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Old 12-30-2013, 11:06 AM
stpauler stpauler is offline
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What happens to cow's udders after they're slaughtered?

We were discussing the many uses of cows at a party on Saturday night and I wondered what is done with the udders on beef cows. So what is done with them?
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Old 12-30-2013, 11:36 AM
psychonaut psychonaut is offline
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I imagine many of them get eaten, same as most of the rest of the cow. It's not hard to find cow udder recipies online or in older cookbooks. I haven't seen udder in any butcher shops, but it could probably be ordered on request.

However, since udders are very fatty, most of them probably get separated for rendering with the rest of the fat.
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Old 12-30-2013, 11:37 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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The udder is mostly fat (it is a type of breast after all) so it isn't useful for much after the cow is slaughtered. Like other waste parts of the cow, it is typically just cut off and sent to be rendered at a rendering plant where the waste parts of the cow are broken down into bulk components that may be used as ingredients in other products.
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Old 12-30-2013, 11:41 AM
Ornery Bob Ornery Bob is offline
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Strictly speaking, the cattle grown for beef are steers, or castrated bulls. Female cattle, "cows" are used for the for production of more cattle and aren't specifically raised for their meat.

When they are no longer useful as producers, they're slaughtered the udders become "beef byproducts."
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Old 12-30-2013, 11:42 AM
psychonaut psychonaut is offline
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Here's an article about eating udders, including photos of them being prepared in a kitchen. It includes a link to USDA regulations which state that "lactating mammary glands of cattle… shall not be saved for edible purposes", but that "nonlactating cow udders may be saved for food purposes".
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Old 12-30-2013, 11:55 AM
running coach running coach is offline
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(Sh)udders.
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Old 12-30-2013, 12:37 PM
Alpha Twit Alpha Twit is offline
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Speaking as a former slaughterhouse employee, Ornery Bob is correct. In the specific facility I worked at, at least 99 out of every hundred head that went down the line were steers. We did have an old milk show up once in a while though. Udders were just trimmed off and dropped onto the belt for the dog food line.
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Old 12-30-2013, 03:51 PM
dasmoocher dasmoocher is offline
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Another use, although probably very rare, would that they used by researchers studying lactation who want the tissue. I knew a guy who would go to slaughterhouses to get pituitary glands for research purposes.
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:01 PM
Blake Blake is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ornery Bob View Post
Strictly speaking, the cattle grown for beef are steers, or castrated bulls. Female cattle, "cows" are used for the for production of more cattle and aren't specifically raised for their meat.
If this were true, the world would be literally buried in cows by this.

Think about it. A heifer will "normally" produce a calf every 1.25 years for 8 years. So over a lifetime a cow will produce 3.2 bull-calves and 3.2 heifers.

If every cow was kept as a breeder, as you suggest, then the cow population of the planet would double every 2.5 years, with an exponential increase. If this had been common practice for just the past 50 years, and if the total global herd was just 1 million cows in 1963, we would now have >30 trillion cattle on the planet, and the weight of cows will be due to surpass the weight of the Earth itself by the end of this century.

Obviously this is not occurring.

Cows are commonly sold for meat. In fact they make up about 45% of the animals sold for meat. They don't make up 50% because breeders live longer and so have a natural attrition rate. But it's around 50% of the throughput of abattoirs because around 50% of cattle born are females.

Any given animal production operation decides what the sustainable number of cows is, and any animals over that number are sold. Some of those cows will be bought by other producers as breeders, but the vast majority go straight to slaughter.

The idea that cows and heifers aren't slaughtered at around the same rate as bulls/steers makes no sense.

Quote:
When they are no longer useful as producers, they're slaughtered the udders become "beef byproducts."
When they are no longer useful as producers, it is because, by definition, they are dry. Dry cows don't have udders that are large enough to be worth separating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpha Twit
Speaking as a former slaughterhouse employee, Ornery Bob is correct. In the specific facility I worked at, at least 99 out of every hundred head that went down the line were steers
That would have been because you were working on a line producing prime beef. Steers comprise the majority of animals in feedlots, and hence most prime beef is from steers. But that just means that another line, either in the same abattoir or at another abattoir, is processing 99% cows.

