Sheep, cattle and goats, which is best for a small homestead - Survivalist Forum
Survivalist Forum

Advertise Here

Go Back   Survivalist Forum > >
Articles Classifieds Donations Gallery Groups Links Store Survival Files


Notices

Farming, Gardening & Homesteading Country lifestyle, homesteading, blacksmithing and living off the grid.

Advertise Here
Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cattle/Donkey shelter from homestead trees M2Gunner Farming, Gardening & Homesteading 11 02-08-2018 06:38 AM
Please read this. On Sheep Dog, Sheep, and Wolves Pangea General Discussion 10 01-10-2016 07:00 PM
Costs of a small homestead Angry Cow Farming, Gardening & Homesteading 28 03-11-2015 12:54 AM
Slaughtering Sheep & Goats? -sensitive question Shanks Mare Farming, Gardening & Homesteading 24 09-07-2014 02:34 AM
Raising cattle on small farm? donutthedog Farming, Gardening & Homesteading 15 02-14-2013 12:32 PM
Sheep versus Sheep Dog ackbob Disaster Preparedness General Discussion 17 04-27-2010 08:43 AM
Cattle HAILEGAR Hunting and Trapping General Discussion 14 03-21-2009 06:33 PM
Sheep and goats web resouce BrowserCat Farming, Gardening & Homesteading 3 10-14-2008 01:45 PM

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-11-2013, 09:43 PM
kev's Avatar
kev kev is offline
Forum Administrator
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: East Texas
Age: 51
Posts: 16,148
Thanks: 3,021
Thanked 39,134 Times in 7,814 Posts
Default Sheep, cattle and goats, which is best for a small homestead



Advertise Here

In another thread we talked about cattle, in this thread I would like to discuss the good and bad points of goats, sheep and cattle.

My wife and I are planning on moving to the homestead; after which I plan on fencing in a 10 - 13 acre field for some kind of meat and milk producing livestock.

Cattle was one of my first choices. My wife and I cook a lot of beef ground meat, steaks, stew meat,,, just all kinds of different cuts of meat.

Goats were my second choice. Cattle eat grass, goats eat weeds, so they would not compete over the food sources. Unlike a cow, when a goat is butchered I would not have to deal with a 1,000 pound animal.

Then there are sheep. Unlike goats, sheep produce wool that can be used to make clothing. The breed of sheep I was looking at (under the suggestion from my brother) is hair sheep. Hair sheep look like goats, as they have short hair instead of wool.

Reproduction


Cattle have an average gestation period of 285 days.

Goats have an average gestation period of 150 days.

Sheep have an average gestation period of 145 days.

Land requirements

Sheep and goats require less land then cattle.

Cattle eat only certain grass types, sheep and goats eat a wide range of forage foods.

Sheep and goats can navigate rough hilly land that cattle would not be able to access.

Goats and sheep do well in drought conditions.

Then there are the building materials needed to fence in a field. Goats are difficult enough to keep in a pen, much less one that was built out of what survivalist could scavenge after SHTF.

Milk production

Goat and sheep milk are both healthier then cows milk.

Sheep milk has more solids in it then cows milk, so its easier to make into cheese and butter than cows milk.

The Plan So Far

The plan for 2013 is to get moved to the homestead, get the chicken yard and expanded chicken coop built, then start fencing in a field.

If everything goes even remotely to plan, hopefully I can get some goats and sheep in early 2014. I would like to get some cattle, but I want to see how the fields do with smaller livestock before going to larger farm animals such as cows.
Related Posts
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to kev For This Useful Post:
Old 02-11-2013, 10:09 PM
"Spoon"'s Avatar
"Spoon" "Spoon" is offline
Commonsensehomestead
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southwest, MO
Posts: 571
Thanks: 360
Thanked 602 Times in 297 Posts
Default

