Raising a Cow for Beef: Month 6

Corey —  February 22, 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 6. As always, let’s first check Bambi’s growth. Here he is at five months old:

Paul & Bambi - 5 Months Old

       And here he is today at 6 months old:

Bambi - 6 Months Old

       It might be hard to tell, but Bambi is still growing steadily. He should be somewhere between 300 and 400 pounds. (I can’t weigh him to know for sure.)

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 didn’t spend much money this month because I had stocked up before we left for Haiti in mid-January. We only needed to buy a little medicine. (You’ll find out why in a minute.) We’ll have to spend a bit next month to buy more feed and hay. Here are our costs for this past month:

  • Medicine – $5.00

  • Total Spent this Month – $5.00

  • Time – 7 hours

       And here are our total costs over the past six 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

  • Medicine – $5.00

  • Total Spent – $340.76

  • Time – 56 hours

       So after six months we’ve spent a total of $340.76 and 56 hours raising a cow for beef. We’ll need to buy feed and hay next month, but that won’t cost too much.

       We had a small scare with Bambi this month. He didn’t eat or drink anything for 3 days. I called our friend, Konrad, who gave us Bambi back in August. We checked Bambi to see if he was sick, but he seemed as healthy as ever. Konrad had some medicine for gastrointestinal problems, so we gave that to Bambi for two days in a row. He finally started eating again after the second day on the medicine. This just highlights the risk you have when you are raising an animal. It could get sick and die on you at any time. Yes, medicine or a vet could fix some things, but there’s always the chance that the animal can’t be saved and you’ll lose it. Lucky for us, the medicine we gave Bambi only cost about $2 total (but I gave Konrad $5 though he didn’t want anything for it).

       Also, we’ve had a lot of snow this month. It’s not especially fun to go out to the barn in 15 MPH winds and blowing snow to feed Bambi. But it has to be done. This relates to what I wrote last month about finding someone to care for the animal when you are gone. Unless you can automate the feeding and watering, someone has to be there every single day. Even when that can be automated, someone should be checking in on the animal to make sure it’s still healthy. These are factors that aren’t easily figured in to time and costs.

       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.

7 responses to Raising a Cow for Beef: Month 6

  1. What is your age/weight goal for harvest?
    .-= The Lost Goat´s last blog ..Progressive’s My Rate Program =-.

  2. I don’t have a set weight goal, but I’m hoping to butcher him by 14-15 months to keep from feeding him over another winter. That gets expensive, especially when they’re big. He should be plenty big enough to butcher at that point.

  3. One of my beef cows would be pushing ~ 800 lbs by that point, but I bet with a dairy cow that you’ll be luck to get 600. Assuming a 40% carcass yield, that will be about 250 pounds of meat – hope you already have a chest freezer:) Are you planning to finish him at all?

    This is a really interesting idea to me – I’ve never considered the idea of doing only one cow at a time. Fascinating to see the similarities and differences between our cattle management practices – thank you for sharing.
    .-= The Lost Goat´s last blog ..Progressive’s My Rate Program =-.

  4. Well, we just checked him with a weight tape yesterday and he’s right around 420 right now. We’ll see what we get out of him.

    We are planning to buy a chest freezer, not just for this meat but for future garden produce and stocking up on good deals at the store.

    I’m not sure I really have cattle management practices. :) This is my first and only cow, so I’m just learning as I go. I’m not sure what you mean by finish him. Do you mean try to fatten him up quick at the end? Probably not.

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