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Ding Dong, the witch is dead

August 18, 2008

No I didn’t mean me, but Jetta.  Here is another one of those posts that will either cause readers to shake their heads in disgust or in agreement.

I would venture a guess, if you have owned any kind of livestock for more than 5 years, you might know where I’m coming from.  Less, than that – maybe not.

Jetta, I must say is resting in peace, or soon pieces.  I know, big bad farmer (me) made the decision.  That was the first step, the next step was all the second guessing and questioning the initial decision.

My daughter, who will forever after this day, be known an “Ruth Less,”  told me when I named that calf after the brat on Clifford the Big Red Dog, I would be in for trouble.  She was right, and she’s not letting me forget it. 

But, you know what – in retrospect everyone is breathing a sigh of relief.  We can walk the pasture now, without a stick.  Don’t get me wrong, she wouldn’t chase us down.  But, the body language she continually displayed was not what I would say in any way, shape or form, said “Please Milk Me.”   Unfortunately since Jetta had been handled since birth, she did not have any natural fear of humans, and since she was so familiar, she would come closer than the cows in our beef herd.  Most of them, will let me approach and pet and scratch them, if they get tired of that, or don’t want to be petted, they walk away, they do not threaten us with their head.  I suppose in a confinement operation, where the cows or the people don’t have to display actual manners, she would have been fine.  But, I can’t (won’t) have cattle that are a threat.  I barely know Henry, but I would rather try to milk him than go through one hour of cajoling Jetta.

So, now I can concentrate on her mom, Della, who is due on Labor Day.  After the blogging fiasco on Jetta’s pregnancy, I’m almost scared to post anything about Queen D, since I love her so much and it would tear a hole in my heart if something happens to her.  She is 10, and I know I won’t have my big Guernsey dog forever.  She has earned a place in our milk cow graveyard, unfortunately Jetta did not.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Gina permalink
    August 18, 2008 4:33 pm

    They are so different (i can’t believe we silly humans ever thought they were all the same personality wise. Really it is weird to even think they don’t have personalities at all…). When I raised Wilbur the pig, he was sweet and playful and I never had an ounce of worry around him (except that he would squash my toes when he rolled over to have his belly rubbed). i finally gave in and sent him to the butcher when he started to scare our (former) city-bred neighbors. I cried and cried and refused to eat him for a long time. I even buried his heart (which Sr wanted to chop up and feed the dogs).

    In deep contrast, the two we have now are beasts! I can’t wait for them to be sausage and bacon. I even set the date today. They are spookish and wily and don’t seem even an ounce of sweet like Wilbur was.

    i cracked up on the Henry part!

  2. amanadoo permalink
    August 18, 2008 4:43 pm

    So what do y’all do with such cows that have to be culled?

  3. August 18, 2008 5:01 pm

    It’s business, you got to do what you got to do!! It wasn’t as if she was the cherished family pet.

  4. August 18, 2008 5:29 pm

    Nothing wrong with making executive decisions & you seem to have thought this one thru long & hard.

    It’s all part of the cycle and life includes death. Only hard, cruel lives and death are tragic and ought to be avoided.

    Hard questions, tho.

  5. August 18, 2008 9:01 pm

    I do know the feeling. Our 2 beef steers are a pain in the butt. Those guys can get out of any fence. Be glad to see them in a package. lol Loved the garden pics from last post. Last week has been a blurr…..


  6. August 18, 2008 9:28 pm

    Happy eatin’! Hope she doesn’t come back as indigestion! :o)

  7. August 19, 2008 6:03 am

    I always thought that naughty girl on Clifford was Jenna, that is funny that you named your naughty cow that. Reading about you cow makes me want them bigtime!!! Next spring we will for sure. You raise meat and dairy cows, right?
    Is there certain breeds you prefer. I am going to breed my goat next year and try the milking thing with her and then I may upgrade to a milking cow.