Goats would be my vote. Right now cattle are high and what is worse is the feed prices are high. Goats are hardier when it comes to what kind of land you have, but are very hard to kid. I prefer beef to eat, but lets face it Goat will work and those Gyro sandwichs aren't too bad. I just think in the long run goats are more self sufficient on a homestead. YMMV.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to "Spoon" For This Useful Post:
Old 02-11-2013, 11:23 PM
Dragonid's Avatar
Dragonid Dragonid is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Northern Great Plains
Posts: 5,626
Thanks: 12,568
Thanked 10,891 Times in 3,809 Posts
Default

I also favor goats. For a couple of reasons, which are closely tied together. If you have Z# acres, you can fit Y head of beef on it, or 4 to 6 *Y goats. This means two things, greater genetic diversity, and each animal is a smaller investment. Going back to a gold/silver comparison I've made before:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonid View Post
Comparing the benefits/drawbacks of cattle vs. goats/sheep is like the debate on gold vs. silver. With the right breed selection, they can all be used for drafting, dairy, meat, leather and fiber. The option of gold/cow puts a large investment into a single unit, while the option of silver/(goat/sheep) spreads that same investment over a large number of units.

If your priority is to compact as much investment into a single unit to make for easy transportation, or minimize interaction time related to health maintenance (based on X amount of time per individual); then cattle are your choice. This has the major disadvantage of easily losing a large investment for each individual that may be stolen/poached or lost to illness; just as losing/trading a single gold coin means a larger increment/investment. Also, knowing that each individual represents a larger investemnt, means that you will most likely not be spending X amount of time per individual on health maintenance, but a large amount of time per individual. That can be a good thing, but it is also harder to accept a loss and move on, you may be inclined to waste time trying to save/recover an animal.

If your priority is to spread your investment out across a large number of units to protect against losses and make trading in small increments easier; then goats/sheep are your choice. This has the major disadvantage of increasing the total amount of time spent on health maintenance and butchering, even though time spent per individual may be lower; comparable to the larger volume and mass of silver that must be hidden or transported to represent a large investment.

Personally I choose the goat/silver. Once you have a large investment in small increments, and volume becomes an issue, then you can begin to concern yourself with cattle/gold.
On top of protecting your investment by dividing it into smaller increments, you have breeding and genetic diversity being much more achievable on a small scale with smaller animals in larger populations. Ideally you won't need to pursue outbreeding, so that means multiple males, and 3-12 females for each of them.

At the low end we have something like this (requiring additional hay acreage depending on climate):
  • Six cow-calf pairs, and two bulls, taking 24 acres. 14 animals.
  • Fifteen does with thirty kids, and three bucks, taking 24 acres. 48 animals.
The numbers of goats is adjusted to use the same acreage as the cattle for comparison. You could just as easily have the smaller numbers on a smaller acreage for goats.

Much more leeway for culling out undesirable traits (and putting meat on the table) when you're dealing with a larger population of smaller animals. You also have better odds of retaining a viable herd if a natural or man made disaster wipes out part of it.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Dragonid For This Useful Post:
 
Old 02-11-2013, 11:30 PM
OkieRob OkieRob is offline
Target Shooter
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 405
Thanks: 179
Thanked 376 Times in 212 Posts
Default

Can't help you on good and bad points on sheep and goat. Never had any.

I've been raising beef cattle for close to 20 yrs. Nothing fancy ,just crossbred.

Bad points are the feed is rediculous high. Also they will need alot of roughage in the winter. Unless you bale your own, it gets expensive to buy.

Should you need to doctor a full grown cow, you'll need a heavy duty way to contain/restrain it. And getting kicked/stepped on, pushed by one is alot more hazardous as opossed to a goat or sheep.

Hauling is someting else to consider. goats and sheep will be easier to transport.

Cattle will require more water.

Usually a good sound bull can cover 20 head of mama cows easily. At least i have not had any problems.

