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Raising Goats vs Sheep – Which is Better to Raise?

raising goats vs sheep

Are you thinking about raising goats and sheep together? Thinking it may be an excellent choice to keep them on one farm.

Many farmers are hesitant when it comes to putting goats and sheep together. They often ask themselves whether they’d get along and what farm settings are suitable to raise them together.

Some goat farmers who are still starting would choose between sheep and goats instead. But another question arises when raising goats vs. sheep: which is better to raise?

This article will know the pros and cons of raising a goat or sheep. There are many things to consider, and having both has its own set of benefits and disadvantages.

Read on to know which is a better choice between sheep and goats and how to raise them together if you prefer having them both.

Raising Goats Vs. Sheep: How It Affects Your Farm

One difference between goats and sheep is their grazing behavior. If you want an alternative to a lawnmower, you should have sheep.

Sheep are excellent grazers, and they can nibble grass surprisingly in uniform lengths. They wouldn’t mind how tall or short the grass is either.

If you want to clear brush, you should choose goats. They love to eat shrubs, twigs, leaves, and weeds, but these goats wouldn’t be nibbling on anything lower than their chin height unless needed to.

Having goats and sheep together requires ample space, ensuring they don’t get too crowded. Goats are more high-strung than sheep, so they need more exploring areas.

Goats need higher fences than the calm-mannered sheep when it comes to farm fencing.

If you are raising goats and sheep together, best to have high fences that are more focused on containing the goats.

Difference Between Goat and Sheep

Raising goats vs. sheep can be a handful for someone who just started livestock farming.

It even becomes tricky for people with zero experience to spot the difference between sheep and goats.

An easy way to differentiate goats and sheep is their tails. Goats have short tails pointing upwards, while sheep have medium-length tails pointing downwards.

Still, some sheep breeds have short tails pointing downwards. Another way of knowing the difference between goats and sheep is their hair.

Goats have short hair, while sheep can develop thick wool over time. However, when sheep are shaved, they may look almost the same at first glance.

If you’re still confused about the difference between goat and sheep based on physical appearance, you can focus on the sound they make.

Goats are notoriously noisy when compared to sheep.

raising sheep vs goats

Goat vs. Sheep: Advantages of Raising Goats

Raising goats can be very beneficial when done right. Goats are versatile animals and require only minimal care needs.

If you are planning to take care of goats, here are the advantages of having them:

Source of Multiple Products and Income Streams

Goats can be a great source of profit for many farmers. You can get milk and meat out of them, but you can also create several products out of these raw materials.

You can make their milk into cheese, butter, soap, and lotion. Goats are a good source of fiber, which is later made into yarn or clothing.

Considered as Pets with their Friendly Personality

Aside from being mischievous, goats are pretty friendly. They are easy to get along with and may do well with children.

Farmers often set up petting zoos for people to take care of kids and goats. In other cases, people would get goats and raise them as companions or as pets instead.

Requires Less Living Space

Goats are small livestock and do not require an ample living space. You don’t need to worry about any fancy housing either.

You can prepare 10-15 square feet per goat. However, be careful about putting platforms, and heightened areas on your farm since goats tend to climb.

Produce Creamier Milk

When it comes to goat vs. sheep, goats tend to produce more milk that you can use for purposes other than drinking.

The goat’s milk is fuller and creamier, making them excellent ingredients for cheese.

Some consumers prefer goat milk to the cow because of its taste and nutritional value.

For instance, alpine milk has made its way to the international market due to its low-fat content, nutrients, and commercial popularity.

Source of Healthier Meat

The goat’s meat is still part of the red meat type, but it is leaner and more nutritious. That is why some consumers prefer goat meat compared to conventional types.

Goat meat is low in cholesterol and saturated fats as well. So, this meat is highly recommended for those who want to minimize the risk of heart diseases.

ALSO READ: How To Properly Care For Your Goat

goat vs sheep - disadvantage of raising goats
goat vs. sheep – disadvantage of raising goats

Goat vs. Sheep: Disadvantages of Raising Goats

While raising goats seem to provide significant benefits, there are also downsides you need to consider:

Need Higher Fences

Goats are curious, clever creatures that have a knack for making their lives a big adventure.

They tend to climb over fences or trucks, which is why higher, heavy-duty goat fencing is a must.

Mischievous and Destructive

You might have known that goats love to clear brush on your farm, but that’s not all they like to nibble. They eat scrap metal and other things they can get their teeth into.

Milking Takes Skills

If you think milking is an easy task, you thought wrong. Milking goats takes skills and practice, which may be a challenge if you are still new to goat farming.

Sensitive Digestive System

When looking into the immunity of goats vs. sheep, goats are more susceptible to digestive problems.

This usually happens when their feeds are unclean or mismanaged, like eating other livestock’s food.

Noisy and Feral

Goats are noisy and loud, and they make this repetitive noise known as bleating. Some goat sounds appear so high-pitched that they sound like they’re screaming.

Also, goats can be feral, especially young ones. With the lack of training, kids may be skittish and can become difficult to capture.

goat and sheep

Sheep vs. Goat: Advantages of Raising Sheep

Raising sheep can be equally beneficial or even more compared to keeping goats. Check out these advantages:

Less Prone to Disease

When raising sheep vs. goats, sheep are less likely to get any illnesses. However, it pays to have your animals vaccinated and dewormed regularly.

Creates Minimal Damage

If you are looking at how much damage goats and sheep can do, you might want to choose the latter after knowing what goats are capable of.

Sheep are mild-mannered animals that won’t do any harm or damage to your yard.

Don’t Need Fancy Shelters or High Fences

Unlike cattle, you can provide a simple shelter for sheep even in bad weather.

