There are few animals quite as synonymous to farm life as the dairy cow. For most people looking for a self-sufficient life on some land, the first two kinds of livestock that come to mind are chickens and cows. This makes sense since both eggs and milk are a big staple for many families. However, there are a lot of downsides to adding large livestock like a cow to your property.
First off, a cow is a very big animal with a mind of its own. Many a new homesteader coming from a city environment has never been close to a cow, let alone handling one one-on-one. While most family dairy cows are generally amiable and sweet, they still can have their bad days. Being able to handle an 800-pound Bessie safely for you and the cow is a skill that you should learn from an experienced person. Some people never end up feeling comfortable around such a large animal, and that is OK. Thankfully, there is an alternative to cows: dairy goats.
Why Dairy Goats?
Dairy goats are an amazing alternative to dairy cows. In fact, some longtime cow owners who’ve switched to goats often state that they wish they would have done so sooner. Here are a few reasons why dairy goats are perfect for those wanting a self-sufficient life.
1. They Are Much Easier to Handle
Goats are far smaller than a cow, meaning they are easy to handle and less intimidating for those who aren’t accustomed to working with livestock. The largest dairy goat will hardly be over 150 pounds, even for a very large breed like the Nubian.
2. They Eat Less
This can be a huge benefit for many people. A cow eats a ton of food, to say the least. Not only does this mean you may be spending quite a bit, but you will also have two other potential issues: first off, finding enough hay in your area and secondly, storing it. Even a pair or trio of does of the standard breeds will eat less than a cow.