goats or sheep? Which one did you pick and why?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by leigha, Jan 31, 2004.

  1. leigha

    leigha Well-Known Member

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    We go back and forth. We love them both, but just wanted to know from you all what are the pros and cons? We have five acres pasture fenced and cross fenced with 2" x 4" woven wire with a barn on one section and a 10' x 12' hog shed on the other section. I'm in North Alabama so heat and humidity would be a factor. I talked to a man at our local trade day who raises hair sheep and said that he has no trouble at all with his. Someone told me that sheep are more grazers than goats and don't get into as much trouble, but I love goats' personalities and they seem like they would be easier to care for? What do you all think?
     
  2. Upham

    Upham Well-Known Member

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    If you love goats then get goats. What purpose do you want them for?
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  3. leigha

    leigha Well-Known Member

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    Right now, to keep the pasture down a little, and for our own enjoyment. The children want to help in caring and learning. We don't want to get to overwhelmed at the beginning. Maybe down the road, dairy, but that will have to be when the children are a bit older. I want to do it right and take good care of my animals, not just a whim. I used to be a vet tech, so I hope that experience will help some. Do you know anything about meat goats? That interests me also. Frankly, everything about livestock interests me.
     
  4. Upham

    Upham Well-Known Member

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    I really don't know that much about either but I have a friend that has three goats and they can get rough for children.
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  5. My children have been bottle feeding and loving Nubian (and crosses)goats for 3 years now. They were 5 and 6 when they started. Also have a 2 1/2 yo that goes down to barn with me and enjoys my ladies very much while I clean up or milk. They have never tried to butt her. Sometimes they lick her if she smells like peanut butter. Older children play follow the leader and everyone likes the milk. Hope to teach children to milk this year. You must teach the children that they are the BOSS and never back down or act afraid to any animal. Goats are MUCH smarter than sheep but sheep for the most part are lower maintenance. I cant tell you how much I enjoy my goats even on the coldest day, the hottest day, and the buggiest day of the year. With your experience, you could have Noah's ARK if you wanted!
     
  6. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    If you want the grass kept down you need sheep, goat aren't as good at grass, they will eat or break every tree they can touch though and alot of other things too. I have 3 goats now we started with them mostly because we found them 1st, but the more I have learned goat where the better choice for us to start with, they handle our dogs better than I think sheep would, and most of what I hear about sheep is they are a bit less hardy (around here worm every 15 days or expect trouble) and we don't have the fence for them. Everyone runs loose around here.
     
  7. Clara Bell

    Clara Bell Well-Known Member

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    Hi leigha,
    I chose both. The goats came first for the children to learn about livestock, as you said, that goat personality can't be beat for enjoyment!, and milk and cheese for the family, and soap making at a later date, and then bought 4 young wethers to eat what the goats didn't. They really worked good together keeping the mountain pasture under control. The sheep being 'mothered' by the goats gave them a more 'goat' outlook on life and were calmer than the average sheep?
    Each child had their goat, studied goat, milked their goat, were right outside the stall with each kidding, more times in, and got to sell or keep their kids. They learned a lot from that. When all the others were gone, the youngest took over the whole herd and had a nice little farm business of her own. She turned out to be the most business minded of all!
    When the youngest went on, I did let the boys go on and bought Katahdins from a friend when I couldn't shear as one, but they were so skittish they didn't work well up here. Maybe because they were older and weren't raised by goats. :)

    There's nothing in public education like children growing up with livestock. Watching life, and sometimes death first hand no matter how careful we are.

    From you...."I want to do it right and take good care of my animals, not just a whim."

    I applaud you!
    Hang in there. You'll figure out what's right with where you are. Just takes some thinking and consideration.
    Clara
     
  8. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I chose sheep because they would make me more money (here) and I didn't want to fight to keep goats in. Just to put your mind at ease wool sheep do fine and even better than hair sheep in the heat. The wool wicks away the heat and keeps the worst out. If I have sheep in the shade they've been shorn, the woolies are out in the sun eating. If wool breeds can handle Australia they can handle Alabama. You can milk sheep, it makes a superior cheese to all others but is not the best drinking milk. I can't see any reason to worm every 15 days, unless they are kept in a dry lot and are constantly foraging in the dust for scraps! Sheep are a bit harder to keep healthier, goats are easier keepers in that regard. More breeds to choose from than goats, and all of them have ears! Honestly pick whichever you like the best, you'll do your best with what you want.
     
  9. Our neighbors got Boer goats, very pretty and seem a bot calmer and less bother than many goat breeds. They got tired of all of the vaccines, worming, foot care and stuff with the sheep. That said, I'd go over to the sheep and the goat forums and learn about the different breeds and which would fit what you would like from them. Of course, right now there are lambs everywhere here and they are all cute as the dickens! LOL Have fun...LQ
     
  10. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We raised both Nubians goats and Katahdin sheep. As for care, I'd have to say I found the sheep easier. We manage our stock (or I should say did, we sold our livestock so I could travel with hubby) as close to "natural" as possible. Our land is roughly 50/50 in pasture and woods, satisfying both browsing and grazing needs. We didn't worm or vaccinate, and never had any problems with either the sheep or the goats. I found lambing to be easier than kidding, and the sheep are ten times easier on the fences than goats are :)
    Sheep however are not naturally as friendly as goats, but that's easily solved with a handful of corn always available :).
    Probably though, as beautiful as baby lambs are, nothing is quite so much fun as a baby goat. They are just priceless.
     
  11. I have pygmy goats. I LOVE them. They are meat goats, though I know of no one eating them. My purpose for buying them was for pets, livestock experience for me and the kids (agree, best life lessons available), and for a little help with lawn maintenance. Being a vet tech will help you immensly (sp?) as they do require more maintenance than I was aware of - worming, vaccinations, special feed requirements, etc., but oh, so worth it in my opinion. I have an 8 year old who is looking to join 4H and start showing them. What started out as somewhat of a whim has turned into an all out obsession. I do not recommmend them (or any animal for that matter) if you are not willing to make the commitment that is necessary, but can tell you that I have no regrets. Check out a web site called "Goattalk". They can answer any question you have.