Raising a Cow for Beef: Month 15 – Goodbye, Bambi!

Corey —  December 3, 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 15. As always, let’s first check Bambi’s growth. Here he is at fourteen months old:

Bambi - 14 Months Old

       And here he is at fifteen months old (technically, fifteen months, one week, and three days old):

Bambi - 15 Months Old

       This picture isn’t the best because I had to take it on my phone (forgot my camera…). And yes, he’s on the cattle trailer (more on that later). True to form, Bambi wouldn’t cooperate for a good pose either. However, I think it’s clear he’s gained a good bit of weight since the last picture. He’s filled out a bit more, especially around his haunches. I’m not sure why his coloring has changed so much. Part of it is lighting, of course, but his color has changed over time anyway so I’m not worried about it. I’m sure it won’t affect the taste.

Costs & Time

       As of yesterday, Bambi is no more. He went to the butcher on Wednesday night (when I took the picture) and they slaughtered him on Thursday. However, I still don’t have a final tally on the costs because I’ll need to settle things up with my friends who’ve been boarding him and pay the butchering fees. Here are my totals so far (same as last month):

  • Cost of Bambi – Free!
  • Castration & Dehorning – $16.00
  • Milk Replacer – $45.54
  • Miscellaneous – $46.87
  • Feed – $362.77
  • Hay – $88.00
  • Straw – $20.00
  • Medicine – $5.00
  • Boarding – $100.00
  • Total Spent – $684.18
  • Time – 102 hours

       Bambi will probably hang to age for about a week, so it’ll probably be late next week or early the following week before we get our beef back. Figuring out which cuts to order took a while because there were some that I was not familiar with. It’s also difficult to think about all the beef you’re going to want in the next year and in what proportions. For better or worse, this is what we ordered (though we’ll have a chance to review it with the butcher the day before they start cutting):

       All the meat will be vacuum sealed. Our roasts will come in 2-3 pound packages. Our steaks will come two per package and will be cut 1 1/2″ thick. The liver, heart, and tongue are all for other people. (I hear the tongue is really good, but I’m going to pass for now…)

       After searching for a good used freezer with no luck, we bought our chest freezer on Black Friday from a local business. I figured they’d have a sale and we got $50 off – a decent discount. But I was surprised when we got a free turkey as well. :) I had no idea they were doing that so it was a nice bonus. Our freezer should get here on the 6th – just in time!

       All that’s left now is to add up the last few costs (final boarding costs and the butchering fees) and compare it to retail and/or bulk prices. Any good ideas on the best way to make a useful comparison? Let me know in the comments. Also, be sure to stay tuned for a special tribute to Bambi in the final post of this series!

       If you haven’t already, make sure you sign up for free updates to Provident Planning so you don’t miss out on my last post where I’ll figure up all the costs, compare it to buying the beef elsewhere, and see how this whole thing works out.

This post was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance.



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.

10 responses to Raising a Cow for Beef: Month 15 – Goodbye, Bambi!

  1. Guess it’s too late to tell Bambi – “Nice to meat you, grill you later!!!”

  2. This has been a great series. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. I’m planning on cooking some for you when you come visit us. :)

  4. Glad you liked it, Kevin! It’s not quite over yet – I need to wrap up with the final costs and a comparison to buying your meat from the store, in bulk, and from a “real” farmer. That will take a bit of work but it will be interesting to see how it compares (for me at least).

  5. I’ve been told you shouldn’t name an animal you’re going to eat. Hmmm…

  6. He came with the name, so there’s no special attachment there. I don’t have many fond memories of him, so it’s not going to be a problem to eat him. :) He was cute when I was bottle feeding him, but our last few months together were enough to destroy any chances of tender reminiscing.

  7. This is a cool series – thanks for sharing! I think that I do not like live cows *or* eating cows enough to have to deal with raising my own beef. If I liked eating steaks, I bet it would be totally worth it though :).

  8. Glad you like it, Kellen! I don’t think it’s a viable option for many people. And mostly, I did it to connect a little better with people in my church who are mostly farmers. It was nice to have something farm-related to talk about with people for a change. :)

  9. This made me feel extremely sick. How can you raise another feeling, sentient being who has emotions and feels pain and talk about him like he’s a mere object, and then just send him, unsuspecting, to a gruesome death in which his throat is slit open while he’s still conscious? Have you ever been to or seen footage of a slaughterhouse? The cries and screams of these animals… Is this really what God’s plan for us as a species was? Aren’t we supposed to protect and nurture other creatures?

  10. Although you may be able to make a case for Biblical vegetarianism, Mary, you’d have a difficult time reconciling it with the fact that Jesus ate fish. I think fish would fit the category of a feeling, sentient being, though they’re not as cuddly and cute as cows…

    I respect anyone who chooses not to eat meat, but I feel no guilt before God for eating meat.