Food for Thought
We have all heard the saying you are what you eat. This holds true from many things from processed foods down to the animals you purchase to feed your family. There is a difference between big box store hamburger and your local butcher shop. Similarly, this same difference applies in calves that you purchase.
Now it is up to you on what you provide for your family. You are the one that must live with that decision. I am just here to educate you and hopefully provide some guidance on how to choose.
When it comes to beef and the purchase of beef calves there are a couple different types of sellers and calves. I may catch some hate for this but oh well, it is a duty to educate the consumer on what they are getting.
1) There are the calves purchased at auctions in state and out of state that people purchase by the semi loads, many provide minimal care just to attempt to flip as quickly as possible to make a quick buck. These are the cheap calves that you see so often. These are the calves that many try to use to negotiate the premium calves as a discount.
a. Potential issues with this. Do you really know what you are getting?
b. Did it get all the colostrum needed before it went on that semi truck?
c. Was it exposed to any sicknesses on that truck?
d. How long has it been on that truck without food or water?
e. Was it showing signs of sickness so rather than treat it they just wanted to push the issue off on someone else. Hence bringing that sickness to the new farm?
f. The point is you don’t know what you are getting. It may be cheap initially but in the long run it can cost you dearly.
2) Premium calves from a family farm where the farm has a formal plan of care developed by the owner and their veterinarian. The calves are nurtured and given the required immunizations, sustenance, vet and personal care needed to provide the best future beef possible.
a. These calves aren’t the cheapest usually because the farmer has invested all of the necessary costs up front for you! In an effort to provide you the customer with the soundest beef possible.
b. The customer is given the calves history. You are given dates and names of their vaccines so you and your veterinarian can continue the same level of care.
In closing, when choosing a calf to raise for your meat. Ask the right questions, do not get bamboozled by hearing “double vaccinated” that gets thrown around a lot without much foundation. Asking the right questions will allow you to evaluate the risks for you and your family and your budget.