Wednesday, February 29, 2012

To Milk Or Not to Milk? That is the Question!

We have been really thinking about the possibility of getting a couple goats or a cow to produce dairy for our ever growing family. Mama is tired of running out of milk and having to run to the cornerstore to buy a jug only to find the price be between $6 and $7 dollars. When you're a family that can go through a 4L jug in a day, this gets a little bit much. Factor in cheese (which we use A LOT) that is usually between $10 and $15 a large (not huge) block. When we're piggies we could go through one of those big ones in a week. Yogurt is the girls favorite snack, and we often use it for smoothies in the morning. If we buy it in the large individualy packaged packs you're looking at about $8-$13 per pack and we'd need at least 2-3 of those a month (before smoothie making). Then, there's butter, glorious butter. We despise margarine, but unfortunately financially we can't afford the good stuff at the moment. If we bought butter it would be between $3-$5 a block. Our margarine runs us about $10 a huge tub and last most of the month if I don't do a huge amount of baking, which I often do. That's a total of between $150 and $250 a month on dairy alone, if not more! Think brie, cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc... So, you can see why we are seriously considering a dairy animal.


However there are a lot of costs involved with keeping a dairy animal, and we are only beginning to learn this ourselves, so I can't give too much information on it, but you have to consider feed (hay and grain), fencing, bedding, vet bills, milking equipment (buckets, and maybe a milking machine), and if you were going to be paid for the labour you put in, that cost would be substantial in itself. Not only do we have to struggle with the desicion to dairy or not, we are battling the question goat or cow. I don't believe 1 goat would be enough for our family, so we would need two. It would cost us less to keep goats, but we wouldn't be able to use the milk for butter, and we do love our cows milk flavor and cheeses. That said, we could still do a ton with a couple goats. A cow on the other hand would produce more than enough of everything we needed, and then some, but we rent, and when it is time to leave this place if we needed to sell the cow or even found a place we were able to take it with us it would be a bit harder to do, and it would be a big investment in preparing for a cow to only have to sell it a few years later. Decisions decisions.

The only way we'll get a right answer is to pray about it, just like everything else, then do our part to become more informed about the decision we have to make. Last week we did this by spending an evening at a local families farm, learning about cows, milking, and making mozzerella! Let me tell you, I would get a cow for that mozzerella alone! As with all things I'll try to give this to God, and pray He keeps me patient enough to hear His words on this, and in the meantime help us get prepared for whatever decision is made.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Psalm 37:4 If you are walking closely with the Lord and truly desiring His will for your life – God will place His desires on your heart. The key is wanting God’s will, not your own. “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart”.
Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.


  1. I own 3 dairy goats and would suggest starting out with 2 goats. Why? Goats are a much smaller investment than cows. If it doesn't work, you are out less money! Goats are also hardier and less likely to have issues with things like mastitis. If you decide you like the milk but want to be able to do things like butter and cream, you can sell the goats and get a cow! Another way to help things out is to find someone with animals and offer to care for their animals while they are gone on vacation or overnight, etc. This will give you a taste of what it is like to care for an animal if you don't have experience with dairy livestock. :)

  2. I asked myself this same question, and we opted for 2 nigerian dwarf dairy goats... smaller size, big yield, take up less land. Good luck with your decision!

    Found you through the Natural Living Linkup!