You can probably run 3 goats to the same area as 1 cow.At least in this area, this seems to be the norm.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to OkieRob For This Useful Post:
Old 02-11-2013, 11:38 PM
Lord Darwath's Avatar
Lord Darwath Lord Darwath is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 7,676
Thanks: 2,296
Thanked 13,776 Times in 5,040 Posts
Default

I thought I read somewhere here on SB that there is a miniature cattle breed available now? I don't think the size of them was specified, but the comments kind of gave the impression that they aren't a whole lot bigger than large goats or sheep.
Quick reply to this message
Old 02-11-2013, 11:47 PM
n1oc's Avatar
n1oc n1oc is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,094
Thanks: 2,412
Thanked 2,151 Times in 1,171 Posts
Default ? did you consider pigs ?

or rabbits for a meat protein source? feeder pig will fill the meat locker. milking animals need milking "0" days off. just my 2 cents. be safe.

n1oc

PS. thanks KEV
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to n1oc For This Useful Post:
Old 02-11-2013, 11:48 PM
Dragonid's Avatar
Dragonid Dragonid is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Northern Great Plains
Posts: 5,626
Thanks: 12,568
Thanked 10,891 Times in 3,809 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Darwath View Post
I thought I read somewhere here on SB that there is a miniature cattle breed available now? I don't think the size of them was specified, but the comments kind of gave the impression that they aren't a whole lot bigger than large goats or sheep.
There are breeds like the Dexter, but they're still 3-5* the size of a goat.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Dragonid For This Useful Post:
Old 02-11-2013, 11:55 PM
Roogagh Roogagh is offline
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 22
Thanks: 2
Thanked 46 Times in 14 Posts
Default

I have a small goat herd of about 30. They are very easy to maintain. They kid easy contrary to what was stated above. They come in all sizes and uses including milk, meat and fiber or a combo of these. I have both *****ians (small milk goats) and myotonic aka fainting goats (meat goats.) The myotonics are easier to fence in due to the having myotonia congenita. You can also get miniature silky fainters which would be a dual purpose fiber/meat goat. Angora are also fiber goats and it is getting common to cross them with pygmys or *****ians therefore making pygora goats or nigora goats. All goats make milk and all goats taste the same, some are just better at the specific function. Hope I didnt bore you and I would be happy to answer any questions.

This site wont let me spell n i g e r i a n s without ***** it out
Quick reply to this message
The Following 8 Users Say Thank You to Roogagh For This Useful Post:
Old 02-12-2013, 03:04 AM
ravenray ravenray is offline
This is a great survival forum
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: TEXAS
Posts: 394
Thanks: 365
Thanked 435 Times in 161 Posts
Default

Barbie doe sheep are great animals and live well in Texas and boy do They taste good.
they are a short haired sheep
Quick reply to this message
Old 02-12-2013, 08:03 AM
Lesmiserable Lesmiserable is offline
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 7
Thanks: 2
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default

I think a lot of this has to do with where you live and the carrying capacity of the land due to climate. I have been in parts of Texas where you just about needed a quarter section for a cow/calf unit, while another place I have lived would easily support 30 cow/calf pairs on the same amount of land.

Feed costs are not high everywhere. Where I live currently, big round bales are never more than $25 every year.

Predators can also be an issue as they will hammer goats and sheep a lot harder than cattle. Where I live currently we have lots of bears, cougar, lynx, wolves and coyotes. Sheep need constant attention and have to come in every night or you are going to be sheepless in short order. Expensive fencing and hot wires on the perimeter deter some of the predators, but you will still have problems.

Cattle are best where I live if you cannot babysit your livestock all the time.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to Lesmiserable For This Useful Post:
Old 02-12-2013, 09:57 AM
two bits two bits is offline
patriarch
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: southern Indiana
Posts: 4,508
Thanks: 2,074
Thanked 5,566 Times in 2,704 Posts
Default

