Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by farmerlor, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. farmerlor

    farmerlor Songster

    So there's this guy selling dairy bull calves for 50 bucks. I've heard that you can eat beef from dairy calves but I'm wondering if it's going to taste the same. Is the feed to meat ratio different? Does it take longer to produce than say an Angus? 'Course I've always, always wanted to keep a dairy cow too so I'm flaking out here but 50 bucks seems like a good deal.
  2. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    My uncle used to buy 1 bull calf a year and have it slaughtered in fall. $50 for several hundred pounds of meat sounds like a really good deal to me! LOL

    As for flavor, that is going to depend on what you feed it.
  3. FarmerChick

    FarmerChick Songster

    Jul 30, 2008
    North Carolina
    $50 is a great deal

    no the meat is flavored according the the cows diet basically. angus are breed for their fast growth, meat to bone ration all that stuff....kinda like a meat bird vs. an egg laying chicken.

    My friend has a dairy. All her cows sold at auction after milking are usually the ones that meat buyers buy for Hardees, McDonalds, etc. burgers.

    They don't take "longer" to produce but you don't want it too big when you process either. Younger animals with good weight before maturing to full size are the best processed meat to me.

    So go for it definitely!
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2009
  4. ksacres

    ksacres At Your Service

    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio TX
    Quote:Yes, the feed to meat ratio is different b/c the bone to meat ratio is different. Basically, you will be feeding to produce bone growth on the calf.

    Depends on what you mean by produce. They should be butchered around the same age as any other beef cow. You will just have more bone (wastage) and less meat per pound of live weight.

    That doesn't mean you shouldn't get one to feed out, it just means they are not as efficient for beef production as something that is BRED for beef production. Beef cows are short b/c you don't want all that extra bone. Dairy cows are tall and have deep barrels to allow for plenty of room inside for forage to produce milk.
  5. lorieMN

    lorieMN Songster

    Apr 19, 2008
    most of the lean meat in grocery stores is holstien or dairy meat..I myself prefer it for that reason..dairy have more bone then beef,and you wouldnt want to buy a calf in the spring and butcher in the fall..thats to small to worry about,with dairy or beef,wait until the next fall and butcher..I dont know where you are at but here pailcalves are going for about $20 a head..depending on how many show up,I heard a that a couple weeks ago 200 head came in and they gave away some of the jerseys..
  6. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    $50 is actually a little bit high. They go for as low as $10/head at auction during the Autumn. A lot of these dairies actually get bills from the sale yards rather than checks.

    A dairy bull calf will produce beef in the same time frame as an Angus would. It's just going to produce far less beef on the carcass and won't be "blow your mind" good. A lot of people market these dairy calves as "lean meat" where I would just call it insipid. Not enough fat for my tastes.

    My suggestion:

    1) Get a price on milk replacer. It goes for around $75/bag here and you will need sevearl bags.

    2) Because you will want to wean them quickly, due to the price of milk replacer, you'll probaly be graining them for the first 6 months. This can hammer your costs.

    Getting a dairy bull calf is a cheap way to get into cows, but it's far far more practical to people who are already milking goats and can use the extra milk for the calf. Without this, you are going to have some pretty hefty out of pocket expenses. Because of this, you should think very hard of viewing these calves for veal rather than beef.
  7. bheila

    bheila Songster

    Feb 8, 2008
    Kent, Wa
    $50, wow like Greyfields said it's about $10 here. When I was bottle feeding our calf I would ask the feed store to save all of the torn open milk replacer bags for me because then they only charged me half price, $30. There was nothing wrong with the replaceer the bag just had a tear.
  8. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    don't forget to visit backyardcows ! [​IMG]
  9. Western Chick

    Western Chick Songster

    Apr 17, 2008
    Western MN
    If the calf is still on milk replacer, $50 is too much. However if he's already weaned it's not so bad. You'll put $50 of milk replacer into him lickety split.

    As far as depends more on what the animal is fed and how it is processed than what breed it is. The average person will not be able to tell the difference between corn-fed holstein and angus.

    If you push him on grain a holstein steer will finish out in about 15 months. Holsteins are not as efficient as beef and will require more grain to finish with a comparable carcass yeild.

    I think you'll end up spending a lot more on him than you would if you were to find a farmer in the area to sell you a quarter or a half. Feed costs are astronomical right now. Plus you will put a considerable amount of time into him. Then there's always the risk of it dying....then you get nothing out of it.

    If you want a pet...that's another story but I would look for something a little more manageable than a holstein bull!
  10. Cara

    Cara Songster

    Aug 30, 2007
    We have a beef calf. He was an orphan, and the ranch allows us to keep and sell any orphans that we hand raise, since they'd die otherwise. We got him last March and bottle fed him until around June. Then we switched him to beef ration (a bit like sweet feed). The whole time he was eating hay too. We turned him out to graze mid-July.

    Problem is, he's a runt, and the vast majority of calves raised on replacer are. Almost a year later, he's still stunted. By going for dairy over beef, and hand raising, you have two strikes against you in terms of feed conversion from the get go.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: