We know that we want to keep dairy animals, and will eventually want at least one cow, but are wondering whether or not we should start out with a dairy goat or two first, to get our feet wet. We have 40 acres that is mostly pasture.
I would say that depends on your needs and your plans. How much milk does your family go through? Are you going to be using it or selling it? CAN you sell it or sell "shares" as they say?
I think if you just want a family use amount of milk than depending on family size a goat is probably sufficient. They are also easier to handle as far as size goes and are cheaper. If you want to sell a cow may be more worth your while.
Facilities also need to be considered. I know for my acreage I plan on getting goats but my fencing isn't goat safe, it's cow safe. So I'm going to have to fence before getting a goat. I also plan on having 2 goats and rotating breedings so the same goat isn't giving birth each year. Anyway, just what is going to work for me since I'm not planning on selling milk and only need 2 gallons for drinking and some excess for cheese and etc. a week.
My philosophy is to start small and then grow so that the mistakes you make in the beginning are less expensive. So, I'd start off with a goat and depending on your experience with livestock it might even be better to start off with a less expensive buck instead of a doe.
We have both. We find cows to be lower maintenance if you have enough pasture to feed them. They tolerate the cold better, need cheaper fences, don't need predator protection (here anyway), less parasite concerns.
But they cost you up front. And particular animal still matters more than breed or species.
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They don't give the quantity of milk goats or cows do but have 2xish the solids of cows milk.
They don't escape like goats do and like pasture better than goats.
They like are great weed eaters.
If you don't want to sheer, Katahdins are hair sheep who shed and some are almost as good milkers as dairy crosses (although they may not lactate as long). The Katahdins are much cheaper than dairy breeds. I have had no parasite issues with them if they rotate pastures.
They are very prone to dog and coyote attacks on the down side.
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posted 4 years ago
Heather Brenner wrote:We know that we want to keep dairy animals, and will eventually want at least one cow, but are wondering whether or not we should start out with a dairy goat or two first, to get our feet wet. We have 40 acres that is mostly pasture.
in my opinion - the choice of cows vs goats is generally answered by the forage available.
if you have mainly grasses - i would recommend cow(s)
if you have mainly browse (trees/brush) then i would recommend goats.
in your case i would recommend a cow(s)
hope that helps.
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Dairy cows, "hair" sheep, Kune Kune pigs, chickens, guineas and turkeys
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