Kev.. through my experience, I will say goats are easier to raise than sheep. A goat gets out, you just have a goat out. If you have a sheep out, well the whole flock is out. The sheep will have to be shorn, not goats. Goats produce a lot of good drinking milk, I like it. Sheep, 1/2 as much. Sheep needs grass, goats will thrive on underbrush, honeysuckles, and cudzu. If you want to produce good quality wool, your sheep need excellent pasture or wear covers/blankets. Sheep, well ,they are a pain in the ass.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to two bits For This Useful Post:
Old 02-12-2013, 10:57 AM
hebegbz hebegbz is offline
At Sugent
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 1,134
Thanks: 2,787
Thanked 1,429 Times in 566 Posts
Default

My wife and I are considering getting a few goats soon.
I have some goat meat from the market in the freezer right now, waiting on a good recipe. I figure it's a good idea to see if we like goat meat and milk before investing in a few.
I have heard that goat meat is similar to beef in flavor and texture, and that the milk is also similar, maybe even better than cow's milk.
Fortunately for us, we have some folks that raises goats nearby, and they will let us help them tend their goats for practice, and sell us some kids if we want.

One think that we both noticed right away.
They are adorable, so I can see where one could get attached easily.


If anyone has a favorite goat meat recipe they would like to share, it would be appreciated.
Thanks
Quick reply to this message
Old 02-12-2013, 12:24 PM
Roogagh Roogagh is offline
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 22
Thanks: 2
Thanked 46 Times in 14 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lesmiserable View Post
Predators can also be an issue as they will hammer goats and sheep a lot harder than cattle. Where I live currently we have lots of bears, cougar, lynx, wolves and coyotes. Sheep need constant attention and have to come in every night or you are going to be sheepless in short order. Expensive fencing and hot wires on the perimeter deter some of the predators, but you will still have problems.

Cattle are best where I live if you cannot babysit your livestock all the time.
Livestock Guardian Dogs are worth there weight in gold. I have 3 akc Great Pyrenees and a Pyr/Leonberger mix. I breed and sell the dogs also, matter of fact I have 8 pups right now that just hit 2 weeks old. Not only will they kill and eat preditors but they scare the crap out of people to. I have 2 that live in the pens full time and 2 in the house. If the dogs in the pen are going nuts I let the ones in the house out. They house dogs are always out when we are home.
Quick reply to this message
Old 02-12-2013, 03:00 PM
ForestBeekeeper's Avatar
ForestBeekeeper ForestBeekeeper is offline
off-grid organic farmer
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: forests of Maine
Posts: 23,142
Thanks: 28,759
Thanked 35,543 Times in 14,051 Posts
Awards Showcase
Outstanding Helpful Post 
Total Awards: 1
Default

I have had sheep. I have had goats. I have had cattle. Now I have pigs.

There is no 'better'.

There may be a livestock that seems to work better given a unique set of circumstances for the time being. But then things change, and shift and maybe a different livestock appears to fit the niche better.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to ForestBeekeeper For This Useful Post:
Old 02-12-2013, 09:28 PM
two bits two bits is offline
patriarch
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: southern Indiana
Posts: 4,508
Thanks: 2,074
Thanked 5,566 Times in 2,704 Posts
Default

[QUOTE=hebegbz;5227807]My wife and I are considering getting a few goats soon.
I have some goat meat from the market in the freezer right now, waiting on a good recipe. I figure it's a good idea to see if we like goat meat and milk before investing in a few.
I have heard that goat meat is similar to beef in flavor and texture, and that the milk is also similar, maybe even better than cow's milk.
Fortunately for us, we have some folks that raises goats nearby, and they will let us help them tend their goats for practice, and sell us some kids if we want.

One think that we both noticed right away.
They are adorable, so I can see where one could get attached easily.


