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Do You Know Our Beef?

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We get lots of questions regarding our Beef and you are a knowledge hungry bunch so we have answered the most common questions here.

QUESTION: What do you feed your cattle in the winter? Do you supplement with any grain during cold weather?

We are often asked this question! Technically, almost all cattle are "grass fed" and "free range" for a portion of their lives. However, the majority are "finished" in feedlots where they are raised in confinement and switched to a grain-based diet for fast weight gain. Most supermarket cattle are treated with feed additives and antibiotics to boost their productivity levels and to minimize the health problems that come from eating an unnatural diet in stressful conditions. Cleverly worded phrases like "finished with minimal grain" sound benign and it is important to inquire as to the management protocol used by any producer. We are always glad to share how we raise our cattle.
Like most grass farmers we finish the majority of our beef within the growing season of our native grasses. The weather can be changeable to say the least so our farmer try and have at least 8 weeks of grass supply for our finishing herd in the winter.
Our farmers attempt to have animals finishing at the times of the year when the native grasses are producing. We try to finish as many as possible before the native grass is gone and we move our herd to winter pasture.
Here at www.athleat.co.uk, we want to supply our beef direct to you all year long and not just the beef that is finished during the growing periods. As a result, our farmers plant winter pastures for our finishing herd that allows us to continue transporting our beef directly from green pasture to the processor.

Rotational management of the fields ensures that the animals grazing area each day are large enough to meet their nutritional needs. Each day the farmers rotate the herd to new fresh area. By the time we rotate through all the grazing areas, the first areas will have had adequate rest and will have grown again to the optimal nutritional height. This process keeps our finishing herd fed through the winter until the cool season grasses begins growing again in the spring. None of our cows in our beef program are supplemented with grains. The hay we feed them in winter maintains 90% of the nutrition of fresh grass and much of the natural moisture.
QUESTION: How are your cows processed and butchered?
We are lucky to have a small family run slaughterhouse that is very close to the farms therefore the animals have minimum stress for the journey. The slaughterhouse is located in the Speyside area in the Highlands of Scotland (where the meat is from too). There is a full time vet in the facility but because the slaughterhouse only processes approx 250 animals per week it is a much "happier" place to be than the large ones most other suppliers use.

Once the carcasses are delivered to us we have 4 generations of Butchery experience dating back to 1953 when our forefathers opened their first ever Butchers shop in our facility. This experience means we can maintain the quality of the beef whilst we freshly butcher your order. Quality Butchery is very important in the pursuit of cutting you the perfect grass fed 28 day aged steak!

QUESTION: Are your cattle ever fed grain?

No, our cattle are grass fed and grass finished.

QUESTION: Is your grass fed beef organic?

Our beef is not certified organic. However, our cattle eat nothing but grasses, supplemented by hay in the winter.
Since almost all organic beef are grain-fed in confinement, we maintain that eating our beef, raised humanely in open pastures, is a healthier choice, more natural, and better for the environment.

QUESTION: Is your product “free range”?

Yes, our cattle are never confined to a feedlot.

QUESTION: What does your beef taste like?

Our beef has a distinct “pure” and really beefy taste. It is different than grain fed; we think it tastes better without all the chemicals. Our Beef has a lovely marbling and the fat is a light yellow colour which is a key indicator of the grass fed nature of beef.

QUESTION: Do you use any antibiotics or hormones in the rearing of your cattle?

There are no prophylactic antibiotics used in the rearing of our cattle and no hormones to accelerate the growth of the cattle.

QUESTION: What age are the cattle at slaughter?

This can vary throughout the year and across different species but our Aberdeen Angus Cattle have a maximum slaughter age of 48 months, with the average being approximately 36 Months. This age means that the cattle can develop naturally and without any stress.

QUESTION: Is the slaughterhouse a long distance from the Farm?

No. Both the farms and the slaughterhouse are all in the same county and the distance travelled is very small to help with the reduction of animal stress.

QUESTION: Are the cows kept in confined feedlots?

No. They have full access to the pastures at all times.

QUESTION: Are the cattle slaughtered ritually or to Halal specifications?

This is not a service we offer with our range. We do have alternative suppliers that can make Halal or ritually slaughtered cattle available. Just send us an email at info@athleat.co.uk

QUESTION: Are the cattle stunned prior to slaughter?

Yes. The slaughterhouse conforms with all guidelines and uses a captive bolt gun that stuns the animal and renders it completely unconscious and without the ability to feel any pain whatsoever.

QUESTION: What breed are the cattle?

All the Cattle we offer are 100% certified Aberdeen Angus.

QUESTION: Are the cattle graded?

Yes they are graded at the slaughterhouse once on the way to the hanging rooms. We only utilise “A” grade carcasses

QUESTION: What does organic beef mean and is that better for me?

Organic is a term that can be misused. Being “certified Organic” means that the soil association has been to the farm that the animal has been reared on and if the land conforms to the Soil Association criteria they can call their product Organic. There is a membership fee for using the title, and we have made the conscious decision to use pastured beef rather than pay a premium for this service.

QUESTION: Are the cattle fed on fields that are rotated to save over grazing?

In a word, yes. Because the cattle aren’t intensively farmed overcrowding is less of an issue which means that the fields can be used sparingly. With a 30-45 day rest period between grazing the farmers can allow for the pasture to recover fully. The Farms we utilise are also large so there is less of a chance of overgrazing. This vastly reduces any soil erosion problems too.

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