cows or goats ???

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Hillbilly Don, Jun 14, 2004.

  1. Hillbilly Don

    Hillbilly Don Active Member

    Jun 14, 2003
    I've got a question,and I know this is the best place to ask it. I have 3 acres of flat 50/50 clover and fescue and 1 acre of brush/weeds. Should I get goats or cows[2]? I would really like the cows so I could fill my freezer with beef. All opinions will be appreciated. Don
  2. I would really like the cows so I could fill my freezer with beef. All opinions will be appreciated. Don[/QUOTE]

    Beef prices are sky-high right now. If you decide to go with beef, rather than cows buy a couple or 3 steers. You can probably get them cheaper.

  3. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 6, 2004
    Michigan's thumb
    You could run both. Be warned that the goats will prefer bushes and tree leaves to grass. This might be fine with you if you want to do a little lazy pruning. Some breeds of cattle do better on pasture, some have been bred to do well on corn, so do a little research before buying.

    Last year and this year we bought pastured beef and pork-- it's the best :p
  4. TexasArtist

    TexasArtist Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2003

    Well my mom grew up with cows and she said they can be the most stupid animals on the planets. We have goats now. Not only are they entertaining but their good little weed eaters, you can get milk from 'em just like the cows and you can raise them for meat as well. Another bonus is if the cow gets stuck somewhere it's harder to rescue. If the goat gets stuck somewhere you can pick em up nd carry them. When its time to take them to the auction or vet. you can put them in a large dog kennel carrier thing. Another upside is goats tend to get less sick then cows
    Downside is that goats are very curious and will sometime get their heads stuck in the fence, cows like to walk through the fence. Other then that I don't know but I'm sure other folks on the board can help ya.
  5. Ana Bluebird

    Ana Bluebird Well-Known Member Supporter

    Dec 8, 2002
    Goats prefer the tree leaves and brush, eating grass only when those are gone. I have to brush-hog my goat pen to keep the grass down, but they do an excellent job of removing brush--up to a certain height, that is. But they are more entertaining that cows.
  6. Cows USUALLY won't walk through fences unless they haven't been bred and come into heat. They'll walk through anything to get to a bull, or the bull will tear the fence down to get to her. You don't have that problem with steers.
  7. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2003
    well my cows are stupid and they don't walk through fences. i keep them where i want with a single hot wire, which they totally respect.

    i have a couple goats and i hate them. they will not stay put, no matter what kind of fence i use, so i gave up. they have the run of the farm, but pretty much stay in the barn yard. before they decided to settle in there, they kept destroying my chicken/duck pens by smashing their way in to get to the feed, then smashing their way back out in a different place, wouldn't even use the same hole! we have settled into an uneasy truce. i don't do a thing with them, not even feeding them (they eat out of the cattle bunks) and they don't do anything to me.

    i vote for cows!

  8. okgoatgal2

    okgoatgal2 Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2002
    imho, cows are only good for beef. they can and will destroy a fence lickety split. they are big, dirty, and dangerous, as well as stupid.

    goats are entertainment. they have wonderful milk (the dairy breeds do), wonderful meat, and are easy to move and handle. when dehorned, they don't tend to get stuck in the fence. i kept mine in field fence w/a single strand of hot wire about 12in or so above the ground, and they never got thru the fence-didn't even try, after they got bit as kids. they are clean (small pebbles for poop, not huge piles) and even a 5 or 6 yo can lead around a full grown doe that has been taught to lead. for that matter, a 5 or 6 yo that has been taught can milk a goat. it is true they are browsers and prefer to eat up, not down, but they can and will eat grass.

    personally, i prefer a mix-dairy and meat goats and A (one (1)) steer for the beef, couple of hogs for the pork, and chickens to run around and break down the poop of all of them.

    if it were one or the other- i'd vote goat every time. they are inexpensive to start with, the meat is very good and healthier than beef (more protein, less fat) and they are just plain safer to mess with. but, you do have to have good fences and animals that were raised in good fences and never learned to get out of poorly built fences.
  9. We like to keep a meat calf or two and a few dairy goats. You do need to have a stock fence for the goats.
  10. mtfarmchick

    mtfarmchick Well-Known Member

    Feb 18, 2003
    Man, cows are sure getting a bad rap! I have a small herd (18) of Red Angus. They are pretty good. The only time they go through the fence is in the Spring when the grass is turning green and they've been eating hay all Winter. And that's only if I don't have the fence fixed from snow damage. They are pretty gentle except for after they calve. Speaking of calving, there's nothing cuter than watching new calves run around exploring. They are almost like human kids. Mine know when they are getting grain so they will go to the side of the corral that I feed grain on and wait for me. When my husband was growing up he had a 4H heifer that would play hide and seek with his grandma by ringing the doorbell and then running around the corner. Seems pretty smart to me!
    As for clover, I'm not sure how well the cows will like it. We get some clover up here and the stalks on it are thick. My cows don't care for it much. If it's anything like alfalfa you don't want to feed a bunch of it to cows anyway because it will bloat them. Given what everyone has said here about goats not liking grass much, I would put pigs in your clover/fescue. I have 7 pigs now and love them. I've only had 1 get out 1 time. I tied the fence up better and haven't had any trouble since(knock on wood). They are fun to watch too.
    Good luck with whatever you decide.
  11. whodunit

    whodunit Well-Known Member Supporter

    Mar 29, 2004
    I was raised with goats, I will never have any as long as I live. They ruin EVERYTHING, barns, doors by jumping up on them with their front feet, takes an amazing fence to hold the things in. The meat is ok but IMO beef is much better. Some goats have good milk most is uh goaty tasteing and no we didnt have a buck. They dont have very much cream. I could go on...

