Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bert, the dud

I've got good news and bad news.

First, the good news. I will have a freezer FULL of wonderful grass-fed beef in a few months.

And the bad news? Bert failed his sperm count test.

No, that title isn't a typo. I didn't mean dude.

We loaded Bert up into the trailer on Sunday evening for a trip to the vet first thing Monday morning. It actually went very smoothly. We expected a real hassle getting him into the trailer, but he just followed the armful of alfalfa. The vet gave him a score of 62, which is failing. While we could keep him and see if he could breed anyone, we don't have the herd size to risk not getting our girls bred. We can't get him into the locker until mid-March anyway, so we are planning to just hold onto him until maybe mid-June so he has some time to start fattening up on green grass a little before he goes in. We should have grass by mid-April, so it seems silly to save ourselves the hay feeding of that last month when we've come this far.

Now, though, we are in a bit of a pickle. We were counting on having our girls bred in August to calve the following spring. But, that is awfully hard to do without a bull. Don is going to visit a guy selling a Jersey bull on Saturday, so if all goes well, he'll buy him. The new bull will actually make a visit to Harriet (and hopefully do what Bert failed to do!) and then spend the rest of the winter at a friend's place who wants to get his cows bred. He'll come back here, then, in the spring.

Although I'm disappointed that we've got a dud bull, I am thrilled beyond belief at the prospect of all that beef! We'll probably try to sell half of the meat and keep the rest. Yummy!!


OurCrazyFarm said...

That's too bad~ I'm so sorry. We have gone through a couple of cows in a row that were non breeders as well. It is a big loss, in time and money. Have you considered artificial insemination?? I know several farmers up here that breed that way with success, and it means you don't have to keep a bull.

Emily said...

Too bad!

Yesterday I deliberately bought grass-fed beef for the first time. Spendy stuff from Whole Foods. It feels more important to me now. I want to find a local farmer somewhere around here that I can buy part of a cow from, I think. I suspect that meat is probably a lot better than the Whole Foods organic. But who knows. I don't know much about this stuff, for sure.

Every time I you post about your cows, I always start asking Jeff for one. Especially when you were blogging about the calves. SO CUTE. We're probably moving pretty soon after the wedding, though, so it's not a good time for getting livestock. Oh well. Maybe in a few years. ;)

Nancy M. said...

Sorry about Bert! I guess it's good, though that you'll have some fresh meat! Good luck with the next one!

Anonymous said...

I thought you could eat a bull because of the hormones and strange taste??? Do you know anyone who has ate a non-castrated bull? I guess I have a lot to learn about the whole rural thing.


Gina said...

I've read a few opinions on it. One says that that intact bulls are just fine to eat under 24 months with no difference in taste from steers. Taint is usually found in older animals, though I've read interesting thoughts about taint being somewhat genetic. The subject was hogs, but this guy has actually been breeding taint out of his hogs. Interesting. Other people have said that taint doesn't occur at all in cattle, unlike hogs, which would been that even an older bull would be fine.

Anyway, he should be just fine, flavor-wise. And tenderness will have a lot to do with how the meat is hung/handled at the meat locker. Twenty-one days of hanging seems to be the magic number for tender beef.