New to homesteading, have a cattle question

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Quiver0f10, Dec 11, 2003.

  1. Quiver0f10

    Quiver0f10 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    976
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Hi everyone,

    This is all new to me so please be gentle, I have a few questions :)

    We plan to buy a cow this spring, 400-600# and raise until Oct/Nov and have it butchered. I have been reading some of the post here and noticed mention of needing a pond, which we do not have. Can raising one beef cow be done with no pond? Or do we absolutely have to make one?

    Also the butcher I spoke with sells already butchered meat at $1.50 per pound. Would I just be better off doing this than going through the work and expense of raising our own, we would also have to pay transportation in addition to butchering. I would perfer to raise our own though, especially because then I know exactly what is in it, but cost is an issue for us and I want to do whats best.

    We have 14 acres with most of this being open field so as far as feeding, I "think" we are OK. I realize I will need grain and salt? also. Any other advice before we begin?
     
  2. InPursuit

    InPursuit Guest

    It would be better if you got a steer. They will put on more muscle and fat than will a female type of cow. You don't need a pond. All you will need on a small place such as you have is a water tank which you can drain and clean occasionally. Make sure the animal has plenty of fresh water. You will probably need to buy some hay as well. Not a lot though. Good grass hay should be sufficient. Most people don't think hay is necessary in the summer months, it all depends on the quality of roughage that is available free range. If the quality isn't too good then some hay as supplemental will be beneficial. Give the animal some good protein range cubes occasionally to keep it on friendly terms and everything should be fine.

    While you are at it you really should consider buying two animals. Why, you might ask? Well if you buy one he will eat when he wants to and not too frequently at that. He will only eat until he is satisfied and will consequently gain less weight. If you buy two they will compete with each other for the feed and eat it all when fed. The result both will gain more weight because they are hogging the food so to speak. It is true if you want to fatten a calf you can't do as well with only one. Two or more makes all the difference in weight gain. Now what do I do with the second steer, you may ask? Take it to market and offset the cost of feeding both of them. Or maybe sell it to a friend, neighbor or relative who will appreciated chemical free meat.


    God Bless

    Bill
     

  3. cowman

    cowman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    70
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    What does the $1.50 include? If that includes the cutting and wrapping then that is a really good price. It will depend on what your taste is but most people will want to feed a lot of grain to get best flavor and tenderness. The grain will add to the cost but it will also make the calf grow faster. I like to grow my own and I think you should also. Even if you don't save any money, it is a good experience. Go for it.
     
  4. NRS Farm

    NRS Farm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    70
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    I've raised cattle all my life and we never had a pond.

    With 14 acres more or less I think you will probably have plenty of pasture for a steer or two. Wouldn't take much hay if any. Just need good fencing...I'd probably go with electric but that can always be solved later when you are ready.

    One of the main reasons we raise cattle is for the experience...both good and bad...for our children.

    When you get nearer towards starting this venture be sure to ask questions both here and with your neighbors.

    Goodluck
     
  5. Quiver0f10

    Quiver0f10 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    976
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Thanks for the support! We are looking forward to doing this, I just wanted to make sure we weren't making a mistake. I am so glad to have this forum to ask questions!
     
  6. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    Messages:
    6,844
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    On the meat prices, the average retail price for all cuts of beef has hovered around $2.65 for some years now. When beef is plentiful supermarkets tend to run specials rather than lowering overall prices. When it is scarce, they may absorbe most of the increase rather than outrage the consumer as it is a very competitive marketplace. Take the fast food industry. They recently saw the price of frozen patties about double, yet you didn't see the price of their burgers go up. For one thing they started to emphasize chicken and fish dinners.

    If all you are getting is hamburger and low-grade cuts (such as roasts), then the price of $1.50 per pound is so-so. Also, the quality/grade is likely standard rather than choice or prime.

    You occasionally see companies which just about give away meat if you buy a freezer from them. Of course, that is where they make their money.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  7. mysticokra

    mysticokra Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    329
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2003
    Location:
    Estillfork, Alabama
    The price of the butcher's meat is a secondary issue. You have an opportunity to control what your cow eats and how it matures. I would shoot for compeletely grass fed, which raises the question of "what's in your pasture"?

    You also ought to find out if the meat processor will process your cow separately and age the beef for you until it's ready.