If anyone has a favorite goat meat recipe they would like to share, it would be appreciated.
Thanks [Quote]

I enjoy goats and the milk is good. I miss having them. I recommend getting registered dairy goats for milk & meat. Milk goats are like cattle, where as one breed has a higher butter fat content than the others (Nubian) and one breed produces more milk than the others (Saanen). The rest lie in between. I had a saying, 'sell the best & eat the rest". Yes, the meat is good. Any recipe for beef is good for goat. And, treat them as livestock, not pets, so you can sell or butcher the animal.
The boar goat has excellent meat qualities, big, muscular, broad, & a good feed/meat conversion. The does also have four teats? And sometimes, four babies? They are not like dairy goats, which only breed in the fall. The boar goat can breed at your convenience. Goat meat is very popular (cabrito).
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to two bits For This Useful Post:
Old 02-14-2013, 07:37 PM
andersed andersed is offline
Hunter
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: NC
Posts: 1,081
Thanks: 166
Thanked 681 Times in 401 Posts
Default

Goats require tighter fencing than cows. On just 13 acres, it isn't a big deal.

The good thing about goats is that they keep the weeds and brambles down in your cow pasture.
Quick reply to this message
Old 02-14-2013, 11:14 PM
Lesmiserable Lesmiserable is offline
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 7
Thanks: 2
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roogagh View Post
Livestock Guardian Dogs are worth there weight in gold. I have 3 akc Great Pyrenees and a Pyr/Leonberger mix. I breed and sell the dogs also, matter of fact I have 8 pups right now that just hit 2 weeks old. Not only will they kill and eat preditors but they scare the crap out of people to. I have 2 that live in the pens full time and 2 in the house. If the dogs in the pen are going nuts I let the ones in the house out. They house dogs are always out when we are home.
Yes they work fine with some predators. Unfortunately I have a neighbour a few miles away that can tell you how long they last with a couple of big timber wolves. Not long. Worked great with coyote and kept the bears away, but the wolves killed them and at e a couple of them.

Not everyone wants a whole bunch of big dogs around either....... one more thing to feed and doctor when needed. Personally............. the barking at night when predators are out and about drives me nuts. But that is just me.

Our cattle instinctively come home at night and bed down near the yard. Never a problem. The ONLY time we have to keep an eye is when they are actually calving and the smell of blood is on the wind. Rest of the year we have next to no problems.

But as I said............. everyones situation is different and you need to do what you have to do. If dogs are what works where you are that is great.
Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2013, 04:12 PM
two bits two bits is offline
patriarch
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: southern Indiana
Posts: 4,508
Thanks: 2,074
Thanked 5,566 Times in 2,704 Posts
Default

I can only recommend listening to Corb Lund sing "cows around".
Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2013, 05:09 PM
Christian Christian is offline
Wayfinder
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 264
Thanks: 182
Thanked 322 Times in 127 Posts
Default

For a survival situation where it is assumed grain may not be available, I looked at the livestock choices hard and decided to try geese. Why?

#1 Geese can thrive on grass. Rabbits get by on it but need just a bit more protein to thrive. Plus they tunnel, so lotsa cages are generally necessary, which with the manure situation adds up to lotsa man-hours.

#2 Many annual offspring per mother, so that the majority of the grass is turning into what will become meat for the family, which adds up to efficiency. Also true for rabbits, but less so for goats, and least so for sheep.

#3 Low medical maintenance. If sheep and goats are confined to small acreage, they need to be treated for worms frequently. Not so for geese.

#4 2/3 of the goose ends up as meat vs 1/3 for deboned rabbit/sheep/goat.

My adult geese are to arrive Thursday from Holderreads. Hope it works out...
Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2013, 05:57 PM
n1oc's Avatar
n1oc n1oc is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,094
Thanks: 2,412
Thanked 2,151 Times in 1,171 Posts
Default shave and a hair cut..

well here is my two bits. have you considered a pond on your property. build a man made fishing hole. someplace to cool off and swim. extra water? fish and crawdads to eat. water hole for the livestock. be safe.

PS. sorry off topic.

Last edited by n1oc; 02-16-2013 at 05:59 PM.. Reason: forgot
Quick reply to this message
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
cattle, goats, homesteading, life after shtf, life after teotwawki, livestock, livestock for shtf, livestock for teotwawki, milk, sheep



Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Survivalist Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:
Gender
Insurance
Please select your insurance company (Optional)

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:49 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright © Kevin Felts 2006 - 2015,
Green theme by http://www.themesbydesign.net