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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
6 weeks ago I bought my first calf to finish and butcher. It’s an 8 month old Brangus heifer. She is penned and I’m feeding her good hay and grain that’s 12.5% protein and 4.5% fat. I started with a few pounds of grain a day and now up to about 5 pounds a day. She does a dance every time she sees me bringing the grain so she likes it and tolerates it well. I have two questions.
1. She has plenty of room, access to all the hay and water she wants. Can I continue with this routine until she’s ready to slaughter or do I need to add anything?
2. I’m after quality over quantity for the meat. When should she be ready to slaughter? She’s about 600-650 now.
 

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2017 Quarter Horse x Appy mare
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6 weeks ago I bought my first calf to finish and butcher. It’s an 8 month old Brangus heifer. She is penned and I’m feeding her good hay and grain that’s 12.5% protein and 4.5% fat. I started with a few pounds of grain a day and now up to about 5 pounds a day. She does a dance every time she sees me bringing the grain so she likes it and tolerates it well. I have two questions.
1. She has plenty of room, access to all the hay and water she wants. Can I continue with this routine until she’s ready to slaughter or do I need to add anything?
2. I’m after quality over quantity for the meat. When should she be ready to slaughter? She’s about 600-650 now.
Welcome to the forum OP!
1) Feel free to check out a thread from a few months ago...I discussed finishing meat heifers: Finishing Heifers
2) Plan to butcher her around 15 months. So probably in June or July.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply. I’m keeping the heifer penned at the previous owner’s place. I probably only have until the first of April. Would there be a problem slaughtering her then? That will give me 90 days more.
 

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Of course!

I’m keeping the heifer penned at the previous owner’s place. I probably only have until the first of April. Would there be a problem slaughtering her then? That will give me 90 days more.
Well, 15 months for a heifer her size would be the prime time to butcher. If you can't make a deal with the owner to pay maybe $80 a month just to keep her there for a few more months, then the first of April is fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
She will be around 11.5 months then, correct? "Market-grade meat" is slaughtered from 12-24 months, but as a rancher, I always say 15-18 months for standard-size. We raise Dexters (mini) and tend to go a bit longer.
I wish I had more time but I don’t if I keep her at the place where I have her now. A local high school has a butchering program that people in my area brag on. I like the idea of supporting this local school program for the kids so I want to make that window. Will the meat at 800 to 900 pounds at 12 months be of lessor quality than at 1000-1200 pounds at 15-18 months old or will there just be fewer pounds of meat for the freezer?
 

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If you don't have a weight scale, buy a weight tape online...

Obviously it won't be 100% accurate, but will get the job done when you would like to get her weight. I would check the weight monthly, especially in the last month when you start feeding corn, grain, plus the daily hay forage.
 
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