Goats Vs Sheep

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Livingguy, May 27, 2004.

  1. Livingguy

    Livingguy Member

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    What are the pros and cons of Goats Vs Sheeps?

    Do sheeps require similar strict fencing as goats do?

    What about the revenue potential? Can one make more money generally from Goats or Sheep?

    What about Hardiness and temperature tolerence? Which of them is more hardy?

    Appreciate your comments.
     
  2. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Having raised both, I'd have to say sheep are far easier. I'm basing that on hair sheep though, without the labor/problems associated with wool sheep.

    Sheep don't climb or jump fences, but then neither will a happy goat USUALLY :) A buck in rut is a different story.

    We raised Katahdin sheep, and they are extremely hardy, can lamb on pasture in my area (Ozarks) need little more shelter than the trees, and are content to browse and/or graze.

    They're more skittish than a goat by nature, and not as smart. I myself prefer lamb meat to goat meat, but goat meat is good too, and it's much, MUCH easier to milk a goat than a sheep!

    Goats need housing, period. They can't tolerate being wet. But they make wonderful companions, will provide you will all the wonderful dairy products you need, and there isn't anything more entertaining than a baby goat playing!

    These are just my opinions of course, and I can't say I prefer one over the other, just that I found sheep much less work to raise. There's probably more profit in sheep than goats. They both are wonderful livestock for a small farm versus a cow.
     

  3. prhamell

    prhamell Well-Known Member

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    Right now we're raising sheep (wool, but in the next few years we'll be switched over to hair sheep). I enjoy raising sheep because they can pretty much take care of themselves during the warmer months. During our WI winters they need more care and time spent on them. We raise them for the meat. I really want to try goats though! Mostly for the milk and I think the kids are just so cute! But I worry about keeping them fenced in and also husband isn't too keen on trying them.
    I guess it just depends on what your looking for. If you want to deal with wool and processing and selling it (which I don't have time for right now) and meat, then probably sheep are for you. Diary options, I'd lean more towards goats. Becky
     
  4. Livingguy

    Livingguy Member

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    Thanks for the responses, looks like:


    1)Time spent for care: Sheep better
    2) Being Hardy: Sheep better
    3) Milk/Dairy: Goats better
    4) Overall Profitability (Considering time spent,fencing costs,feeding costs,mortality,income from meat,dairy and wool): Sheep better???

    Its indeed been helpful any more comments are wellcome.
     
  5. Sheep are much easier, taste better less hoof care. A good cool weather sheep for canada is Soay. check www.soaysofamerica.com or is it dot org? for a breeder near you
     
  6. Livingguy

    Livingguy Member

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    Dear CJ and Prhamell,

    Which breed of sheeps and goats do you prefer and why?

    Anyone else with an opinion is also wellcome to comment.
     
  7. I'm actually considering taking on sheep for the multi-uses...milk, meat and wool, the issue I'm coming against is WHAT BREED lol.

    IF we decided to do both goats and sheep, we'll get either Nubians or LaManchas**I prefer LaM's myself, but Nubians are my second choice. Then that leads me to what breed of sheep, I really want a soft handed wool like Marino, but not sure if that breed would make a good meat sheep.

    BTW we had a LaMancha wether that we used as a worker, he pulled sleds/wagons and was such a sweet fun goat.
     
  8. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    pure bred goats bring in money , sheep can tend to be a losing thing, since the wool , unless you gert specialty breed, often isnt worth the time it takes to shear ( this told to me from a current shepherd runni8ng a flock of about 100)
    goats, DAIRY!, i realize there are milking sheep as well, but i have no knowledge of them
    sheep can be escape artists, usually under the fence rather than over ...
    personally i would go with goats, but thats me, i like personable animals , so sheep are out for me
    Beth
     
  9. Shygal

    Shygal Unreality star Supporter

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    Icelandic sheep are a triple purpose sheep - milk, meat and wool. I believe they also will shed their fleece if you dont shear them, so that is a money saver if you dont have to hire a shearer.
    Also Icelandics are browser type sheep, they will eat and thrive on poor pasture, and dont need grain.
     
  10. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We raised Katahdin hair sheep. We tried Barbados (another hair breed) but they were too skittish. I made a point to handle all my lambs a lot, not hard to do as they're quite adorable and daily walked around my flock with treats in my hand, so my girls were very tame. We did a few Dorper/Katahdin crosses, and I have no complaints about them, but my real love was with the Katahdins. They're beautiful, nice disposition, excellent, excellent meat, hardy and just so easy to care for. I don't know if this is true or not, but my understanding is that hair sheep are less muttony tasting due to the lack of lanolin amounts the wool sheep have.

