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Old 07-21-2010, 02:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm looking to try and purchase a half cow next year. I would prefer it be grass fed and humanely raised.

I have NO idea how much this will cost once butchering and packaging are figured in. I'd also like to get some chickens and pork as well.

Can any of you who purchase like this give me a ballpark of what it costs? Please. We want to do this after something like tax refund time.

Oh and would half a cow fit in a smallish chest freezer? Ours is probably half the size of one of the big ones.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:30 AM
 
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We have a small chest freezer and our half cow fit in it.

Prices will depend on locality... we get ours from a farm local to us, grass-fed, free range, hormone and antibiotic free, humanely raised and butchered, for $3.15 a pound. I don't remember exactly how much it was, maybe $1000 for a half cow? We're getting another one next month too... the half cow lasted us just about a year. The same farm sells pork in half or whole weight for $2.75 a lb (I think a full pig was $500 or $600, but again I don't remember exactly and don't have my checkbook here to look).

All of the cow meat hung at top choice prime... really high quality meat. It's actually a bunch cheaper than getting the same quality meat at the grocery store.

If you're in upstate NY I can recommend some excellent farmers to you.
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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It depends on your location.
We pay $2.35/lb for our beef, it is raised by our neighbors and we know exactly what they are fed etc. (DH does chores for them regularly)

Chicken is $2.00/lb for 7-9lb roasters

Pork is $2.10/lb for a half.

DH and I - totally winging life with our four children, DS1 (6.5yrs), DS2 (5yrs), DD (3yrs) and DS3 (1)!

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Old 07-21-2010, 12:37 PM
 
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We split a 1/4 of a cow last fall with a neighbor, so basically got 1/8th of a cow. Paid about $3 a pound, and we spend several hundred dollars for our 1/8th of a cow.
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Old 07-21-2010, 03:58 PM
 
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It really depends on where you live and how they price it. We do it differently than anyone here, it seems. The way we buy is that we actually purchase the animal, then pay to have it processed. So we buy ON THE HOOF and pay market price the day it goes to slaughter. Last year that was 85 cents. The butchering was $35 kill fee and 38 cents per pound HANGING WEIGHT for processing. So, for an average-sized animal of 1000lbs. we end up paying about $550 - $600 and roughly 300lbs. of meat. We've always paid less than $2/lb. This is a friend that raises beef cattle, btw. What makes it such a deal for us is that we're paying only market price for the animal. I wouldn't expect to get such a deal from someone that I don't know.

I would plan to pay at least $750 for a side of beef and expect 275lbs. give or take some depending on the kill weight. You typically figure 30 - 35 lbs. of meat per cubic foot of freezer space.
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:49 PM
 
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Last year we paid $2/lb for the beef, and $0.50/lb for the processing. This was for certified organic, grass-fed beef.

We raise/butcher pastured chickens, and occasionally sell some. We sell for $2.50/lb, and this is barely more than breaking even.

Honestly, though, prices vary SO much from place to place. I'd recommend going to localharvest or eatwild and just emailing several farmers to ask for prices.

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Old 07-22-2010, 08:01 PM
 
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This is where we get our beef from. It is $1200 for 1/2.

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Old 07-23-2010, 12:15 PM
 
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Mine is from a fellow MDC mama I met on MDC...

Its from a farmer local to our state. He raises it, and we do a side. USually the hanging weight is about 350-400 lbs. You pay the market price based on that. He sends it to a wonderful butcher and they call me and set up how we want it cut. I usually write the farmer a check for about $750. The butcher when we pick it up from runs about $212 average (3 years). For fun, DH weighed all the packages before we put in the freezer and we had a bit over 200 lbs of meat. It was about $4 or so per pound incl the hamburger which is the best.
We figure in the gas for the trip to the butcher and freezing, its about a $1000 investment. I cannot say enough how wonderful the meat is. We have learned how to "budget" the consuming and how to use it up by the time we pick up the next side next January. Such as eating a lot of roasts and stew in the deep cold of the winter, grill steaks and burgers in the summer and finish up the lot with stew etc before Xmas.

We also started a full pig. That is about 180 lbs hanging weight. That comes in oct/nov which is perfect because our beef supply is dwindling and there is room in the freezer for the pork. The bacon, cured ham..that alone is worth it, never mind the pork chops etc.

We have also "traded" with other people who do sides. I started the pork after my neighbor bought it. I traded her a few roasts, hamburger etc for a cured ham, pork chops, and bacon. Then decided to do the pork.

A patient of DH has a son who fishes for salmon. She has more salmon than she needs. We traded a few steaks for this wonderful fish.

We have a few family members who are allowed to "raid" the freezer for items. My dad sometimes will take the breakfast sausage, a ham and bacon as will a BIL. They are very welcome to.

Another BIL enjoys eating over here, loves the whole idea. His traveling lifestyle and work would not allow him to stock like we do. When he brought his now wife to visit last Dec, he was here for 20 minutes and showed her our freezer. He was so excited. Literally put their suitcases in the guest room and said- you gotta see this!! I am afraid if we are out of town and he stays here, he will pull out the fillets and have a party for local friends. LOL


We are doing a full lamb this fall as well. When we have to buy another freezer that is when my friends and family will do an intervention.

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Old 07-23-2010, 01:51 PM
 
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Here is my results/cost from last fall - http://www.mothering.com/discussions...497&highlight=

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Old 07-23-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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Oh yes I would love a lamb or two - it's terribly expensive from the grocery store, AND our local stores pretty much only stock New Zealand lamb which just seems so backwards.
But I haven't made any contacts yet.

