Buying half/whole cow questions - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 07-03-2008, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
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How big of a chest freezer do you need?

How long does it last you?

S, mama to boy M(6/07) and baby girl R(7/10). We do all the good natural family living stuff!
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#2 of 6 Old 07-03-2008, 11:42 AM
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We got a 1/4 cow (about 150lbs hanging weight) and I _think_ it took up about a third of our upright freezer (which is about the size of a normal refrigerator, just with one door). That much seems to last us about 6 months, though I think I was unconsciously rationing it because a) I didn't know how long it would last, and b) I kept thinking of the lump sum cost, even though it would be spread out over months.
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#3 of 6 Old 07-03-2008, 01:43 PM
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I was told you will end up with about 50-60% of the hanging weight in meat and bones. Some farmers will also give you all the "scraps" too - like organs,more bones etc. 75 lbs of meat (about 150 lbs hanging weight) would last us *way* longer than 6 months, but then we aren't huge huge meat eaters.
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#4 of 6 Old 07-03-2008, 07:28 PM
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We just bought our first 1/2 cow. I was told that hanging weight is about 45% less than "walking around weight", and "take home" weight is about 30% less than hanging weight. Our take home was 185 lbs., which included 13 lbs. of bones for soup, 2 packages of heart, and I can't recall how much liver. It took up about half to 2/3 of our standing chest freezer and it's a big freezer. It tastes really yummy though and we've already polished off the first batch of bone broth.
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#5 of 6 Old 07-03-2008, 08:00 PM
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It really depends on the cow and the butcher as to how much meat you will have. Last year we got 1/4 cow, it lasted us 6 months, and took up about 1/4 of my chest freezer.

This year from a different farm and a different butcher we bought 1/2 thinking it'd be enough for a year. Well, this butcher gave us massive amounts of liver and tons and tons of bones, so I ended up taking home 288 lbs (366 lbs hanging weight) and filling over 3/4 of my chest freezer.

We are definitely going to spend the year spreading hospitality to our friends and neighbors : because there is no way we will eat this all ourselves!

Naomi, mama to Faith (12/03) and Hannah (12/06) and Kai, a homebirth.jpg waterbirth.jpg on 5/15/10
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#6 of 6 Old 07-03-2008, 08:51 PM
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One very large beef will last my family at least 2 years. We're 2 adults, 2 young kids, eating beef about 4 dinners per week with leftovers for a couple of lunches. It fills up one whole chest freezer (the big kind, I think it's like 25 cu. ft.), plus part of another one with all the scraps (bones and scraps for stock and dogs). This one we're about finishing off was 1400 lbs. live weight, 750 lbs. hanging weight, I don't know exactly how much we actually took home but it was in the neighborhood of 600 lbs. including the scraps.

There is no secret ingredient.
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