Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Power › Other Working Animals › Goats vs Oxen in rough conditions
- September 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm #83999
In another thread someone advocated that oxen would be more useful than pack goats in a survival situation, but I’m thinking on it, a fleet of pack goats would be more useful for a lot of reasons. I’m not a prepper, so I’m thinking a scientist or missionary that needs to access remote areas more than a run from the end times type situation, but could apply to both.
- Goats can slip down narrower trails than oxen.
- Goats can adapt easily to eating brush as well as grass, while oxen strongly prefer grass.
- In rough terrain a pack animal is more useful than a wagon.
- If a long term situation, a string of goats can contain a viable breeding group, and supporting the young while they get old enough to work is not as onerous.
- If one goat becomes disabled or runs off with your pack, you’re not in as tough a situation as if you lost a larger pack animal (possibly with his pack.) so needing more of them is not always a disadvantage.
This debate has no bearing on my current decisions. Goats are easier to handle than steers, I can use my existing sheep equipment with them, steers are more likely to be useful in working the land and are easier to sell. I’ve got to weigh those things for myself…September 15, 2014 at 5:55 am #84030Donn HewesKeymaster
Not sure what the question here is. Are you asking about which to keep for clearing land? DonnSeptember 23, 2014 at 10:49 am #84071
No, I’m talking about beasts of burden working in places without good roads.
Entirely theoretical question. Someone had argued that I should invest in cattle so I’d have oxen in a doomsday type event where I may need a beast of burden to evacuate with, but I think oxen are more useful in a normal farm environment than on the run. (I do want oxen someday, I just think the doomsday evacuation scenario is a poor argument for them.)July 26, 2016 at 11:59 pm #89229Megan BeyerParticipant
Here is my work goat Ellis. He is a lamacha billy goat that I have trained to pull a Lil skid and he pulls light logs. I enjoy working with him and it puts him to use when it’s not breeding season. Working on making a Swedish three pad collar for him. He could carry a pack for me if I needed. My goats do a good job of clearing areas of weeds and shrubsJuly 27, 2016 at 6:21 am #89230Donn HewesKeymaster
Sorry I didn’t understand the question at first. We don’t get a lot of those kind of questions! As a theoretical question I would would rather make a move with a team of horses or mules (but that is just me!). I would not invest in draft animals today based on which would best suite this purpose though. I am hopeful that we can, and are rebuilding small local communities that are resilient to face the challenges of the future. I think horses, oxen and goats can all help us do that.
Just added four goats last week. In a testament to their ability to travel they were over a mile away after two days!July 28, 2016 at 2:32 pm #89232CharlyBonifazMember
while oxen strongly prefer grass.
that may depend: Texas Longhorn are browsers and even as calves mine were at least as interested in brush as they were in gras
In rough terrain a pack animal is more useful than a wagon.
why not use cattle for packing? They have been ridden 3000 years ago in Africa and Asia …
and if you prefer small, there are small breeds 😉
well, I do like goats, but billies have a smell to them …July 28, 2016 at 2:51 pm #89233CharlyBonifazMember
my mistake: it was 7000 years ago in Africa
http://stockybarka.free.fr/2bgal/img/h/afnp/fresque.jpgAugust 1, 2016 at 7:19 pm #89248dominiquer60Moderator
Oxen are grazers and browsers. Mine have only been gone for several months and already the hedgerows are closing in on the pastures. I miss them for land management purposes.November 1, 2016 at 1:56 pm #89607
I didn’t notice that this thread had revived!
Yaks are still ridden today in Asia, similar concept. If you had someone in your party too infirm to walk, an animal large enough to ride would be essential, and if your party is limited to trails that will fit the wider animal, then you could use all wider animals.
Smaller animals are more maneuverable and less visible, but you have much more work to saddle up the same amount of gear onto more animals.
Horse vs. Oxen is a matter of speed vs survivability. A horse needs higher quality feed when working than an ox, but if you’re in an active escape situation, you might want to move faster than walking speed.
I agree, actually making farm decisions based on this is likely unwise, I started the convo because someone was pushing me to make farm decisions based on this. It does give us an alternate look at our favorite draft animals and discuss pros/cons from another angle.
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