  8. August 19, 2008 4:27 pm

    I wonder if she’ll be tough on the plate as well? I wonder how the other bovine’s feel about there being one less in the field. They, too, might be humming ding dong in their heads, as well! Ok, I have to admit that I laughed out loud when I read your title and opening line, and then busted up again when I read the words “Ruth Less”. 🙂

  9. August 20, 2008 7:43 am

    Gina, I agree the humans are the out-of-touch animals. That’s too bad about Wilbur. My first 4-H steer’s name was Veal Cutlets, so my parents were heading off any potential problems. But the neighborhood butcherings were held here and I loved to play in the coagulated blood on the floor when I was teeny tiny. “Redneck fingerpaint” I guess. I know I’m a little warped… .
    Pigs are different, I’m not surprised you would feel that way. Our neighbor had a pig valve put in his heart, very strange thinking about that. He was fascinated because he raised pigs, and was an Outdoor School teacher, he couldn’t wait to tie that in with his lessons.
    Henry isn’t so sure he trusts me now, after that comment. But he is so gentle, I don’t think I was too far off .

    Amanda, it depends. Jetta was in the the Label Rouge stage for butchering. So she will be in the freezer. The best, most tender steaks we’ve had, were from a nineteen year-old cow. She was calm and relaxed when butchered and that is what makes the meat tender. Not age or lack thereof. Otherwise, you can sell them at the auction for a price they determine. In that case the culls, if they are full grown, usually are bought by a meat buyer and they end up as hamburger, or if it is a young animal it will probably go to a feelot to be grown out. If you are looking for animals to buy that is a good place to stay away from. Buying stock directly from the farmer is the way to go, so you can get the provenance with the animal.

    Linda, you got that one right! She could have been cherished, but she reminded me of a horse that doesn’t want to be ridden, always turning their butt to you, only she used her head.

    EJ, it’s hard being the “boss” sometimes. Sometimes, things just don’t work out.

    Chris, you’ll be glad when those guys are in the freezer. Maybe in the winter you can get some rest…

    Jenny, that is funny, I was going to save her horns for Biodynamic preps, since most of our cows don’t have horns and the ones that do, still need them… . But, I thought too many bad vibes for Biodynamics. Those horns can go to someone else! I’ll just have to chew real good!

    Kim, she was exactly like that snotty little girl, I should have known, one time I named a cow after a bitchy neighbor, and she was just like that neighbor.
    We raise mostly beef cattle, and just keep one or two(sometimes) family cows for our personal use. We have Hereford (red with white face) for beef and Guernsey for dairy. But, if you start asking people what breed they prefer, you will get 100 different answers. Each breed has it’s own +’s and -‘s, some like the Hereford are calmer. But, you always get a snot in the mix, with any breed of anything. So you will probably just have to get what breeds are in your area. You can spend a lot of money chasing around looking for rare breeds, and sometimes the gene pool is so small, you end up with a ton of problems. Remember, that if you have problems with that fancy $2000 -$3000 cow, it will still only be worth meat price if you have to butcher it or send it to the auction.

    Paula, I hope not – time will tell. But, I don’t think so… . Definitely some of the cows are glad she is gone, she was about in the middle of the pecking order.
    I started calling her RUTH LESS, because of the way she thins the vegetables. But, her method works good, she doesn’t have to go back over them and thin again!

  10. tansy permalink
    August 21, 2008 7:40 pm

    i want to slap that jetta when we watch that show.

    i would have done the same. i bet she will be delicious.

  11. August 21, 2008 11:19 pm

    Tansy, I agree, that Jetta is such a brat, just like Nellie on Little House on the Prairie! Probably, everyone encounters someone like that in school too.
    I think she will be good eating… 🙂

  12. August 23, 2008 8:39 pm

    It wasn’t until I read about a year ago I read a blog where they decided to harvest some young roosters who were threatening and attacking them – with the same, no-nonsense practicality that you have – that I finally “got it.”

    Before that I’d dreaded it, wondered what I’d do if I got “stuck” with a critter with a really bad attitude, and then it was suddenly just a big, head-slapping DUHHH! What I’d do is simply decide not to tolerate it and their number is up. It makes everything so much easier.

    No, it makes everything so much more POSSIBLE.

    There are always bad apples. The job includes not letting them make everyone else miserable and not sharing their genes forward.

    Hard lesson for us city folk.

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