Today I took four pigs and and a heifer to the butcher. I was supposed to go yesterday and was on my way with the same four pigs and a different heifer but as I was leaving we got an email not to bring the critters because of the MLK holiday. I left the pigs in the trailer with water and food and unloaded the heifer. Because she was easy to load I took a different heifer today, along with the pigs to the butcher.
Processing the animals that I have spent so much time raising is challenging so I spend a lot of time thinking about the animals we don't process.
I try to find jobs for all my Highlanders. Some will be oxen or working steers like my six year old pair of Highlander oxen, Topper and Stash. Traditionally only the males become working steers or oxen and besides Topper and Stash, I have two or three other teams in training. The boys that don't have a job will most likely join the beef program. I have a few bulls and their job is to breed the cows. Each cow's job is to raise babies. We, also, have one older heifer, Clemy, and a steer, Bleu, that are just for riding and of course, Red, is trained to pull a cart.
We have sixty-five head of cattle and twenty hogs that have jobs. Some will entertain, some will feed us, all deserve our respect and compassion.