Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Sustainable Living and Land use › Sustainable Farming › goat vs cow › Reply To: goat vs cow
We milk one cow on our place. Used to keep milking goats but the main reason we switched was because we like to give our animals access to fresh pasture all the time and that means rotational grazing. For us, as vegetable growers, the goats were too much of a liability as they are harder to fence than cows and if they get in the garden, will do a lot of damage really quickly. That’s not to say that a cow won’t do a lot of damage as well, but, a well fed and well cared for cow and her calf can be very easily trained to stay behind a single strand of electric tape set just above the height of your knee.
Because life is busy, and we aren’t milking commercially, we only milk our cow once a day. After morning milking, her calf is turned out with her for grazing and nursing all day. Then in the evening we herd the calf’s back into their pen for the night and let the cow build up her milk again for the morning. This worked really well for us, even in the event of having to do an overnight trip sometimes we could just leave the calf with the cow to do all the milking.
This system only worked for us because we keep a small Jersey and don’t push her for milk production. So while her milk production will be lower than most since we’re only milking once a day, her body matches the demand and we would still get about 2 gallons a day. In our experience, 2 gallons is plenty of milk to deal with each day for one family.
Someone with more experience keeping goats may have some different ideas on how to keep them more easily. I’m happy to talk family cows if you have any more questions.
Also, we have a couple dairy cows for sale. Not sure if your close enough to make that interesting to you or not but we are in the seacoast of NH. Good luck