They are very resilient and docile, which means you wouldn’t have to worry about them jumping over the fence.

Mutton is More Popular, and Goat Milk is More Nutritious

The sheep meat is called mutton, and Americans love having it on their meal. There are still some people who are not familiar with goat meat and are hesitant to try it.

When it comes to raising goats vs. sheep, the latter has milk that is said to have a higher percentage in protein, fat, and solids, according to “The Nutritional Value of Sheep Milk” by George F. W. Haenlein.

Adequate Feed-To-Meat Ratio

Sheep can put on weight quickly with the appropriate feed proportions.

This makes them a practical livestock choice if you want to maximize profit without excessively spending on feeds.

sheep vs goat - disadvantages of raising sheep

Sheep vs. Goat: Disadvantages of Raising Sheep

While the benefits of raising sheep seem all too good, there are a few disadvantages you should know about:

Vulnerable to Predators

In an open pasture, sheep are prone to predators like stray dogs and coyotes.

An unprotected herd may result in severe loss, which is why it’s essential to assign a guardian such as a herding dog.

Easily Frightened by Normal Circumstances

It’s normal for any livestock to get scared, but sheep are exceptionally more frightened than usual.

They try to flee from perceived dangers and regular procedures like hoof trimming, shearing, and vaccinations.

Have a Strong Stench

When you’re raising goats vs. sheep, the latter has a particular strong stench, or in other words, sheep stink.

Because of this, you can easily distinguish sheep from the herd if you are raising goats and sheep together.

This strong smell is lanolin, grease released by the sheep’s skin glands. It sticks to their wool, making a lasting sour odor.

Shearing Sheep Can Be a Struggle

It requires proficiency and the right tools to shear your sheep. Some farmers would hire a professional shearer for a larger sheep herd to get the job done right.

Requires a Healthy Pasture

When raising goats vs. sheep, a goat can thrive nibbling weeds and twigs while a sheep likes to snack over some healthy grass.

So, having pastureland full of grass can be an advantage if you want your sheep to put on some weight with minimal cost for feeds.

Goat or Sheep: Which is More Profitable?

Both sheep and goats can be very profitable if you utilize them suitable. You can sell these animals for their meat and milk since they are excellent sources.

You can also get wool and fiber from goats and sheep. For instance, mohair from Angora goats could sell for $10 per pound, and you can sell wool from Merino sheep for $10 to $25 per pound.

On the other hand, some farmers would say goats are more profitable. When your compare goat vs. sheep, goats are zero-waste animals where you can put every part of them to good use.

ALSO READ: How to Make Money Raising Goats

Raising Sheep vs. Goats: Frequently Asked Questions

You probably have a few questions in mind about raising goats vs. sheep.

For instance, can you put goats and sheep together? Won’t it cause a ruckus?

Check out these answers to commonly asked questions and see if they offer you a guide to raising goats and sheep together.

Which is Better to Raise – Sheep or Goats?

It depends on what you are looking for in livestock. Sometimes, a determining factor is a demand in your area.

If consumers love goat milk and meat more than sheep, then you might want to raise only goats. However, both sheep and goats can be a good source of profit in many ways.

They are both meat and milk producers and contribute products to the clothing and leather industry.

As farmers, you can create your products from their raw produce and multiply your income streams.

Can You Put Goats and Sheep Together?

When raising goats vs. sheep, others would think that it will be a recipe for disaster. However, goats and sheep can live harmoniously, contrary to popular belief.

Raising goats and sheep together may cause a little competition, but it’s something that can happen in a much larger flock.

In this case, you need to choose goats and sheep that don’t have horns.

raising goats and sheep together

How to Raise Goats and Sheep Together?

If you are wondering how to raise goats and sheep together, here are some tips to get you started:

Keep feeds separate

Remember that goats have sensitive stomachs. When their feeds mix up, it could cause digestive problems to your goats.

Invest in sturdy fences

When it comes to raising sheep and goats, you must acquire a strong fence. Your sheep won’t have a problem with this.

But your goats can be extra curious and start jumping over low fences.

Introduce them slowly

The first simple step when figuring out how to raise goats and sheep together is introducing them slowly.

Goats and sheep have their social order, and giving them time to adapt prevents any aggressive behaviors.

Make snacks and water always accessible.

Ensure that clean water is always available when raising goats and sheep together. As for the snacks, having a healthy pasture is enough to keep your sheep and goats nibbling throughout the day.

Can Goats and Sheep Breed?

Interbreeding is unlikely, but it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. The sheep-goat hybrid is often called “geep” or “shoat” in popular media.

The offspring of a sheep and goat is usually stillborn or may only have a short lifespan.

Keep them apart during the breeding season to avoid this from happening when raising goats and sheep together.

Raising Goats Vs. Sheep: Conclusion

Sheep and goats are common livestock that rears many benefits to farmers. While there is still a debate in raising goats vs. sheep, you can have the best of both worlds.

The goat and sheep have similar living needs for housing, feeds, and required space.

The distinct difference between goats and sheep is the tendency of goats to climb over fences, trucks, and other platforms.

Choosing either a sheep or goat becomes challenging to decide since both are excellent meat and milk producers.

They provide a lean, healthier source of meat, and both of their milk are excellent components for cheese and other dairy products.

When raising goats and sheep together, you can keep them with each other as long as every animal has enough space to roam around.

Sheep and goats are docile livestock that is generally easy to raise and manage.

So, if we go back to the question of which is better to raise sheep or goats, you would probably have the answer now. If you’re still confused, give it a try and get both!

raising Goats definitive guide

READ NEXT: Raising Goats – The Complete How-To Guide


Raising Goats Vs. Sheep

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