From calf to hamburger

A steak and beefburger are both types of meat that come from cows. There are even cattle breeds that are specially kept for their meat, such as double-muscled cattle (which have very thick buttocks!). Read more.

Who helps raise the veal calves?

A suckler cow is a mother cow that gives birth to veal calves. She gives them enough milk to help them grow properly. A herd of cows usually contains a big bull as well. Suckler cows give birth to a calf every year – that’s a lot of baby showers!

Beef cows are very large, even when they are born. That’s why they are often born by Caesarean section, which requires an operation. But in the breeding process, we try to get cows to have their calves naturally, so fewer Caesarean sections are needed

Calves with earrings

The ‘earrings’ that calves wear are a bit different from those that humans do. Their ear tag allows the farmer to see exactly where and when the calf was born. When calves are 14 days old, they are sorted by weight and type. Heavy calves will produce rosé veal, and light calves will make white veal. All the calves in between will become red veal. From here, calves of the same meat variety will go to the same rearing farm.

The various kinds of beef

There are two types of beef:

  • veal en
  • red meat.

In turn, there are also two types of veal:

  • white veal anden
  • rosé veal.


If the calf is no older than eight months when it is slaughtered, then its meat is called veal. White veal comes from calves slaughtered between 23 and 28 weeks old. White veal calves have a lighter meat colour because they get special food, especially milk.

As for calves that are fed roughage and concentrated feed, their meat turns pink (rosé). We distinguish between young rosé and old rosé. Young rosé calves are slaughtered before they are eight months old. So, really their meat is veal. Old rosé calves are slaughtered between 8 and 12 months old.

Red meat

When a calf (usually a bull) is older than one year, it is raised for red meat. Take a look at a raw steak or minced meat, and see how red it is. So, red meat comes from adult cattle.

Beef cattle get lots of delicious food, which makes their meat extra tasty. Their fat also gives a lot of flavour to the meat.

Anna and Dean visit the calves

Discover how calves grow up on a dairy farm

Test your knowledge

Sometimes, when you’re giving a presentation, you might need to ask the audience questions. Why not test your own knowledge here? You could use them in your presentation