Finally! Meet Slim Shady & Joe Diffie; my new calves on the farm! We usually just call them Slim and Joe for short. There is a story behind these names and if you are interested you should check out Farmtastic-Friday with Rhonda F Meadows. I am just so excited to have these boys! I have been waiting a long time for my very own calves. Admittedly I am kind of sad that they are both guys and can’t stay with me until their old age.
What I Know About These Boys
Honestly, I know very little about these two. They are both bull calves; for the time being that is. They will be steer calves soon. We plan to band both of them. We are not quite ready for breeding calf babies yet. Slim is white, part Charolais and likely Jersey. Joe is brown a lot of Jersey and not sure what else. I purchased these boys off local sales network. This is a site where I both sell and buy. Both are weaned; thank goodness! I didn’t want bottle babies. Had a horrible experience with bottle calves in the past where I lost all of them so I do not have the heart to try that again. I was told they are approximately three months old and 100-150 pounds. Likely closer to that 150 being my husband really had to “man up” to get them out of the truck bed.
I bought them locally. I have no idea where they originally came from. A good guess would be a dairy farm. Honestly, this can be a mistake; but in this case I feel like it is going to be okay. I hope so anyway! I am really taking a liking to these two. This could be good and bad! Why you might ask? Read on and I will explain.
Why Male Calves
Let’s just address the elephant in the room. Why did I purchase male calves to raise on the farm? Slim and Joe were not purchased to breed on the farm. I have no ladies at this time. I hope to have some soon! Slim and Joe are intended to be grown into what is better known as beef. Yes, we plan to put these guys in the freezer! I know it sounds cold-hearted, no pun intended, but here is how I reason.
I am going to give these two fellas the best possible life I can while they live with me on the farm. They will be as happy and healthy as possible. They will be loved, petted and treasured. All my animals are! They will be in an open field with my sheep and dog. There is hay to eat and bed down in. No concrete floors and no mud they have to sleep in around here! They will have room and the opportunity to roam. No confinement except when they are fed their feed, so the sheep don’t steal it! Yet with all this loving and care why do I choose to turn my calves into food? I can further explain.
My Reasoning for Calves to Table
I don’t know about you but I really hate to think about how miserable grocery store beef lives out their life. Feed lots people. These are not pretty. The animals are far from happy; in fact, look at them and you will see they are miserable. How do I know? Look at how they live. See how low their heads sag? Mud, manure, and just a mess they walk and lie on. Shelter that they may have are full and crowded. Sometimes they have very little shelter at all. These animals are NOT treated well. Sometimes they are abused. Beaten, kicked, and hot ironed when they do not act as the attender wished.
Every single time I pick up a pack of hamburger, a steak or a beef roast at a grocery store I think about this. Every time I purchase it, I support this. Let’s face it, I am not a vegetarian and likely never will be. My options are to continue to support this type of animal living or do something different. Options are slim with different. You could raise your own beef; what I decided to do, you could have someone else raise it for you, or you could purchase beef from a farmer that has raised their own. Folks, you do not have to support mass farming operations! You do have options. I don’t care where you live!
Calves on the Farm Why I Want to be Hands on
The more hands on you are with the food you eat, the more certain you are that your values are being met. This is why I chose to raise my own calves on the farm. I want to ensure the animals are happy, healthy, well cared for, and live a good life. I want to know when I put them on my plate exactly what I am about to eat. Raising my own calves for beef allows me to do all these things! I am able to sleep better at night knowing that the market I am supporting is humane. I can assure this because I am the care-giver.
At the same time I have to admit that I didn’t always feel this way. I hated raising my own food on the farm. Farming was more like a petting zoo for me! Both are wonderful but when you are working a farm from a healthy living or business perspective, a petting zoo just doesn’t fulfill yours or anyone else’s needs. The story above really helped me change my way of thinking. If you struggle with this I hope it helped you too.
This is not to say when I finally have to part ways with my animals it is not a bit heartbreaking. I can however find comfort in knowing that my animals lived a good life and their days were happy. I did not support cruelty to animals and over-crowded feed lots. My animals were loved. They lived out their intended purpose and their death is respected and appreciated by myself and my family.
Calves on the Farm in Closing
Cattle are some of my favorite animals to have on the farm. I love to hear them mooing as I approach with food or fresh water. They can be fun as long as they are kept gentle. Calves grow quickly and are big animals. Respect that! Give them space and keep them as gentle as possible. Cattle are most active in the morning hours during the time they eat. Once they are filled they mostly just like to lay around. Just seeing them in the field makes me happy!
The moral of the story is to learn to enjoy the process of what you raise, the whole process. From living to death rest assured that you gave your animals the best life possible. I promise you if you struggle with raising your own food, this helps. I had to change my way of thinking to find peace in the process. It honestly helped me see things so much clearer. Good luck to you in finding peace, living healthy, and enjoying your own personal journey!
I would love your opinion on this topic! How do you feel about raising your own food? Could you do it? Did this help you see a different point of view for those who do? Please comment below and let me know.
If you enjoy sharing my thoughts and farming journey please subscribe to the blog. If you have questions of a personal or private nature you may contact me here. Please leave all other questions in the comments to help others learn as well!