Goat vs Cow Milk: Which Dairy Animal is Right for Your Homestead

Maybe you have been considering getting a dairy animal for your homestead but aren’t sure what animal to get. Goat vs cow milk, which is really the best? We were in the same spot recently of trying to decide what was best for our homestead, so I thought it would be a great topic to talk about here on the blog.

goat vs cow milk

When we first moved into our homestead and talked about what dairy animal we would get eventually, we started off thinking we wanted goats. We knew others who had goats and were happy with them, and they took less space so it made sense to us.

We started our homestead with chickens and since we were feeling like old pros now when it came to chicken keeping, we decided it was time to add a dairy animal.

Except, the fencing for goats overwhelmed me. Our property had fencing for a cow, but goats need good, solid fencing to keep them in and predators out. At the time my logic was that we already had cow fencing in place and the added expense of the goat fencing was not something we could do at the time.

However, I wasn’t thinking this through because if we had decided on a cow, we still needed to fix up the one barn it would need to reside in, and unfortunately, that small barn is in extremely rough shape. It would cost a lot of money (and time) to get it in shape for a cow.

In the end, we decided we could fix up another small barn on our property and house goats in it. It was too small for a cow, but big enough for goats.

As for the cost of fencing, when we were finally ready to get a dairy animal we were in a position now where we could afford the fencing. Plus, the fencing was cheaper than fixing the cow barn.

So, last week we brought home a couple of Nubian goats. Look at these beauties, Dixie and Dyna:

nubian goats

We also want to add a Nigerian dwarf goat to the mix. Those two breeds have been on the top of our list and we’d like to have both so we can decide which ones we prefer. Nigerian dwarf goat milk has a higher percentage of butterfat, though Nubian is one of the higher butterfat producers too. Here is a great list of the best breeds for milk or meat when it comes to goats.

Which leads me to explaining why we wanted a cow. The truth is, I already love the goats and I think they are a better fit for our small homestead. However, our first choice was a cow. Because, cream.

I love to cook, and I dreamed of all the things I could make with their cream. While goats can give some cream, it’s not nearly comparable. It also doesn’t separate and float to the top like cow’s milk unless you wait 3-7 days.

But, it just wasn’t in the cards for us. And that’s okay. There are going to be plenty of things we can do with the goats milk we get from the nubians.

GOAT VS COW MILK – THE ANSWER IS DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE

So, which is better? Goats or Cows? Well, I’ve never owned a cow, and I’ve only owned goats for less than a week so far, so I’m definitely no expert, but I’m pretty sure it comes down to personal preference and what works for your own personal situation. Size of property, animal housing availability, finances are all going to play a role into this.

So let’s talk about the pros and cons of goats and cows to help you decide which way you should go when it comes to picking a dairy animal for your homestead.

DAIRY GOAT

PROS:

You don’t need as much acreage for a goat because of their small size.

They are more affordable. Goats generally run a few hundred dollars as opposed to a good dairy cow which you can be looking at over a thousand dollars, depending on where you live.

They are smaller which means you can feel more at ease with your kids around them and they are easier to manage for yourself as well.

You can transport them a lot easier than a cow. We brought our two goats home in a minivan! With a cow you are going to need a trailer of some sort.

CONS:

They won’t give you a good quantity of cream and the cream they do give you doesn’t separate the way cream from cows do.

They are harder to contain. You need good quality fencing.

They are more susceptible to predators. Because they are smaller they are at risk of being attacked by predators – another reason you need a good fence.

The male goats stink. This is the reason we don’t have a male goat. Male goats smell bad and this is why many people think twice before owning one. However, without owning the male it means you need to “rent” a buck or do artificial insemination when breeding time comes around.

They don’t give as much milk. Now, technically this can be a pro or a con because maybe you don’t need as much milk. But, if you are hoping for an animal that will give you large amounts of milk, you want a cow.

DAIRY COW

PROS:

Cream, cream, beautiful cream.

The give A LOT of milk. If you have a large family or want to do a million things with the cream this definitely comes in handy.

They are easier to contain. It’s interesting that for such a huge animal, they are easier to contain then goats.

CONS:

They are big animals and so there are risks, especially around children.

They cost more.

They eat more which again, will play into a higher cost to feed the animal,especially if you don’t have enough pasture.

They are harder to transport. You’ll need a pickup truck with a trailer to transport cows around. I mean, I guess you could TRY transporting them in your minivan, but I feel like that will end badly….

They need more space. Anything less than 2 acres makes it difficult to keep cows.

GOAT MILK TASTE CAN BE DELICIOUS

So, as you can see, no matter which way you go, owning a dairy animal can offer you many benefits. Either animal will give you great tasting milk. While there are people out there who say that goat milk doesn’t taste good, that just isn’t the case.

While goat milk CAN taste awful, if you’ve had bad tasting goat milk, then there are a lot of things that played into a gross glass of milk. There are breeds known for “goat-y” tasting milk, as well as whether the buck has been around the females too much, or if the milk is just too old.

My husband and I compared our Nubian goat milk to the cow’s milk we had left in our fridge from the store and we couldn’t tell the difference.

We are loving our newest experience on the homestead and having access to our own dairy has been amazing.

Summary
Goat vs Cow Milk:  Which Dairy Animal is Right for Your Homestead
Article Name
Goat vs Cow Milk: Which Dairy Animal is Right for Your Homestead
Description
Is a dairy goat better or is a dairy cow the right choice? Here are some things to consider before you decide on which one is right for you.
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Simple Life of a Frugal Wife

2 thoughts on “Goat vs Cow Milk: Which Dairy Animal is Right for Your Homestead”

  1. Amazing, way to go.
    With all the activities you have going on, I wonder if you ever sleep!
    Milking goats sounds very inviting, I have a couple of questions.
    In your article you never mentioned the expense of a milking machine.I assume you do this by hand, and how long does it take to milk a goat?
    Also, how much milk does a goat produce? and if you can’t use all the milk, what would you do with the excess?
    On your homestead, do you grow and harvest your own hay?
    Seems like you are enjoying your homestead more and more.
    Keep up the great work.

    1. Haha, I do sleep, though probably not enough. 🙂 But I think that’s common for moms no matter what. 🙂 We do not have a milking machine, I milk by hand. I’ve heard milking machines can be a bit of a hassle to clean and take longer in the end, though I wouldn’t know because I have never used one. It doesn’t take me long to milk at all. From start to finish with the two goats, probably 20-30 minutes total and that’s including getting them up on the stand, cleaning them up, giving them grain, etc. It didn’t take me long to catch on.

      Our goats produce 2 litres in total every day, but I do think that is on the low side. I’ve heard of Nubian goats generally producing twice as much as that. I’ve increased their grain to see if that increases their milk supply, though 2 litres is enough for us, but I know as time goes on their supply decreases so I am trying to prepare for that. We haven’t had any excess yet, but it will probably happen. For now I have made yogurt, cottage cheese, and used it in baking, along with drinking it and putting it on cereal. I would like to try my hand at making goat cheese and mozza but I need to get some cheesemaking supplies first. 🙂 I also want to make custard since i have both eggs and milk.

      We don’t grow our own hay. We have only two acres and while I know friends who grow their own hay on their 2 acres, we have a pretty shady lot with a lot of trees. We are enjoying our homestead very much. Now if I could just get better at gardening…. 🙂

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