After waiting for 7 months, we finally got our two bulls slaughtered. It took us 7 months from the time we scheduled, to the time we could get them into the butcher. All the butcher shops around here are booked up for months. If you need to use a butcher, get it on their schedule ASAP.
We had an 11 year old bull and a 22 month old steer butchered. The 22 month old steer was steered 4 months ago, due to concerns with behavior, and recovered well. The bull dressed at 744 lbs and the steer was 446 lbs. Those are great weights for grass fed dexter animals.
The slaughter company that came out was A & L Slaughter. These guys were very professional and skilled. They had both animals in the truck in an hour.
We saved all the entrails, hide, head, and anything that wasn’t edible to compost.
We butchered our 39 Cornish Cross meat birds the weekend of August 8th. I don’t remember if it was Saturday or Sunday. It was great. It took us all day, since it was the first mass butcher we’ve done and we had to get all the kinks worked out of the process.
The killing cones are terrible — we won’t use those again, and I am selling 4 big ones ASAP. It’s much easier to chop the heads off or use a gallows system like what we started to use.
Next time we need a better system to transport the chickens to the butcher location. We started the tractor right about where we needed it to end, so transporting the chickens in a large dog crate took a lot of time and energy. Perhaps we’ll use a trailer next time like Pete from Just a Few Acres Farms (find him on Youtube).
The chicken tractor didn’t go as far as we thought it would! This is not a bad thing. 5 weeks of moving the cornish cross chickens at least once each day, and sometimes twice, resulted in a long stretch of ground covered, but we thought it would be twice as long. I guess math works, so we could have used that.
Overall, it was a good experience. We have a lot of meat in the freezer and chicken feed left over. We will do this again next year and do more so we can sell more. Contact us using the contact form from the top menu to get on the list for next year.
Scheduling a beef for butcher is a tough one. We’re working through the process for the second time now, for our own beef. The scheduling part is something you have to know months in advance. If you had an emergency and needed to get an animal in “right away”, I don’t know if that’s possible. We’re scheduled about 6 months out.
As far as running the business side of things, it will set a requirement to get a good deposit and commitment from customers for a share of the beef. The customer must then budget for the balance of the payment when the beef is ready for pick-up.
In an ideal world, a beef would be slaughtered at the end of the grass growing season. The taste and texture is best when the animal is in the growing phase of the season vs when nutrients are getting less nutritious or less available, in general. The age of the animal is less a factor than what (and how much) it’s eating at the time. All fall slaughter dates are very difficult to get unless scheduled 1 year in advance. The best time to slaughter is September/October as grass growth drops off precipitously in most places.
We had Mike Erickson’s Mobile Slaughter come out yesterday and slaughter Rusty, our first bull. The slaughter process was very fast and efficient. I honestly can’t see how those businesses make money, with all the travel and equipment maintenance they have.
We got a call from Salmon Creek Meats last night saying he weighed in at 632 lbs, hanging weight! That’s great for a grass-fed Dexter bull. The carcass had lots of fat on it, really good looking. I kept all the scraps for compost, dog food, and kept the head/horns and will clean that up as well as I can.
The slaughter company typically keeps the head, hide, and possibly other parts. If you want to keep any of that, be sure to discuss it before, or at the time of slaughter. It will save you from a misunderstanding. I kept the head/skull from this bull because it was my only horned bull that I will probably ever have and I want to dry and hang it.