Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Butchering Cows

We have had two Hereford cows on our farm since early Summer. They belong to friends of ours that were short of pasture and we had an excess. Besides, it was alright for our cow Henny to have a little herd with her and her calf. Alas, the time came for us to process these two cows and downsize the "herd" considerably. Instead of simply trailering the cows to a processors where they would be scared and stressed, we hired a mobile processor to come to our farm and take care of the business without transporting them at all. It really is the best way to process meat for your own use. Stress is a common problem with transporting animals and decreasing the quality of meat. All of this is besides the point that perhaps the traditional method of processing meat is not the most humane procedure. I'm not sure about that, but what I am sure of is how easy it was for us to accomplish the task on our farm. We hired a fellow to come to the farm and he quickly dispatched the animals and bled them. The hard part was over in a matter of less than 2 minutes. After that, the cows quickly started looking like the meat that we know and appreciate. He skinned, gutted and split the carcasses using our old Allis Chalmers tractor with the front end loader to hold them above the ground. We loaded the quarters into the truck where they were carefully wrapped and from there, he took them to the meatcutters' shop where they are now hanging. For our troubles, our friends have given us a quarter of beef. We will intruct the cutter on how we want our meat cut and wrapped and fairly soon we will have some nice organic pastured beef in our freezer!

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