replacer, but we had one calf die from complications last year, and I don't want to have to drive again to get another. If we end up with two healthy ones, then I can sell one when it's weaned.

We have all the bottle buckets, etc, and I have the time to feed two calves, just not sure... Have any of you raised dairy calves for meat?

Grrrr... and writing this blog didn't give me my answer, so I guess I'll sleep on it.

I am excited because I'm going to an Artisan Bread class tomorrow. I'll share details and hopefully pictures later.

Have a weekend full of hope, joy and faith.


  1. I've had 10 Dairy jersey cows for the last 9 years. My last beef I butchered was a full dairy steer and it was MOST wonderfully tender and extremely tasty. I KNOW first hand people who tell you different don't actually know the difference. ALSO...I do NOT feed corn and mine are grass fed pasture raised and have a sweet life. The extra treat they do get are some sweet lick mollasses tubs. I WOULD SERIOUSLY LOVE TO HAVE SOME $10 calves. are you kidding me?? Calves run from 200 to 400 around here....and trust me...dairy or black...it doesn't matter. One of the gentlemen who sells grass fed at the farmers market deals strictly in dairy steers. It is fabulous beef. The only thing to know is that the fat on a milk fed if your feed past 8 months milk, is yellower and has a different taste. BUT the meat....oh my gosh...cut with a fork. You won't be dissappointed.

  2. Wish I could help you,but don't know a thing about it. Will be watching for your post about the bread. Good luck,10.00 is a steal! Blessings jane

  3. Sorry, no experience to share but I think I'd listen to what your 4-H vet said. The price seems more than reasonable(!) and if you feel they come from a healthy environment . . . ?? Good beef raised the way you want your meat to be raised sounds like a pretty good investment to me in these economic times.

  4. Hmm, I have nothing to help! But if your friend and DebH are right, it sounds like a real sweet deal! I hope you find the right fit for you!

  5. A friend of mine has 2 Jersey cows. And when they have bulls she raises them on grass and hay and they are really good. She doesn't get as much meat as a beef cow but it's still worth the price and effort. And way too cheap. I'd say go for it. My bottle fed Red Angus cow just had her first bull calf. I am glad I am not bottle feeding him. But I am looking for another calf to bottle feed. I have goats that are just coming in milk so I want to do this again. And the calf will have a playmate.

  6. If its jersey or jersey cross its well worth it! They have really good meat! For $10?!?!? Here the cheapest I found was $50 and they are gone with in 20 minutes of being posted on Craigslist.. Most are now going for $200 as day old bottle calves.