Cow or Goat that is the question - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 12-31-2005, 02:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We want to get a cow or goat for fresh raw milk. We have .50 acre that is fenced (corral style on the back half). i have never had goat milk and dh swears by raw cow....So tell me what the pros and cons are of both.
Which do you prefer?
How expensive are each animal?
How much can feed cost?
Are they generally healthy animals or am I going to pay outrageous vet bills? When do they begin producing milk?
Do they stop during the winter or anything like that?
Where would I buy one?
Are they certain breeds that are better?

As you can tell I am just starting on my quest for knowledge so anything you can throw my way would be much appreciated.

TIA

Kim- Simple livin' mama to 4 great kiddos.
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#2 of 8 Old 12-31-2005, 10:23 AM
 
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With half an acre I would go for a goat. A cow really needs a lot more land and on half an acre you would very rapidly have a bare dirt or mud lot and have to buy every scrap of food that she eats. Not to mention figuring out where to put a manure pile!

A good milking goat costs anywhere from $150-$500. A goat isn't very expensive to feed, especially compared to a cow. They need rough hay and a good goat grain mix, minerals, and salt. They are very hardy, healthy animals, so no terrible vet bills.

Most people breed their goats to kid in the spring and then milk them until a month or two before they are due to kid again.

Each milking breed has its pros and cons. The best place I can direct you to is http://fiascofarm.com/goats/
That is the most comprehensive goat site I know of.
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#3 of 8 Old 12-31-2005, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the info. Is there a huge difference in taste? Do you milk a goat the same way you do a cow? (LOL I know dumb question)

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#4 of 8 Old 12-31-2005, 04:56 PM
 
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Goat milk tastes a little different than cow, but it's easier to digest. I personally would say get a goat, but i'm partial to them. On half an acre, I'd also suggest getting smaller breed, like a Kinder or a mini=something. I am partial to LaManchas for overall personalities/health/milk so am seriously considering Mini-Manchas for our setup when we get it. With cows and goats you'll want at least 2 to keep themselves company.

Fiasco farms is a great place to learn, another place to lurk and ask is homesteadingtoday com on the Goat forum.

Another option may, but I'm not sure it's a great one, be a Dexter cow.

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#5 of 8 Old 12-31-2005, 05:13 PM
 
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Even a Dexter is too much animal for a half acre. I know that some people have gotten good milkers when a Pygmy and a dairy goat breed are crossed, so you might want to investigate them. Goats like to play and climb- so good goat fencing is a must. People also like to give them those huge spools to play on.
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#6 of 8 Old 12-31-2005, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I spent quite a bit of time on the Fiasco site. Thanks for the reference that is a great site. Talking to dh about it, we may end up holding off. I didnt realize there was so much to know about goats!! I wanted to get one fairly soon but I definatly think I will be researching more than I planned. Until then I did find a raw milk supplier for goat milk. They have nubians, I may see if I cant hang out at there place for a couple of hours. Anyway thanks for the input.

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#7 of 8 Old 01-01-2006, 01:09 AM
 
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Definately spend time at the goat farm- helping with chores, learning to milk, and just being around the goats and the people who know about them will be an excellent education. And you will be able to see if milking a goat or two is something you truly want to commit to. We did this before we got our cow and it helped, though bringing the animal home and getting used to the chores and milking are still a big adjustment!
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#8 of 8 Old 01-03-2006, 11:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pygmywombat
Definately spend time at the goat farm- helping with chores, learning to milk, and just being around the goats and the people who know about them will be an excellent education. And you will be able to see if milking a goat or two is something you truly want to commit to. We did this before we got our cow and it helped, though bringing the animal home and getting used to the chores and milking are still a big adjustment!
MOST DEFINATLY!! Know having animals "ties" you to home, esp. milking animals. Spend time with your local goat person, have him/her show you the ropes. Nubian milk is nice and rich esp. with good milk handling and quick cooling you'll be surprised how yummy it is Kinder goats are a cross from a nigerian(??) and a Nubian so you get the best of both worlds. Not only is goat milk great for drinking, but it's great for yogurt/kefir (nice tart flavor) cheese, butter, and soaps Take some time to learn for sure though.

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