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When people think of dairy, they automatically think of cows. Sure, dairy cows are a nice luxury and will keep any family well-supplied with milk.
However, many people simply cannot have a cow on their land. There is another option for your dairy needs: goats. Goats are an excellent choice for supplying you with the milk you need to keep your family healthy and fed. In fact, goat milk is better for you than cow’s milk. It has lower lactose levels, which means even those who are lactose intolerant likely will be able to drink and eat cheese made with goat’s milk.
Still not convinced? Check out these seven reasons goats are a better choice than cows for your homestead.
1. Goats are a fraction of the cost. A doeling will cost you anywhere from $50 to $200, depending on the breed and whether or not she is papered. A dairy cow will cost you anywhere from $700 to $3000. You can buy females in milk for around $200 to $400.
2. Goats are exceptionally cheaper. If you have land, your goats can free-range quite a bit with some minor supplements. A 50-pound bag of “goat chow” will run you around $15, and a bale of hay about $20.
That will last a single goat a month or more. A dairy cow will run you around $200 a month to feed the basics.
3. Goats require a fraction of the space. You can own a goat or several goats on a fairly small parcel of land and still be in good shape. Some people will have two goats on less than a half acre, which seems to work. A cow will need her own acre to stay healthy and fed. This can be problematic if you have a small area and need to raise other livestock and grow a large garden. The more pasture you have, the better.
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4. Goats are easy. It is not hard at all to manage their diet, considering they can eat just about anything and be OK. A goat that eats too much, though, can get bloat. Bloat, when caught early enough, is easy to cure without worrying about hiring a vet. A little baking soda is generally enough to solve the problem. Dairy cows are prone to a variety of illnesses, as well, but the fix tends to be very expensive and often requires an experienced vet.
5. Goats tend to be a lot like dogs. They become pets. They will learn your voice, and most of them will come when you call. They are very friendly and you will soon discover they are playful, loving creatures. Watching young kids (baby goats) run and play is entertaining. You won’t see cows jumping, running and acting silly.
6. Breeding is a lot easier with goats. You also will be rewarded with anywhere from one to three kids on average. A cow will usually only have one calf at a time. A cow’s gestational period is about 283 days versus a goat’s gestational period of 150 days. This means you are able to stay “in milk” for most of the year when you have a goat.
7. Goats are smaller. Their size is less intimidating than that of a 1,200-pound cow. For some, it can be a little scary trying to milk a cow that isn’t in the mood. With a goat, the process isn’t nearly as terrifying, and you will be able to have better control of a cranky goat than you would with an irritated cow. There is less fear of being hurt or trampled by a goat.
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