    Personally, as with all meat, I think it has more to due with what they eat.

    As for goats, we raise Nubians. We're just getting back into them, but raised them some years back. I love the breed, they are almost puppy like in attitude. Their milk is very good, very high in butterfat. If you want to up the meat amount in them, I understand that a Nubian/Boer cross makes both an excellent dairy and meat animal.

    We keep ours for dairy production, and basically only butcher the young bucklings because I can't tolerate the chance of someone falling in love with how cute they are when little, buying one and later abusing it because they're a handful and stink.

    I think if I had to make a choice between goats and sheep it would have to be based more on my lifestyle than which might be better. If you worked outside the home, and have a busy life, I'd go with sheep. If you or someone is on the farm all day working it, I'd probably choose goats.

    On the other hand, if you keep your buck/ram separate from the girls, the goats and sheep can run together on pasture or in the woods just fine together, but you need to separate them at feeding time! The have somewhat different nutritional needs, goats need copper, copper is DEADLY to sheep.

    Another plus on the sheep (at least Katahdins) is that they're naturally polled. I dearly hate disbudding goat kids, but fencing has made that a necessity with them, that or risk them getting their heads stuck in it and a dog/coyote coming along.

    You might consider starting with 2 each does/ewes, spend some time getting to know them and make a choice from there.

    Both can provide meat and milk. It really is a matter of preference.
     
  11. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I wouldn't say i have the worlds best fences. Sheep do go under more than over but some breeds are worse than others. My North County Cheviots are a pain in the rear, but likely the best trade off between hardy and productive. A NCC lamb will finish fast lean and trouble free. If you're still alive after catching it they are good eating. If you want a simple life pick a breed you can get replacement sires for. All breeds have advantages none of which will work for you long term if you can't keep the flock genetics diversified. We're working towards making the wool not only profitable but a main component of our income. We tried milking, its still in the plan as sheep's milk cheese is the best (and most profitable) you can buy, or sell. Its on hold while we get wool up and running. We've had a few goats, both pygmy and an Alpine. Too much fuss for busy people if they aren't what you're busy with and I'm not sure I could sell enough here to be profitable. I can fence in hundreds of sheep but fencing 4 goats was like carrying a gallon of water in a wicker basket.
     
  12. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    Have had goats and sheep,, and would take sheep over goats any day.

    Which is almost funny Ross,, I know how the NC are and you are right.

    But the Wee Brecknock Hill Cheviots (cousins of the NC) never challanged the fencing we have.
    The BHC ewes I had.., all but one, would of been a good milkers.. their fleece is on the medium course side, but is easy to handspin, with a slight luster and nice spring to it. It blends well with other sheep wool or llama to make a softer Roving. While I did not eat any of mine, I know of people that had, and they let me know the meat had a nice flavor, and was tender.
    Hands down I like Sheeps milk/cream & Cheese, over goat.

    Did not have any problems with my Sheep and my Fencing.
    A few breeds are easy to care for and hardy.

    I did have a couple of Soay wethers,, just to check them out. If you can get bottle fed ewe lambs,, that would be the best way to go. Other wise they are really skiddish. However, they are quite hardy.
     
  13. Livingguy

    Livingguy Member

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    Thanks for all your comments. Do you keep Rams and ewes together or sepearte? Is agression a big problem with Rams? Is agression a problem with male goats?
     
  14. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There are also angora and cashmere goats. Bottle fed goats can be herded, tied out. My fence is 6ft no problems with goats getting out. I also let them out and take them for walks. I have Nubians mostly but goats are smart and will come to their names and/or sound of grain in a bucket. Never had sheep and havent eaten goat yet but dont like lamb I've had in the past. I do like venison.

    Goats can prove themselves where pasture is rough. Sheep prefer grass. Also on the homestead a couple of goats in milk after weaning kids can supply milk for the table, a veal calf and/or a pig or two. Day old milk is fed to the critters and only fresh for the table. Not sure but goats are probably easier to milk.

    Look into the market around you. And you might try both if you have both wooded and grasslands.
     
