How Much Does it Cost to Butcher a Cow?
Butchering a cow is the process of carving all the different kinds of meat from a cow. Whether you own a vast farm with cattle or you have purchased a cow to be butchered, there is a tremendous amount of meat that can be taken from even one cow. However, retrieving this meat is not going to come cheap. Although killing the animal can be done all by yourself, choosing a professional butcher is the way to go to make sure that the job is done properly the first time around.
How much does it cost?
- The cost for having a cow butchered varies from one region to another. In addition to the actual butchering, there are some labor costs associated with the procedure. The kill fee alone will be between$25 to $50. Butchering one beef at TheMeats.com, for example, is priced at $35.00. However, a big portion of the costs will go to the price per pound for the hanging weight (the weight of the animal on the rail after being butchered). For example, if the butcher shop charges $.50 per pound of hanging weight, then the hanging weight will be multiplied to the price. The kill fee will then be added to identify the overall cost.
- For the entire wrapping and processing of the meat, the prices can range from $0.40 to $0.80 per pound of the cow.
- According to GrannyRetreat.com, the cost associated for butchering a cow is not just only about having it killed and butchered. A big portion of the cost will go for the processing. Although the prices are subject to changes, one can expect to pay around $1,050.00 to $1,100 for half the beef, including the processing. The said price range is inclusive for the price of the cow itself. In the event that you have a cow of your own, then the price will be obviously lesser.
What is going to be included?
- The process of butchering has changed over the years. Gone were the days when butchering animals was done inhumanely. Today, modern ways of butchering starts by sedating the cow with an electric shock and then cutting the carotid artery and jugular veins in the neck. Other butchers also make use of the combination of the two processes by injecting a metal slug into the cow’s head. Other more traditional and experienced butchers just simply shoot the cow between the eyes with a rifle. The head is then removed using a knife.
- After the cow is killed, the carcass of the animal will be hung from a gambrel, a device that resembles a hook. Once this is done, the butcher will then cut from the inside out in order to remove the skin. When the skin is completely removed, the butcher starts removing the cow’s organs and removes the meat from the butchered animal.
What are the extra costs?
- Processing and wrapping. As mentioned, costs for processing must be considered as well. Processing and wrapping the meat will occupy much of the butchers’ time on the job. Thus, they charge a considerable amount for these. However, the processing fees vary according to how the beef is prepared. For example, a butcher shop charges for the processing per pound between$4 and $5 per pound average (based on the hanging weight of 250 pounds and an expected loss of 50% in processing where fat and bone are not removed). Another store charges around $250 for processing half a cow. Thus, you can expect to pay $500 for the entire cow. But again, this varies from one place to another.
- Delivery. If you wish to have the processed meat delivered to your house, you might need to consider some delivery fees. As with the processing, this varies from one butchering shop/store to another, not to mention that the exact price is influenced by your location in the country.
- Trip charge. Other butchering shops would visit and butcher animals at your location and then take them back to their facility for further meat processing in accordance to your specifications. However, there is an additional expense for this. A particular butchering shop, for example, charges $0.50 per mile to pick up animals on your location.
Factors that influence the price:
- Weight of the cow. Most butchers charge by the pound of the animal. Because of that, you can expect to pay high if you have a cow that weighs above average. However, a cow that weighs more than average will also yield more meat.
- Location. It is known that butchering shops charge differently according to where they are located in the country. The location is also a big determinant of how much is the delivery fee and processing of the meat.
Tips to know:
- As per Dynah Geissal, a typical cow can yield 18 different cuts of meat and a total yield of about 750 pounds. However, the number of cuts may depend on the method of butchering employed.
- Like pigs, butchering cows can be easier if food will be withheld a day before butchering. If you choose to let the animal eat during his last day, you need to be extra careful with the guts when dissecting. It is always easier to butcher an animal if it has an empty stomach.
- You must keep in mind that your yield will be affected by the way you want your meat to be processed. If you opt for a boneless cut, you will have a lesser yield. However, you may have a higher yield on a cutting with the bone but you will not be able to eat the bone.
How can I save money?
- Like any service, you do not need to sign up for something immediately without consulting other shops or stores offering similar services. Look for a shop that offers butchering, processing and wrapping services at a low cost. Consult the yellow pages or research the internet for the best deals you can take find. If you can get a whole package, this will be the cheapest way to go. If you are going to use butchering services on a regular basis, you should employ the same butcher each time. You can possibly work a deal if you do all your butchering through the same butcher.
- If you have the skill and the “guts” to butcher an animal all by yourself, you can do the slaughtering of the animal on your own. You do not only save a great deal of money, but you have the control over the meat production process. However, it takes practice and patience to efficiently slaughter and butcher a cow.