Sheep or goats?: Choices on the homestead

Twin Katahdin ewe lambs

My father and I recently took a trip to go get a new ram for our homestead. While we were at the ram’s breeders’ homestead, I heard someone ask the question; “If you are getting sheep or goats for the first time, which one is better for the beginning homestead? My reply was goats. Why? Because of a few simple things.

Number 1:Goats require less bottle feeding

Now if you are wanting your animals to raise their own babies, either of them can do that. But lambs do require feeding every two hours initially if the mother rejects her lamb. It does happen. We have two lambs on our farm this year who were bottle babies They were a ton of work to bring up. Which brings me to another topic, why we chose to bottle raise our goat kids.

Number 2: Goat kids are less fragile than lambs

That’s right! It’s much easier to lose lambs than goat kids. Especially in the above mentioned scenario where the baby is orphaned. Lambs are much more difficult to start on a bottle and much easier to have start in with aspiration pneumonia.

Baby goat dancing and playing
One of the bottle baby goats dancing and playing out in the field.

Number 3: Goats come in meat, milk and fiber varieties

If you want a meat animal that doesn’t require milking, there are several different breeds of goats that are specifically bred for meat breeds. The same holds true for milking, and then of course most of us have heard of Cashmere. Cashmere is goat hair believe it or not.  There’s also Angora hair which is another variety of fiber goat.

 

If you do decide that you want to have sheep after you have learned how to care for goats, goats sell very well, and you can always either sell the goats, or add sheep into your herd.  If you want to read more about why sheep or goats, here’s a good article with more to think on

Until next time,

Homestead in health ya’ll!

Emily

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