Farm, Garden and The Land > Live Stock, Critters and Aquaculture

Cows vs mini cows vs goats ... dairy and meat

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Mrs. ElyasWolff:
Has anyone had experience raising cows or mini cows? My husband and I don't have land yet but we are planning it and we were thinking of dairy livestock. Cattle seem like you would need lots of land and would cost a lot to feed is it worth the cost? And does mini cows cost any less to feed? Perhaps the better alternative is goats?
Lots of questions I hope someone can help me.
-C

keliz5000:

--- Quote from: Mrs. ElyasWolff on October 20, 2008, 10:44:58 PM ---Has anyone had experience raising cows or mini cows? My husband and I don't have land yet but we are planning it and we were thinking of dairy livestock. Cattle seem like you would need lots of land and would cost a lot to feed is it worth the cost? And does mini cows cost any less to feed? Perhaps the better alternative is goats?
Lots of questions I hope someone can help me.
-C

--- End quote ---

Hi,
Me and my husband will be getting cows in the future and we have some farmer friends, so hopefully I can answer a few questions.  What I know about goats is they would be more high maintenance than cows just because they like to eat everything and they can escape alot easier from a field, so just be prepared that they may be more trouble than you realize. 
When you look into what kind of cows you get, I know that black and white cows are normally kept for milk because they produce a large quantity of it, but alternatively brown cows produce less milk, but the milk is a higher quality it tastes better, makes amazing ice cream for instance.  And if its just for you for instance that is still plenty of milk.
  Depending on the weather if you have grass all year long just alternate the cows in areas to keep the grass down.  I'm not sure about cost because I live in France the cost is probably very different, but here cows just live off the grass in the summer, and hay in the winter and hay is relatively cheap, a ton barrel cost about 10euros.  The cost of the cow is going to be alot higher than having to feed it.  We are actually going to get sheep soon before a cow for meat because calfs cost alot more around 500euros for a calf. 
Hope this helps.
Good Luck! 
Kelly

ColdHaven:
My mother has about 27 acres of land and she has goats, and some horses. She probably only uses a half of that for pasture. Working with goats is time consuming. Think about the most bullheaded person you know and multiply that by 10. Goats can be a pain in the @$$. I took care of some one weekend for my mom while she was out of town. They are alot of work, they don't like change, and some almost got turned into dinner by the time that weekend was through.

That being said, they are a good source for milk and alot of times you do not have to worry about diary allergies with them. My mom makes goat cheese, ice cream, and other things from their milk. It takes some research to do, but it is a good thing to have if you can afford them. I have not had goat meat, but I know that they sell very well at the Farmers Market. My mom has made it very clear that if it came down to it, that they would be dinner, but she wouldn't ever kill them. I sneered and told her she had a volunteer for that job. Now I just need to learn how to skin and gut a goat. (Not to mention that the hide would probably be good for clothing, and blankets if you ever needed them. Hope this helps!

Aunt Bee:
There are a lot of misconceptions about goats out there and I'd advise going to Homesteading Today where there are seperate forums for each animal and some very knowledgeable folks that can help you make the most informed decision.  I'll admit that I'm a goat owner and I love them but yes they are hard headed and don't like change but get them in a routine with folks they are use to and they can be a joy with peronalities that aren't unlike dogs.  The only time ours have gotten out is when we forgot to turn on the electric fence when we turned them out to browse.

They are much cheaper than cows and the milk is more agreeable for a lot of folks who are lactose intolerant.  Either way you go, do a lot of research.  I think goats have been fairly easy for me because I researched them for two years before I purchased them. 

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/index.php

flagtag:
Great link!  Thanks.

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