( Goat vs. Cow… depending on whether or not you’ve already made up your mind on the subject.)
There are several things to consider when deciding cow vs. goat. How you answer will help you choose which animal is the right . Even if your heart is set on having a cow, it may not be a good fit for your situation and it would be unfair to her for you to figure that out the hard way.
As you consider the best livestock to raise, consider what you already have to work with. All livestock require room to browse or graze, a barn or shelter and sturdy fencing. How much land you have also determines what you can keep on your homestead. As a general rule of thumb, livestock need the following number of acres per animal:
- Beef cattle: One to two acres per animal
- Cattle: One to two acres per cow
- Goat: Half an acre per animal
- Sheep: Half an acre per animal
Each of these animals has different fencing needs. Cattle, goats, sheep and pigs can be pastured with woven wire and electric fences.
Each animal has different forage requirements, too. Some need a higher-protein diet while others can exist on browse and pasture. Goats and sheep, for example, can sustain themselves on poor-quality forage, and they can even be turned out on cutover land to keep the weeds down. Other animals, such as cattle and horses, need a higher-quality diet, and dairy cows need the most amount of nutrition in order to produce milk and stay healthy.
Learn all you can about the animals you wish to keep before purchasing your first livestock. Calculate the following as you figure out your costs:
- The initial cost of the animal
- Feed costs per month
- Any additional fencing or stabling areas you need to build
Now multiply your number by the number of months you’ll need to keep the animal until it’s ready to sell.
That number gives you an idea of the final costs of raising the animal until you’re ready to sell it.