  15. JanH

    JanH Well-Known Member

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    Fencing...in general sheep are easier to fence. But sheep and goats *both* need tight fencing to keep other things *OUT* (dogs, coyotes, etc).

    Revenue...depends on how much you want to do. If you like weaving and spinning taking fleece breeds from start to finished products works. Plus you have meat and breeding stock.

    What's in your pastures? Goats - generally - are browsers. Some are good grazers but normally goats are quite content to let it get over a foot high and eat the tips here and there. Sheep are better at grazing.

    Hardiness...having had both I'd have to say honestly sheep are hardier. They tolerate cold better; and goats *HATE* being wet. If it's drizzling my sheep would go out and graze..goats would eat hay in the barn til it stopped.

    Breeds....everyone has their favorites. If you're looking at dairy - I find it hard to beat a good Togg. They're medium sized, good producers of milk and were the hardiest goats.
    If you're not thinking strictly dairy consider Angoras - mohair can also be used as a fiber source. I have been told that at kidding angora newborns need to be taken and dried completely inside. You'll need *CLEAN* pastures (no burrs, thorn bushes etc) for fiber production.

    Sheep - Cheviots have long been developed as productive, good growing meat animals with a decent fleece to use. Tunis is another good breed. If you don't want to mess with fleeces there's several hair sheep available...or alternately use a Barbados crossed on a wool breed. You'll get a fairly short, very soft fleece on the offspring and the "waste" wool on the rump and neck that's normally skirted off is mostly hair and skirts off easy. I found this true consistently with DorsetX and Hampshire X.
    You're money ahead finding a niche and marketing direct. Fleeces on the open market for Suffolk and other common breeds are "worth nothing" - people complain that it costs more to shear them than the wool is worth. This shouldn't be.

    aggression in breeding males can be taught. That is, never rub the top of the buck or ram's head...they should never learn (even as 2-3 month old babies when it's cute) that it's acceptable to swing their head in your direction. Period. I had one dangerous ram - a barbados that would actually stalk people in the field...he went in the freezer. His son was not ever mean...but I raised him. I had several other rams as well as buck goats and none were mean...but I raised and treated them with respect and with discipline. If you don't want a 250# animal doing it (jumping on you, running between your legs, butting at you) don't let the 30# kid/lamb do it. It's a bad habit that shouldn't be started. Any buck or ram that was persistently nasty would get a trip to the freezer....there's too many decent tempered ones to put up with one that isn't. It's just not worth getting hurt over. The above Barbados...after I'd made the call to the butcher but before he went, he charged my Thoroughbred horse. She kicked him - hard enough to *crack* like a gun - between the eyes....he backed up, head raised, shaking his head, stood there a minute (I was waiting for him to drop dead) and then took another run at her. She kicked him again and fight was over. But I knew then I made the right decision. She had a LOT more punch and a better aim than I did and she was the only one to get him to leave her alone. :haha:
    For that matter the above holds true for females too...love on them and handle them but temper it with discipline - you won't regret it. Manners means a lot when you're handling them!
     
  16. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I keep our rams together, it works for the most part. Aggresive to humans is a no-no, they become a mutton delicasy fast. Jan is right don't make pets of them. Mine will aproach people but as they are handled as little as possible (except getting flipped on thier rump sheared or stabbed) they keep a respecful distance.
    As for breed favorite I'd say look for Polypay, Dorset, or Rideau Arcott. But again if you can't get new blood easily none of thier attributes will work for long. Polypay are an improved Dorset in my mind. They have Ramboullete in the mix and they really are a first class animal for fibre and fast growing lambs. A little healthier than Dorsets. Dorsets are very easy to buy replacements for and they are some excellent flocks out there that would rival Polypay. Wool isn't as good but still quite useable. Rideau Arcott are a Canadian breed, very prolific and cross breed with Dorsets and Polypays adding milk production and more third lambs or quads. Nice if you can find them where you are, truely a triple purpose breed.
     
  17. WestCoast

    WestCoast Guest

    I found that Barbabos Sheep were easy. I used them as weed abatement, (poisen oak.) They made our property look like a park. The Rams can be distructive and hard to contain unless you have ewes.

    Before we ate them, we fed them alfafa for a couple of months. Very good eat’n.

    Wild dogs put me out of the sheep business.

    I hope this helps.
     
  18. WestCoast

    WestCoast Guest

    Here is a photo of these sheep
    http://www.blackbellysheep.org/photoalbums/pages/Jimmy.htm

    :)