Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Measure of a Cow

Our most recent farm job was to measure T-Bone, our 10 month old Holstein steer.  The reason you measure a cow is to determine how much they weigh.  The reason you want to know the weight of a cow is because the weight of a cow indicates when the cow is ready to be dinner.  This is just one of the many jobs that I had no idea needed to be done a year ago.  This is just one of the jobs that I've learned to do in the last year.  In fact, last year, I could never have predicted that we'd have a cow much less need to measure him.

Getting the cow to stand on one foot on the bathroom scale is beyond the realm of possibility.  Also, I don't think the bathroom scale goes high enough to measure a cow.  Thankfully, someone way smarter than me figured out that by measuring heart girth of a cow you can estimate weight.  This is much easier than getting the cow to step on a scale.  However, with a cow, nothing is really easy. 

The biggest challenge came with getting the cow to stand still.  If you've read previous posts you know that the cow is not all that happy about being approached by Rob.  You also know that I prefer to stay on side of the fence opposite the cow.  Even before I knew how much he weighed I knew that it was a lot and that I didn't want any of that weight pressed against any part of my body.  I like scratching the cows neck and head.  I do not want to come in direct contact with any other cow parts, especially his feet.  

Food is just as motivating for cows as it if for people.  By luring him with carrots and corn we were able to get the measure wrapped around T-Bone just behind is front legs.  This is the heart girth.  That might be helpful on some trivia game at sometime in the future.  T-Bones heart girth showed him to be 69".  That translates into about 940 lbs.

Our research says that butcher weight is about 1200lbs.  Our research also says that a 900 lb cow equals about 500 lbs of meat.  That's a lot of meat.  We'll be checking around in the next few weeks to see what our options and costs concerning butchering are.  We will also be trying to find new homes for some of our chickens in the chest freezer. 

We have another skill to list on our resume.  We are able to take the measure of a cow.

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