Raising a Cow for Beef: Month 7

Corey —  March 23, 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 7. As always, let’s first check Bambi’s growth. Here he is at six months old:

Bambi - 6 Months Old

       And here he is at seven months old:

Bambi - 7 Months Old

       My friend, Konrad, came down this past month with a weight tape (basically a tape measure that helps you estimate how much a cow weighs). Bambi’s up to at least 420 pounds now (probably more like 430-440 today). That means he’s been gaining about 2 pounds a day since we got him, which is excellent – especially for the breed of cow he is (75% Jersey/25% Holstein). Today, I’ve got an extra bonus for you. I took a short, one minute video of Bambi about a week ago while he was out eating some grass:

Costs & Time

       It still takes about the same amount of time to take care of Bambi every day. I should be able to speed up the process a bit since it’s warming up. Right now, I have to take his water bucket to the spigot to fill it up. But since Spring is coming, I’ll be able to run a hose to the bucket and fill it up in place. That’ll save me a couple minutes every day.

       We spent a bit more this month because we needed to buy feed, hay, and straw. However, we won’t need nearly as much hay or straw for the rest of Bambi’s life because we’ll be able to let him graze outside. That will cut back on our costs a bit. Here are our costs for this past month:

  • Feed – $40.81

  • Hay – $36.00

  • Straw – $5.00

  • Total Spent this Month – $81.81

  • Time – 7 hours

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

  • Cost of Bambi – Free!

  • Castration & Dehorning – $16.00

  • Milk Replacer – $45.54

  • Miscellaneous – $46.87

  • Feed – $201.16

  • Hay – $88.00

  • Straw – $20.00

  • Medicine – $5.00

  • Total Spent – $422.57

  • Time – 63 hours

       So after seven months we’ve spent a total of $422.57 and 63 hours raising a cow for beef. So far it’s working out to about $1.99/day and around 15-20 minutes/day to raise Bambi.

       I’m trying a new method for cleaning out his pen this month because it was very difficult the last time I cleaned it out. He tends to pull his hay into his straw, which then gets matted down with his manure and urine. The result is a stinky, impenetrable pile of muck that takes a long time to clean out. So now I’m taking just a couple minutes each day to fork out a little at a time so it doesn’t get so bad.

       Despite the frustration I had cleaning out his pen the last time, it helps me appreciate the value of physical labor. Most of my work is mental, and there are few tangible results at the end of the day. But when you clean out a pen full of poop and put in fresh straw, you can see (and smell) the results of your hard work. That’s satisfying in a way that publishing a post on here isn’t.

       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.

4 responses to Raising a Cow for Beef: Month 7

  1. Bambi is looking good. Are you thinking this is going to come out in your favor when it is all said and done? At least it will be hormone free and good meat.

  2. Thanks, BibleDebt! I’m not sure how it will come out in the end. It really depends on how much and what types of meat we get. I’m also not sure how the costs will change over the spring, summer, and fall. Then you have to add on the butchering fee, so we’ll see how it all comes out in the end. As I’ve said before, it’s more a social experiment than anything. :) I guess for a true price comparison I’d have to compare it to “almost organic” meat…hahaha!

  3. Paul,

    When you take him to the butcher do you actually get the beef from your cow or do they weigh him and give you beef they have already cut up and packaged?

  4. Hi Mom :)

    You get the actual beef from your cow. How much meat you’ll get depends on the weight but also on the bones and fat that are trimmed off. So you can’t just weight a cow and say you’ll get x pounds of beef.