Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Freezer 2 Is Not In The Freezer - Cow Dramas

Just a quick update on the butchering of our cow 'Freezer 2'.  As the title of this post points out she is still very much alive and kicking.

It would have been easy to just pretend that everything had gone as planned and not mention anything but for me that is not what this blog is about.  Life is not all roses and sometimes things happen that are not what you wanted or intended. I think it is important to paint a full picture here not just the good bits because that's how life is when you raise your own animals.

So what happened you might wonder?

Well we had the butcher all booked in for last Thursday.  We waited and waited.  Then we called and called and left messages.
Meanwhile 'Freezer 2' had jumped the fence to get back to her friend.  We had separated them so that she was in the right paddock to be processed.
Friday came and we were on the phone again.  Nothing.  Friday night we got hold of his wife and she took our details and said she would get him to call us back as he was outside.
On Saturday morning we were getting ready to take our friend and his kids camping when I went out to check the animals and I noticed 'freezer 2' was limping and not wanting to put weight on one of her back legs.
Oh Bugger!
Now when it comes to animals I am a stress head.  I really worry when they are sick or injured and I knew this meant I was not going to have a very relaxing weekend while I worried about 'Freezer 2'.  At the same time I was aware there was nothing I could do.
I figured that she had hurt he leg some how when she jumped the fence and broke the top wire.  In future I will not separate them at all before the event even if this means the other cow is in the paddock watching the event take place.

Since she was up and walking around and she could put a little weight on it I knew I would just have to wait and see how she was the next day when we returned from camping.  Well this is what my logical mind knew.

My emotional mind on the other hand was conjuring up all sorts of worst case scenarios and had me jumping online to see if there were any precautions I could take to help her.
Logical mind kicks back in again at this point and points out that she weighs about 400kg and "Really what are you going to do?  Put a bandaid on it?"

So off we went on our camping trip.  She was still limping the next day but she seemed to be a bit better.
And every day this week she has seemed to get better bit by bit day by day.

But now we have another issue. We are out of grass and we still cannot get hold of the butcher.

You see it was always the plan to get rid of her at this time of year before she lost condition over winter due to the lack of grass.  Our paddocks are a mix of blue couch and kikuyu and we knew that as soon as we got a good frost most of the blue couch grass would get burnt off and there would be hardly anything for them to eat.  The kikuyu does not get burnt off but it doesn't grow much either.  This week we have had two mornings with negative 2 degrees and heavy frosts, so much of the grass has been burnt off.
So now we have to find something else to top up their feed.  We have been harvesting feed from the garden for them in the form of banana leaves which they love, Queensland arrowroot and comfrey.  We have purchased a bale of hay but we do not want to spend a lot of money when we are just going to put her in the freezer and at this time of year feed is expensive.
I am really glad that we put a plan in place to grow things as a back up plan for feeding the animals.  We are almost out of the arrowroot foliage but there are still plenty of banana leaves left (although I might be up the ladder cutting them down) and hopefully we do not have to keep feeding her much longer.

We are now going to try and get a different butcher to come and do the job so I will let you know how things go.

Have you ever planned things out only to have it go a bit pear shaped through no fault of your own?  How did you resolve the situation?


  1. It makes it difficult when people don't even have the courtesy to return a call. Very frustrating for you. I hope you get hold of another mobile butcher asap. Take care

  2. The new butcher sounds like a good idea! Unfair to you guys if he's that unreliable.

  3. Good grief, the homesteading life is anything but predictable! Even though you had to buy more for feed, it's still a good investment in your family. Having you ever considered learning how to do the processing yourself?

    1. Hi Leigh It is not something we are set up to do here and as we are moving to New Zealand in the next 12 months we would not go down that path at the moment. But in the future we would like to be a lot more hands on.


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