You can see the national figures for Australia here. 4, 100, 000 steers/bulls slaughtered. 3, 200, 000 cows/heifers. Figures in the US can be seen here. Per month it's roughly 1400 steers/bulls and 1350 cows/heifers. The closer ratio reflects the more intensive nature of US farming and concomitant lower loss of breeders.

Figures for anywhere in the world have about the same ratios because cattle produce equal sex ratios of calves. Just as many females have to be slaughtered as males, or else the females are being left tot rot in the paddock.

Last edited by Blake; 12-30-2013 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:51 PM
yabob yabob is offline
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Several times we've been over the use of dried out old dairy cows in commercial hamburger like that used by McDonalds. Cecil's column on the topic even included a quote from a McDonalds spokeperson saying as much - phrased as the mix of beef in their hamburger including "leaner, more flavorful cuts from dairy cattle" or something like that, rather than "dried out old dairy cows" of course.
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Old 12-31-2013, 10:58 AM
Enola Straight Enola Straight is offline
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Baloney and hot dogs
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Old 12-31-2013, 12:14 PM
August West August West is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blake View Post
Figures for anywhere in the world have about the same ratios because cattle produce equal sex ratios of calves.
This was a great post, Blake, but I just wanted to point out that farmed cattle do not necessarily produce equal ratios of offspring. I interviewed at a bull semen business that separated "boy" sperm from "girl" sperm and would sell you whichever you desire. Science!
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Old 12-31-2013, 04:31 PM
Pushkin Pushkin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpha Twit View Post
Udders were just trimmed off and dropped onto the belt for the dog food line.
I figured that might the case, as with everything else a person in the West wouldn't put on their dinner plate.
  #14  
Old 12-31-2013, 04:33 PM
Chicken Fingers Chicken Fingers is offline
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I often see udders for sale in the meat departments of Asian grocery stores in my area.
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Old 12-31-2013, 04:43 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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I would have guessed jester hats.
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Old 12-31-2013, 05:23 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by August West View Post
... I interviewed at a bull semen business that separated "boy" sperm from "girl" sperm and would sell you whichever you desire. Science!
What job title? ... and did you get the job?
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:27 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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According to my father, in The Old Country before The War, it was for a friend of his to buy, slip down his pants, fill with water, partially taken out through the zipper at a public urinal where others were peeing, be looked down at and cursed for not peeing properly, or something, and be slashed off in anger with a razor blade.

And also to be eaten, like lungs, often enough when you're poor.

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 01-02-2014 at 02:29 AM.
  #18  
Old 01-02-2014, 10:27 AM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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originally they were used for purses. coin organizer was a big selling feature.
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Old 01-02-2014, 10:28 AM
August West August West is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
What job title? ... and did you get the job?
I think it was something generic like "Lab Technician", I was offered the job, but luckily something better came along! (no pun intended).
  #20  
Old 01-02-2014, 10:52 AM
runningdude runningdude is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ornery Bob View Post
Strictly speaking, the cattle grown for beef are steers, or castrated bulls. Female cattle, "cows" are used for the for production of more cattle, and milk, and aren't specifically raised for their meat.

When they are no longer useful as producers, they're slaughtered the udders become "beef byproducts."
Don't forget milk!
  #21  
Old 01-02-2014, 11:20 AM
Rhythmdvl Rhythmdvl is offline
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Surgical gloves
  #22  
Old 01-02-2014, 11:28 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Surgical gloves
Only for cartoon characters.
  #23  
Old 01-02-2014, 04:34 PM
dasmoocher dasmoocher is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by August West View Post
I think it was something generic like "Lab Technician", I was offered the job, but luckily something better came along! (no pun intended).
I think the bull gets the job. Lab tech sounds better than semen collector.
  #24  
Old 01-02-2014, 04:45 PM
Charlie Wayne Charlie Wayne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ornery Bob View Post
Strictly speaking, the cattle grown for beef are steers, or castrated bulls. Female cattle, "cows" are used for the for production of more cattle and aren't specifically raised for their meat.

When they are no longer useful as producers, they're slaughtered the udders become "beef byproducts."

Beef Byproducts often mean "hot dogs" or "balogna" or any kind of sausage like pepperoni, salami, etc.
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