Allison Rooney wrote:
SmyO, Thanks for the comment. You've addressed a big part of my decision making dilemma- I'd rather not spend time/money on goats, while knowing I'd much prefer a dairy cow. As much as I love goat cheese, goat milk and yogurt I just can't do, though I've tried.
Look up polyface farm. for some comments on this. I have read some other sites regarding this but can't seem to find them any more. Anyway, I get two things from it all.
brice Moss wrote:
not to offend but to maybe save you some stress, I haven't met too may folks who can tell the difference between fresh milk from a well kept dairy goat and fresh unpasteurized whole cows milk so I would advise that before commiting on a cow you ask the seller for a quart of milk "stright from the tap" on one of the critters they are breeding.
there are also a few caveats on what I am saying about goats milk
1) it will remain whole milk the cream doesn't seperate well so it will be creamier than cows milk after the cream settles out of the same
1a)getting the cream for butter or whipping can be a pain with goats milk
2)some goat keepers don't keep their bucks far enough away from the does, his scent glands will add a goaty flavor to the milk of any goat kept close to him
3)some plants impart a bit of flavor to milk, cows have this problem less because they don't browse around the way goats do
4)I have yet to buy goats milk from a store that didn't have a nasty flavor in it weather it was the canned junk that tastes like the can it comes in or the "fresh" stuff that was more than half cooked in the pasteurizer
one other consideration
a good goat will give 1-2 quarts of milk a day
a moderate cow will give over a gallon a day with 3 gallons a day falling well in the normal range
I could never use the output of a cow on a family level in fact having two large dairy goats in milk would necessitate buying a pig to feed the excess to
You may want to investigate some of the small dual purpose breeds like deters and highlands or even try milking a good grass fed beef critter like a low-line Angus unless you need that 2-3gallon a day productivity level
I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with "a good goat will give 1-2 quarts of milk a day", because that is actually a bad goat. 1 quart per day is a freezer goat. 2 quarts per day is acceptable, although may get sold faster. 3-4 quarts per day is a good goat. (It will, however, depend on the period of lactation) Also, we keep our bucks right next to our does and it doesn't impart a bad flavor; however I suspect letting the buck run with the does would. Goat milk should last about 4 days in the fridge before going goaty.
Allison Rooney wrote:I need to generate more on-farm manure, for soil building and composting, and have been thinking of starting into four-footed livestock by getting a dairy cow/calf pair. However, my existing pasture was overgrazed for decades, and so very poor in condition and probable nutritive value. Mostly crested wheatgrass, a bit of cheatgrass here and there, some sagebrush. I was thinking that I'd keep her moving very frequently, but would have to supplement her diet quite likely year round with bought-in hay for the first year, maybe two. Does this sound like a recipe for disaster, or at the very least a sick cow to anyone here with dairy cow experience?
Or should I wait a couple more years until I can reseed more pasture area into more palatable and diverse grasses/clovers, which is how long it will probably take to get established? I also recently heard something about clovers causing bloat in cows. Any thoughts on this, cow people? Many thanks!
Chris Stelzer wrote:
Allison Rooney wrote:
I also recently heard something about clovers causing bloat in cows. Any thoughts on this, cow people? Many thanks!
Clover alone can and does cause bloat, as will anything too succulent in too great a quantity. A mixture of clover/grasses works best. Also, when it rains a lot or when pasture is young and very rich, feed hay at night or in the morning before turning them out. This helps prevent bloat. Also, wait until the heavy dew is dried on the grass if you can, especially for young stock, before you turn them out of the barn. Once they get used to it (their digestive enzymes catch up to the microbes in the forage), they are less likely to have problems. Then they can graze even in the rain as long as they also get some dry hay.