Goats Or Cows?



This is a question many homesteaders seriously grapple with when they consider getting a dairy animal. Goats or cows? Cows or goats? There is no one clear-cut answer for all, but rather, many points to be considered while you make the decision about what kind of dairy animal is the right one for you.

How to Choose?

Size – goats are a lot smaller than cows, and less intimidating to be around and handle, especially if you have never milked before, or owned any livestock bigger than chickens. Naturally, goats will require less housing space, too, and can be easily transported in a back seat of a regular family car when hobbled.

Pasture – Cows are grazers; goats are browsers. Cows do best on wide grass meadows, while goats are particularly fit for rugged, rocky landscape, a variety of brush, grass and trees, and uneven terrain. This explains why people keep goats so much more often than cattle here in our hilly area, which has rather rough, sparse vegetation throughout most of the year.

Fencing – Despite being much larger animals, cows are considerably easier to keep fenced in than goats, and will stay inside a rather light fence they could probably trample down in a minute if they were so inclined. Goats, on the other hand, need veritable barricades to be kept in. They are clever, curious, mischievous, and extremely good at jumping and climbing.

Milk yield – One little Jersey cow will give you about as much milk as three or four Saanen goats. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on the size of your family, how much milk you regularly consume, whether you want to try your hand at cheese making or sell some extra milk, etc. I personally am probably most comfortable, quantity of milk-wise, at the point of having two dairy goats.

9/13/2017 3:28:10 PM

There are miniature milk cows now, from the Dexter to mini Jerseys. This may fit the bill for small homesteaders. Google miniature dairy cattle and see. You may even find a farm near you that is willing to sell a young bred heifer.

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