First, we began our day at 5:30am. We wanted to get them down to the UofA early. This is how I thought it was going to go down.....
Because we did not feed them all day yesterday, I figured all they'd need as an incentive to follow us is a little food. So, they would follow the sound all the way to the trailer. Then, they would climb right in and we'd close the door behind them. Bid farewell, blow kisses and off we'd go...... Ahhhhh NO!
We began with the female, the smaller of the two. Let's just say I now understand the whole "chute" thing, chasing them through a huge yard was tough! We ended up having to use a rope. Chutes I always thought were inhumane keepings for our animals. Too restrictive. But after having to pull and almost drag her to the trailer made me realize just how unprepared we were! First off horse trailers with no ramps are a bad idea. When we finally got her to the truck Hubby lifted her front legs while me and a friend pulled the rope.
She took us a very long hour to put her in. Second, we were on to Big Willy. This time we knew how we were going to do things. We walked him close to where we needed him and then put on the ropes. The minute he felt those ropes he fled back the other way. Dragging both men and me with him. Hubby's finger got ripped open. And let me say WOW can they squeal! I never heard such a sound! We probably woke everyone up in a 20 miles radius! After much petting of Big Willy and talking to him we got him to start walking again in the direction we wanted him to go. Put the ropes back on and boom! Off he went again! Only this time the rope slipped downwards towards his back area. A very sensitive area for any male animal. It was all so quick we didn't realize this until later. We spanked his butt and he hopped right in.... We closed the door in a hurry.
Towards the end, hearing him squeal made me cry. I looked at Hubby and said we are never doing this again. My heart broke seeing him like that. Hearing his cries. We know we made the mistake of becoming close with them, and not keeping a distance. But how can you really. Over a year with them. They become part of you.
After all that, we decided not to take the goats. We were exhausted!
I cried a little more on the ride. The kids were fine amazingly. They were real excited to see what was up next. We did prepare them for our whole reasoning for doing this. Food. Providing for ourselves. They say you should never name them, but I don't think naming them does it. We could of called them all hogs, it's an attachment.
We arrived at the UofA and unloaded them, which was easy, they just spanked them and down they went into the pen. What pros they use like a plastic oar. Not hard though. So now they are to be weighed. She was 327lbs, and Big Willy was a whopping 457lbs!! We were pleased! Especially after learning you get a 70% return on the meat from that! After filling out a form of what cuts we wanted, I asked......."So we should get back almost 600lbs right!" Ahhhh NO! Apparently, since we waited a year to slaughter we're looking at about 50- 60%, like 400lbs. Boooo! He said 6-8months old is perfect for the 70% return.... You live you learn.
On the way out we got to see two trailers dropping off very different cows. One had a huge, very angry cow. It rocked that trailer big time!! Like he knew what was coming. The other was a smaller sweet curious cow. Made me rethink the whole cow raising thing....
So, we were on the way home and I finally smiled. I looked at Hubby and he was smiling. We both agreed to continue our journey of raising our own animals. We will love them, they'll live good and will be treated well. Just next time we slaughter at 6mths. Easier to handle, less traumatic for them and of course a better return.