Yesterday it was time to take another cow to the processor. We had 53 cows on the ground, of all ages. So how does a farmer know which one to take?
First, we certainly don’t eat the young cows. No veal for us here. Second, we weigh all of our cows routinely now. Part of knowing which cow is the one to eat is to know what they weigh and how they’ve gained weight.
Third, you have to have a trained cattleman’s eye. To be able to look at a bunch of black cows and see which one has developed the best to date. Who has started to fill out, who is getting a little fat and where is that fat showing (everybody sucking in their gut right now?)
Some farmers use ultrasound devices to measure fat on the ribeye, something we can’t afford around here. All these ways of deciding who goes are usually more art than science. Around here we go with a much more tried and true method.
We eat the crazy ones.
Ok, that isn’t the only criteria but it is the big one. We do look for how they’ve filled out, and their weight. But after those criteria are met, we eat the ones that are a pain in the rear. If a cow acts crazy at any point in its time here, we note in their record we maintain on every cow. As you can see below just above the picture of the cow.
This cow, #42, weighed 997 pounds in November and is still growing. In December he and another cow were the last two in the corral and we loaded the other one. Then #42 escaped through a weak place in the corral but it was moot because we already had his buddy, another crazy cow loaded.
This month I wanted #42 or LF05 to go to market. Both were marked as crazy. LF05 was the first one of the pair to go through the chute so on the trailer he went. He proceeded to solidify his crazy moniker by bending the gate on my trailer and generally being a pain in the rear.
Once he was on and settled down, we worked the rest of the cows through the gate checking them over, fixing any minor issues, etc. Basically being good farmers and taking care of our animals and gently and kindly as possible.
Then #42 came through. He got halfway through and started backing up on Michael and Miguel. After they both started working him, he proceeded to break out of the corral, tearing it to pieces in the process. He broke boards, ripped 1 inch thick reinforced rubber, that kind of thing. Many much larger cows have gone through this corral, no problem. We were only letting him walk through at that point not actually doing anything to him. He’s just crazy so he decided to do it the hard way.
Guess who we are eating next month.