    My parents had cows when I was very young and the worst thing is one cow wouldnt always come down the hill for milking time and by the time you got up to the top of the hill she ran down the hill with bag flying :eek: and another cow found the one really steep place where there was no fence and wandered some 5 miles.

    Dh and I are planning on getting a miniture breed of cow some time in the future.

    Mrs Whodunit
  12. okgoatgal2

    okgoatgal2 Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2002
    properly handled goat milk does NOT taste goaty. it tastes better than that crap you buy in a jug in the store. my goats never ruined anything-i built my barns and fences properly. the cows i've had....were far more trouble than the goats ever were. stock fence w/ a strand of elec is sufficient to keep dairy goats that are trained to an elec fence in w/no problems. the only time mine got out is when the kids left a gate open or a tree fell on it and tore it down. the milk is naturally homogonized, which is why a lot of cream doesn't rise to the top, and it makes the best ice cream you will ever eat. it is also very healthy and i think it has many benefits.
  13. humminbird

    humminbird Member

    Jun 2, 2004
    I've had fun and entertainment with both!! Hubby has 8 cows with calves and they'll follow him anywhere he asks them to go. They have gotten out, but that was our fault, not theirs...rains took out the water gap a couple times...but as soon as he locates them, he calls and they follow the truck right back to the pasture. We have a lot of clover here and ours eat it like crazy, red better than the white, but they'll eat both.

    The goats we used to have were 50/50...half of them stayed in, the other half didn't!! :) One the kids raised and made a pet was the worse...she'd go right up and over the cattle panel if they were in the yard and SHE wanted to play...drove us crazy. She had a tendency to "check out" a new car in the drive in take a flying leap right up on the hood...NOT GOOD!! But actually, the ones we raised (short of that particular one!) always stayed in, it was the ones we bought elsewhere that had the fence problem. I have to say they were the best "brush killers" we've ever owned, they do indeed prefer the brush to grass, but I've seen many ranged on large pastures.

    Animals are just like people..give em' a good raising and they'll do wonderful...let em' run amok and you'll have a "problem child"!!
  14. Sandhills

    Sandhills Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    We have both goats and cows and both can be either entertaining or a major problem. A good fence goes a long way to preventing problems. Our goats got out yesterday because one of our children didn't properly latch the gate. The cows got out last weekend because the lighting took out the fencer. But hey it sure keeps life interesting.
    I have a friend who raises dairy goats. When she sells the kids she has lots of extra milk so she buys a calf or two so they always have beef in the freezer. She also feeds the excess milk to the other animals. Her chickens have the most beautiful feathers from drinking the goats milk. They always do really well at the county fairs poultry show.
    If you got 2 nanny goats they should be able to raise a steer calf. Just have the nanny hop up on a bale of hay and the calf can nurse directly off the nanny. Let the calf nurse twice a day and it will grow like crazy.
  15. LuckyGRanch

    LuckyGRanch Well-Known Member

    Jun 30, 2002
    Polk Co Wisconsin
    I raise Boer goats...just so you know where my bread is buttered.

    What kind of a fence do you have? If you don't have a great fence and don't want to go into a lot of $$ putting one up - go with cows.

    If you have a good fence or don't mind putting one up, go with both cows and goats. It has become very "in" to run both goats (boers or other meat breed) and cows. What one won't eat, the other will.

    Meat type breed goats are generally thought to be easier on fences than dairy type breeds. I've found this very true with Boers but have no experience with other meat breeds. I can keep nearly all of my boers in with 2-3 strands of hotwire as long as the pasture/browse is adequate. That said, I don't leave the farm unless they are in the secure pasture because if one goes through....they all will grit their teeth and follow!! My dairy does....they're a whole different ballgame. Let's talk stockades?!

    Goat milk does taste "goaty" even when animals and kept and milking and milk is handled with the sterility of a operating room. Period. Though I raise boers, I had dairy first. Goat goat milk. Cow milk is cow milk. That said, you can certainly get used to and love goat milk. It just tastes different. Do you think mare's milk, elephant milk, etc. would taste just like cow and should we expect it to?
  16. Trisha-MN


    May 10, 2002
    Thank you for stating this! This is how I've felt ever since we got goats. The milk is just different because they are different animals.

    That said, we have both a milk cow and dairy goats. How much milk do you want? What do you want to do with the milk? Goat milk ice cream is wonderful Ice Cream from our Jersey milk is almost too creamy for my taste.

    Goats are harder to fence, if they can't go though it they'll go over or under it.
    Cows respect a single electric electric but they require a lot more food and provide gallons of milk a day. Most people don't ususally want gallons of milk.

    You've had a lot of good responses. Find out what you can deal with and what you like and go from there.
  17. ok i just gotta put my two cents in...! I have both goats and cows, i like them both. Our fence is 4 strands of hotwire, we don't have problems keeping anyone in.
    As for the goat milk tasting goaty, we raise dairy goats and have for several years. some goats have wonderful sweet milk, usually the breeds with more butter fat like nubians. Some just have nasty milk, no matter how clean you are or what the animal is eating. I also think the same is true with cows.
    We don't have any problems with the goats destroying things either...I do have one doeling who had learned that she can jump out of the fence. she is a pain in the ass - bad. she climbs on everything in the barn aisles and knocks everything down, whatever you are doing she's right in the middle of it, she steals grain while the does are on the milking stands....her little butt is gone on the next trip to the sale barn! which is really sad bec she has wonderful genetics and would make a great milker. BUT, she is only second goat i have ever had that has learned they could get out.
    our cows are solid routine animals, get a routine and they are quite happy. change it and they balk....