Also fish, I would love to have local fish.

DH and I - totally winging life with our four children, DS1 (6.5yrs), DS2 (5yrs), DD (3yrs) and DS3 (1)!

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Old 07-23-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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I just ordered 1/2 of a cow last month. The price really varies due to region and the size of the animal, but here are our numbers.

Our 1/2 beef was 266 lbs hanging weight. Our cost, including the butcher and processing, is $3.25/lb hanging weight. So 266 X $3.25 = a total of $864.50 for our half.

I am not picking up the beef until Tuesday, so I do not know how all of this works out for finished weight. I assume 15-20% of the hanging weight will be gone, so maybe 210-225 lbs finished weight? That would be a final cost of $3.85 to $4.10 a pound.
Which is a WICKED deal in my area for certified organic, pasture finished beef! Organic pastured beef costs over $5 a pound for ground beef in my area, and steaks are up to $15+ a pound, roasts are $9 a pound.
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Old 07-23-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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Just a comment about buying beef in bulk from small producers. Spring is generally not when when grassfeed creatures get to market weight. You may need to save your money til early fall.
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Old 07-24-2010, 04:40 AM
 
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Most I have seen are $600-ish to $1300-ish.

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Old 07-25-2010, 12:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mnnice View Post
Just a comment about buying beef in bulk from small producers. Spring is generally not when when grassfeed creatures get to market weight. You may need to save your money til early fall.
This is a good point. I'm seeing a lot of ads right now in my area to put in orders for "freezer beef". The friend that I buy the beef from butchers in the spring, but I think that's an anomaly.

I do think it's important to try to establish a relationship with whomever you are buying from, though. In our case, it's not certified organic, but I know it's organic because I know the person. Establishing a relationship is good for everyone, too. You become a good reference for word-of-mouth business and the person who is raising the beef/pork/chicken/eggs/produce/etc. can rely on you to buy every year. In fact, sometime in the last few years... can't remember when... when we bought our side of beef, the price came out high because it was a particularly small cow (which happens sometimes when you're not bulking them up artificially) and the price was going to be nearer to $3/lb. The friend came back and gave us some money back "to be fair". Most people are out to just make a buck, but when you have someone as a food source, like Ann mentioned she is for chickens, people are more likely to "cut a deal" or more importantly, just be fair. In Ann's case she's breaking even, and for many people that's really all they care about. Timing can be critical, though.
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Old 07-25-2010, 12:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tinuviel_k View Post
I assume 15-20% of the hanging weight will be gone, so maybe 210-225 lbs finished weight?
Usually, depending on the grade of beef, you can assume 50% - 60% of the "on the hoof" weight. It also depends on how you ask the cuts to be and how much/what cuts go into the hamburger.
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Old 07-25-2010, 12:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post
We are doing a full lamb this fall as well. When we have to buy another freezer that is when my friends and family will do an intervention.
Sorry to keep posting to this thread, but I do have more to say, believe it or not ...

Amy, when you get the lamb butchered, inquire about their experience butchering lamb. It is not the same as beef or pork. My father has gotten into the habit of buying us a whole lamb every spring and we've had mixed results. For example, one place left the chine bone on the rib chops... made them almost worthless. The bone-in roasts did not have the cartilage trimmed and, really, they just did a butcher job on the poor thing that gave up its life. Pun intended.

Just saying that I know you're in a good area that you're likely to have options for who processes the animal, so ask around. I don't want you to end up with results like we did the one year.
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Old 07-26-2010, 01:15 AM
 
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We ordered 1/4 cow a few months ago (it was all they had left). What this place does is you pre-pay a chunk and then they order the cows and raise them. Then you will pay the balance once it is ready to be butchered and then pay the butcher. Our cost will most liley be a little over $500 for the 1/4.
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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It really depends on where you are. We just ordered 1/2 a cow and after butchering, packaging, etc it's going to cost only $700ish. I contacted almost all of the farms in the state that offered organic, grass-fed beef to make sure I got the best deal. the website eatwild.com has lots of good info! I also looked into pastured chickens and turkeys. Chickens are about $10-$12 each and turkeys are $50 each. Good luck!

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Old 07-26-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Sorry to keep posting to this thread, but I do have more to say, believe it or not ...

Amy, when you get the lamb butchered, inquire about their experience butchering lamb. It is not the same as beef or pork. My father has gotten into the habit of buying us a whole lamb every spring and we've had mixed results. For example, one place left the chine bone on the rib chops... made them almost worthless. The bone-in roasts did not have the cartilage trimmed and, really, they just did a butcher job on the poor thing that gave up its life. Pun intended.

Just saying that I know you're in a good area that you're likely to have options for who processes the animal, so ask around. I don't want you to end up with results like we did the one year.
Oh wow, glad you posted! This place is north of me, they deal with a small butcher who does lamb and they butchers thru a place who does all their butchering, but I do see your point since I had to do the same with the pork.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:22 AM
 
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Update on our pricing:
Ok, I just got the 1/2 cow we ordered.

Our hanging weight was 266 lbs. Our finished weight that we took home is 202 lbs. So we had a 25% loss in weight overall. We did get soup bones, liver, heart, tongue.
Our price was $3.25/lb hanging weight. So our finished weight price was $4.28/lb.

I split the half with a friend, and now I have 101 lbs of yummy beef in the freezer.
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