So what would you choose? A house cow or a house goat?
I've been pondering that question for a wee while now. Of course, I've been pondering the bigger question too: "House milk-bearing animal at all?"
My husband hates goats. With a passion. It goes back to a wild goat-cull he went on as a lad, got marooned and ended up having to eat half-cooked wild billy-goat....enough said. He reckons he can taste 'goat' in the meat, in the cheese, in the milk. Not that he drinks much milk anyway, he's a bit lactose intolerant.
I've never had that much to do with goats, but they look pretty cute! They are also smaller, but craftier, than cows. Apparently they do a lot of escaping. Everything I've read says you need to have at least two because they are such social animals. Then there is hoof trimming, shelter requirements and the fact that they never develop a resistance to internal worms.
Cows are big. If one stands on your foot, you know about it. They also produce a heck of a lot of milk. But you can separate off the cream and make butter. Goat milk and cream doesn't separate very well. Cow's milk and it's products are more accepted than goat milk.
Cows don't climb and eat trees (which we have a lot of young ones) and they don't need as much company as goats. But they are more expensive to buy and they take a lot longer to produce offspring. However, said offspring is easier to sell or eat.
As for the time factor of everyday milking - well, I reckon that's ok. I'm not a highly motivated person but things that need to get done, get done. Like 'chickens will starve if I don't feed them' versus 'nobody will starve if the floor stays unvacuumed'. Also, if you keep the calf/kid with mum then just lock it away for the night or a few hours, you can go away for a night or two and not worry about mastitis etc. You also get a naturally reared animal - much easier for you and much healthier for them.
The locking away thingy also brings up another point. I have no yards and no milking stand or crush. So the bigger the animal, the more expensive to build what I need.
I have a wee jersey heifer called Gloria, but it will be another year before I can get her in calf and then another nine months before I potentially have milk - and I'm itching to get into it now.
Oh so much to ponder!!
Anyone got any thoughts on this?