Raising a Cow for Beef: Month 5

Corey —  January 29, 2010

       Last month, I posted an update about how my wife and I are raising a cow for beef. This is a summary of our activity and costs for month 5. First, let’s check Bambi’s growth. Here he is at four months old:

Bambi - 4 Months Old

       And here he is today at 5 months old (plus a week):

Paul & Bambi - 5 Months Old

       It’s clear he’s growing quickly now. He’s much bigger than he was a month ago. I’ve had to switch him from a collar to a halter so I can handle him better. (The collar was getting too small as well.)

Costs & Time

       Again, there haven’t been any huge changes in the amount of time it takes to care for him. It’s pretty easy right now.

       We spent quite a bit more than last month because I stocked up on feed, hay, and straw before we left for Haiti. Here’s what we spent this month:

  • Miscellaneous – $6.97 (for his halter)

  • Calf Feed – $77.85

  • Hay – $21.00

  • Straw – $6.00

  • Total Spent this Month – $111.82

  • Time – 7 hours

       And here are our total costs over the past five months:

  • Cost of Bambi – Free!

  • Castration & Dehorning – $16.00

  • Milk Replacer – $45.54

  • Miscellaneous – $46.87

  • Calf Feed – $160.35

  • Hay – $52.00

  • Straw – $15.00

  • Total Spent – $335.76

  • Time – 49 hours

       So after five months we’ve spent a total of $335.76 and 49 hours raising a cow for beef. We won’t need to buy much feed for the next month, and his feed will cost a little less from now on because he’s old enough to go on steer feed (as opposed to calf feed).

       A major hindrance of raising animals (whether as a pet or for food) is the need for someone to be home to feed them. We were in Haiti for a week and a half, but luckily my wife’s mom volunteered to feed Bambi while we were gone. (Or we volunteered her…I’m not sure how that went.) I included her time in my calculations, but you’d have to pay someone if you can’t find anyone to do it for free while you’re gone.

       That’s it for this month. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. And make sure you sign up for free updates to Provident Planning if you’re interested in knowing what it takes to raise a cow for beef!



Corey is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in religion. While he enjoys learning and writing about Christianity, another one of his new passions is writing about personal finances in order to help others make wise decisions with their money.

8 responses to Raising a Cow for Beef: Month 5

  1. Paul, this has nothing to do with the economics of raising the cow for beef, but are you and your wife at all worried that you’ll grow attached to him and be unable to do the deed when the time comes?

    It seems it would be one thing to raise cattle (plural) for meat, and another to raise just one. After a time, he’d become like a pet who you nurtured from birth. Any conflicts with that???
    .-= Kevin@OutOfYourRut´s last blog ..Social Media – How Do You Find Friends and Followers? =-.

  2. Hi, Kevin. We’ve been asked that question several times since we got him, and I haven’t noticed any attachment developing yet. We don’t spend much time with him, and I guess I just don’t get that attached. Plus, it’s not like he lays in our lap while we watch TV or anything. :) I’m confident I won’t have any problems.

  3. Something that might help is to call him “hamburger” from the very beginning rather than “Bambi.” It might help keep things in perspective and prevent becoming too overly attached.

    Knowing where your food comes from and sustainability is becoming increasingly important these days and may even be more important than consideration of cost. We admire what you are undertaking.
    .-= Steven and Debra´s last blog ..Are YOU a Hoarder? Are You Sure? (Part IV of a Four Part Series) =-.

  4. S&D, you raise a good point about sustainability. My question to Paul comes from my life as a died-in-the-wool suburbanite. Any animal you raise automatically becomes “bambi”! That would be a real disadvantage for me in a true survival situation.

    A friend of mine married an Illinois farm girl, and she said you have a different perspective when you grow up on a farm and know what the animals’ purpose is.
    .-= Kevin@OutOfYourRut´s last blog ..Good Retirement Planning Should Include a Low Cost/Debt Free Lifestyle =-.

  5. Steven & Debra and Kevin,

    We do view “Bambi” as “hamburger” (or preferably, steak!), and we have since we got him. And after the weeks of going out to feed him in the morning in this snow and wind, I won’t be disappointed when he’s gone!!! :)

    For most farm people, animals are viewed not as companions but cuisine. Animals are either for working, producing food, or becoming food. Sure you’ll have some “pets”, but you’ll generally have no problem sending them away to the butcher or eating them.

    Non-farm people just have a hard time understanding that because they view all animals as companions, friends – not to be eaten. This has led to overpopulation of horses in the U.S. and the detriment of horses who are no longer wanted. (It’s illegal to kill or butcher a horse as far as I know. This is unique to the U.S. Horse is a normal food in many European countries.)

    This project probably isn’t so much about sustainability as it is about having a learning experience and identifying with the people in our community. Most people in my church are farmers, so it gives me something to talk with them about. Plus, my wife and I like to eat beef.

  6. “Non-farm people just have a hard time understanding that because they view all animals as companions, friends – not to be eaten.”

    Can we guess that TV has something to do with that? The animals even talk on TV, how could they not be human??? 😉
    .-= Kevin@OutOfYourRut´s last blog ..Good Retirement Planning Should Include a Low Cost/Debt Free Lifestyle =-.

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  1. OutOfYourRut’s First Ever Friday Personal Finance Round Up « OutOfYourRut.com - February 25, 2010

    […] and costs of raising “Bambi” the calf in Raising a Cow for Beef: Month 6 and it’s predecessor Raising a Cow for Beef: Month 5. Title aside, there’s an even more compelling reason he and his wife have taken on this project, […]