tell me about cows..


12 Years
Mar 6, 2007
My hubbys granny who has alot of pasture has said if we wanted to get a couple of calfs and let them feed out there we could. I want to know the other costs that come with cows before we even think about it( such as slaghter and stuff) Crystal
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That's great that you thought ahead as there are other costs involved.

If they can get enough grass from pasture and you don't have to supplemental feed them you are way ahead. But, you want them to put on meat so you don't want them starving out there on the pasture either. That also means you may want to grain them - another personal choice.

Costs to butcher them vary a great deal from state to state and even county to county. You will need to call some local processing plants and talk to them to find out those costs. Generally, it's usually cheaper to grow them up yourself and then have them butchered than to buy the meat at the store - especially is you consider that yours should be organic and that costs even more at the store.

However, I know a couple places that actually cost more to butcher than just buying from the store. Again, you need to consider what yours have eaten and the quality of the meat as compared to store bought. It would be worth it to us to pay some more for the better quality, organic meat.

If you do take them to a plant to be butchered you have to have a way to actually transport them there. Borrow a horse trailer if don't have something yourself.

There are a few people here and there that will actually come to your farm to butcher but I believe that at least some states have laws/regulations about that so you would need to look that up also.

Finally - don't give him/her a name! Or, at least call it what it is ... like "T-Bone" so you remember that he's not a pet or "That Day" will be even harder.
Before you get to slaughter you need to feed. Pasture land is good for their hay but, you will need to feed grain. It depends on the age of the animal to what type of grain they will need. Young calves need to be fed milkreplacer. Remember they will also need water. Is it going to be easy to fill their water tub? Cattle drink alot! You need to think about how long you're going to be keeping them and the appropriate shelter for the weather they will be in too.
We're getting our first calf on Wed. We expect to get up to three more, I believe over the next month or so to grow out for beef. My husband is buying a small shed, band saw and meat grinder to do the butchering ourselves. With the cows, maybe a few pigs and lots and lots of poultry to butcher, it's going to pay off in the long run. Plus he can process a few peoples' deer in the season to make back some of the $$. You might consider that. Either way, putting out the money for butchering or the money to do it yourself, it is a big lump sum at once.
You also need to consider that you'll need freezer space. Will you have enough room now or need to add additional space?
It IS better when you can do your own and know what it's eaten and you can even feed it out at the end how you want as far as fat and marbeling. Soooo much tastier!
You'll need to consider the cost too, of how much the initial purchase is and how long you'll need to grow it. Will you be looking for beef types or milking types? You can get one cheaper than the other, but will end up with less meat from one than the other. Also, how many will you want....
You might also consider asking around to see if anyone wants to go in on the cost with you and then get half? That can help. We've got LOTS of people at my husband's work willing to pay a lot for a share of homegrown beef.
That's all I have for info. to be honest. I know there's wormings, shots, preventatives, etc to be considered too, but I don't know the totals on that so can't help. You'll need some sort of shelter too possibly. And you'll need to maintain the fencing if it's not already by someone else.

The best thing about cows is that they're made of meat.

Honestly, if the pasture is good, you can support roughly 1 cow per acre. If it's too tall and weedy (it should be mowec whenver it gets over 10" in height) then it's about 1 cow per 5 acres. So the quality of the forage matters.


Hay in the winter - assume 35 lbs dry matter per day per cow
Vaccinations - maybe $20 per cow
Slaughter - as cheap as $0.24 or as costly as $0.82 per pound hanging weight, +$60-100 slaughter fee

We do not use grain here on our cattle, so consider than an optional cost. Depending on the beast, we are able to finish them on the Autumn flush at ~18 months, or will hold them over until their second spring.
Thanks ya'll I will call around tomorrow to find out about slaghter processing (what do I look under?) at most we would want two calves, and they would be on about 10 acers of pasture with a mule (or with out) i guess we would go to an aution to get them or one of the guy john works with father owns a aution house. I would love to get a milk cow but It would get to be a bit of a pain to have to milk it every day. But hey with gas and milk heading over $4 a gallon might be worth it. C
Why not get a milk cow and use her to feed bum beef calves...obtained pretty cheap from the local auctions. Then, if you also want some of the milk for your own use, you could just let the calves in to her for feedings after you have milked some for your own consumption. We used to do this when I was growing up. We bred her back with an Angus bull and then would put an extra calf on her when she calved her own. She was a Holstein and had plenty of milk for us and the calves!

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