Off to Market!

Yesterday, my dad sent our second and last calf to the locker, putting an end to my parents’ little farming adventure. 

Last August, I purchased two calves from the farmer I was working for at the time. When the calves were born, the mothers could not support them after showing signs of mastitis. This predicament required me to bottle feed them for a few weeks, eventually transitioning them to creep feed, a starter pellet for calves. 

The heifer, and the youngest of the two, was a sweetheart, always wanting my attention when she could see me completing my daily duties on the farm. We would even let her out of the pen to wander around. She would follow us everywhere, often getting in the way, but how could we say no to giving her a few pets before returning to work!

After taking care of the two together, I came up with the idea of purchasing them from my boss and raising them for a project on our acreage. Of course, I had to ask my parents first to make sure I could get some help. After some convincing, they both agreed, and my dad and I set up one of our pastures and lean-to, situating a pen around the shelter to keep them from sneaking under the wired fence. 

Having not grown up on a farm, it was a fun addition to our acreage. We used to raise chickens and have bucket calves a few years prior, but this past year we had a new sense of nostalgia at our home.

Unfortunately, I was only able to view the site regularly for only a few weeks before I had to move back to college for the year. I won’t lie; I thought about this conflict before I purchased the calves, but reflecting on my decision, it was not well thought out. Fortunately, my dad was nice and bought the calves from me at the price I paid for them. With the help of my mom, he was happy to take care of them and take over the project I had started. They were exquisite lawn ornaments the past year, but the fun came to an end when their locker dates finally came. 

In the spring, my dad and I discussed how we wanted to sell the calves. At first, we thought about selling them young to another farmer or taking them to the local livestock auction. We decided that we didn’t want to take them to an auction yard because prices were not ideal, and we did not want to lose money. We ended up deciding to feed them out. We successfully secured a couple of locker dates in the fall at a butcher not too far from our acreage when the pandemic hit. 

Our steer went to the locker last month, selling parts of it to family and friends. Now that our heifer was just taken to the locker, the meat will go to more family members, and my parents will be getting more beef in their freezer. Yum, more for me!

I do not foresee my parents wanting to pursue this hobby again anytime soon, but I am sure they did enjoy the nostalgia for a while. However, I could see myself trying this project again when I have the time and the place!

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