Yet, decisions must ultimately be made to maximize the greatest return on each livestock member. Do we sell an animal at auction to protect our stores of grass (we are still vigilent for future drought)? Do we take cows in as bred cows? Do we bring back the open (unbred) cows from the auction back to the pasture? Which bull do we select for slaughter? What should the cutting order look like? Which bull do we keep for breeding? When do we dress 11 beautiful Australorpe roosters for the freezer?
My sister asked me recently if I find it difficult to take a bull to slaughter. She is a vegetarian. I said "Yes". Donald says he is used to it but I know he is not. Each time we take a bull to the butcher, we go with a heavy heart and also a resolute one. We have watched our animals grow up and cared for them through summer heat and winter ice. We are close to our food source. This is what it feels like to practice a centuries-old tradition.