Possibly getting into the cattle business

It kind of depends on what your end goal is. Without a defined plan, you may end up with expensive pets.

If you want to just raise your own meat, I'd consider sectioning off about 3-4 acres, buying a couple of steers in the spring and sending them to the slaughter house in the fall. Unless the weather is terrible, you avoid having to purchase winter feed and would only be purchasing whatever grain and supplements you feed.

If the land is farmable, I'd lease the remaining land to a local farmer to offset for the vet and supplemental feed bills.

Livestock has several steps in how much work it is. It doesn't take much effort to go in the red and generate a ton of work; especially one you start trying to produce your own feed in the name of reducing costs.

A full side of beef, which is enough to feed 4-6 people easily, costs $3200 with processing. Let's call it $1500 for the whole animal (3200 - processing - animal purchase cost). Just as a quick calculation a $25,000 investment in livestock and equipment, it will take 17 years to break even raising one animal a year. More animals equals more cost, more work and then you have to start finding people to purchase those animals or your at the mercy of the local auction.

Rich M

Senior Member
I know a guy who runs about 12 cows on 25 acres. He’ll sell some when the grass stops growing and he is forced to supplement the feed.

Same as any farm animals, if the fence breaks, they all get out and need to be retrieved.
First thing I’d do is go work with somebody that has cows. Not for pay,for the Education😉. Once you think you have a good grasp,make sure the fences are in top top shape. Then get the grass(hay) into the best shape you can. Water source…whatcha doing for water? They need it 24/7/365. Setup for isolating birthing Cow/Calves? Vaccination equipment? Can you get (quality) hay nearby,at a reasonable price? Have a tractor with Front end loader? You’ll need it. Livestock trailer to take them to Auction? That’s just off the top of my head.


**# 1 Fan**OHIO STATE**
I've picked many a bale of hay off the ground. Throw it on a trailer, stack it, unload into barn lofts manually. Hard work but the moon pies and RC colas were great.
Made a little pocket money doing this in the summers growing up. To the OP. My dad would buy 1 or 2 day old Herefords from a local dairy farm in the spring. We’d raise them till fall and slaughter them.


Staff member
I've spent half my life taking care of durn cows. 25 acres-good to raise you a couple for the freezer, but you're probably not going to make any money. They eat a lot. All year. And are always getting sick, giving breach birth at 2AM on a sub-freezing night in February, getting out of the fence and heading for the road, etc. If you really enjoy working with cattle, that's one thing. If you don't know anything about them, you may be biting off more than you can chew.


Senior Member
Part of learning is so you don’t have to call a vet. Beef cows rarely get sick. It’s usually due to poor management or something they shouldn’t have ate.

I’ve ran several hundred through here over the years. Lost one to lightening, lost one because she fell in a ditch during a storm and couldn’t get her feet under her, one stolen, and one got into the barn and got in some weed killer.

Called the vet once to take an eye out of a Hereford where a stick got in it.

Cut your feed bill down with good grass. Don’t be scared to lose a dollar, run them through there and get those calves up to around 600 to 700 pounds. Save your money and lease some land once you get the hang of it. You’re not going to make a living on a small herd but they’ll pay for themselves and your property taxes, too.


Senior Member
I had cows for several years in the 1960's. Grew up in a country, farm environment and always enjoyed it. I wish you good luck.
My dad had a few heifers' on 15 acres back in the day, helped him butcher a couple times (hard work) - he finally gave it up as not worth his time & effort. For the last few, he had them quartered then processed by others. When in high school, he worked with a butcher so he had the butchering skills already.
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