What age to slaughter?

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What is the right age to slaughter a cow, in order to maximize beef quantity and preserve the quality of the meat? I've heard some say that just over a year, about 16 months, is the right time.

Our small family heard consists of two black simmentals and two herefords, all with calves. Now the question is, how long do we raise the calves before slaughter?

I'm new to this, so would like all the feedback I can get.

Richard - UT

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By the sound of it, with 4 cows and 4 calves, you might not want to raise them to slaughter anyway, regardless of what the appropiate age is. Instead, you may consider selling the calves after weaning. That way the headache is over. The way usually works is that good, younger, lighter calves bring more per pound that good, heavier, older cattle. So, it kind of evens out money wise and does even more so when you figure you don't have to mess with the calves anymore. Weaning age varies wildly depending on who you talk to but surely 6-9 months should do it.

Again, it all depends on what your intentions are. If you want to personally eat these calves, then the age is probably 16 months, but the bigger test/ indicator for optimum slaughter time is the where the particular animal(s) are at in the "feed out" cycle.

Let them frame out on grass, that is get kind of gangly as they build their frames, and then at about 12 months or so, start them on grain for at least 90 days (again, at least). Start with just a little bit of grain and slowley build it up. Eventually a great feeder steer can put on a couple of pounds a day. When graining, keep roughage to them or their bowels will become loose. The gangly look will soon disappear and they will really fill out.

I am no expert but I was interested in your question and thought I would give my two-cents. I am sure there are some much more experienced fellows and gals out there that are infinetly wiser on the subject. But that is how I would do it.



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