sheep vs steers

Discussion in 'Livestock' started by unklfstr, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. unklfstr

    unklfstr Guest

    What animal would produce more meat over time if I purchased some; sheep or cows?
  2. bombardier666

    bombardier666 Member

    To answer your question

    I am by no means an expert but I have had a conversation with someone whom I consider to be one. A friend of mine spent her childhood on a homestead and learned quite a bit. Cows vs. Goats: Cows being heavy hooved animals will inevitably trample your soil down and that combined with rain will make it very difficult to use for anything else. Cows eat alot and they drink alot too. You have to put way more food into a cow than what you get out of it if you plan to butcher it eventually. I milk cow will provide milk but you still have to feed it quite a bit. On the oher hand goats do not eat as much, especially if you let them do some of your yard work. The term "the grass is always greener" come from raising goats. They will lean on a fence until it breaks to get to another food source, So you would need to keep your fences well maintained. They like wild plants, weeds and such but you still have to suppliment thier diet with feed. Also the lighter hoof of the goat is less damaging to the soil which you may want to use in the future for growing. As opposed to the cow or goat, what was recommended to me for meat is rabbits. Rabbits like goats will eat any green trimmings from garden waste, You still have to suppliment there diet with feed but not nearly as much per pound of meat as other animals. Also they taste wonderfull. Keep them in what is called a hutch, and like the saying goes they will multiply. You have to be very carefull not to let them escape or you will quickly have a "rabbit problem" Even if you only keep females, they will breed with wild rabbits. Another great animal to keep is chickens. They will provide you with eggs even without a rooster contrary to popular belief, and they are easy to take care of. Rabbits and chickens both also provide excellent manure for your food growing op. A chicken is best kept alive because the amount of protien the eggs provide is far more than the chicken itself. I hope this helps.

  3. PorkChop

    PorkChop Member

    Pigs will produce more meat than any animal I can think of. They also have a lot of useful fat.

    One sow can have fifty babies every two years. Her babies will be 240lbs in 165 days.

    Yes, I raise pigs.
  4. bombardier666

    bombardier666 Member

    To caution about pigs, now I'm not saying that the previous poster is wrong, but I do know that pigs can be very difficult to keep healthy, they require alot of care and attention. Also many diseases that pigs carry are comunicable to humans. I guess the idea ultimately would be to get the most bang for your buck. Remember that in a situation of scarcity antibiotics, feed and other supplies will not neccisarily be available. You would need to make the most of what little you may or may not have.
  5. McGyver

    McGyver Guest

    Isn't it hard to get pig food though? What do you feed your pigs?
  6. J&J

    J&J Member

    Consider rabbits? My wife and I are just starting out with them, but from what research we have done:
    1. they reproduce... ummm ... like rabbits... one male can service several females (lucky guy;))
    2. the meat is very lean and high in protein
    3. they are relatively clean and easy to care for

    In our case (my homestead in town) a key factor is theat they are SILENT and don't STINK and don't take up a lot of ROOM.

  7. bombardier666

    bombardier666 Member

    Rabbits good, pig feed?

    If you live in a rural area pig feed can be picked up from any feedlot. Otherwise I imagine you would have to order it. Like I said before, pigs are also very prone to disease, most of which humans can get sick from. Rabbits, Chickens, Goats, all sustainable and like J&J said, the reproduce quickly.
  8. mountainmade

    mountainmade New Member

    obviously you would get more meet out of a cow. If you raise the two for one year depending on the breed of each you may end up with a 75 lb live goat and a 250 lb cow give or take. Then you subtract weight for the guts, hide and bone.
    Still more from a cow. What you must consider is your available resources hay gets expensive and in the winter can be hard to find. If your working with small acreage I'd go with the goat. they can eat a lot of things a cow won't touch. (you can't get butter from a goats milk though.) Rabbits are ok but they are too lean to survive off of alone (rabbit starvation is the term)
  9. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

    I agree with most of what you said ... but ... (you can't get butter from a goats milk though.)

    Sure you can, is it easy no but it can and has been done. :D
  10. backlash

    backlash Well-Known Member

    My Grand parents always raised pigs.
    They didn't spend a lot of time or money caring for them.
    They fed them scraps and pig feed.
    When it came time to butcher they did it all themselves.
    Nothing went to waste.
    They cured their own bacon and ham and rendered the fat into lard.
    Grandma even cooked the head, I never asked what she did with it.
    They ate fried pork 3 times a day and Grandma was 92 when she died.
  11. HickIndustries

    HickIndustries Live Simple, Live Happy

    On most pasture, one cow eats as much as five goats or sheep. The smaller stock will mature and be large enough to butcher (120 lbs) in 6-8 months. The cow takes 18-24 months to reach 1200 lbs.

    We used to buy dairy caves before they were weened in the spring and often butchered them at 4-500 lbs in late fall. We called them freezer calves. This is a good alternative.

    If you are doing math, the goats and sheep produce more meat in less time with less food. If you have to buy hay for winter feeding the decision is easy. Butcher your lambs and kids in the fall and carry over only your breeding stock.

    If you have a small pasture, limited hay storage, or fewer folks at the table, the goat or sheep makes more sense. If you have lots of pasture and a big family to feed, consider freezer calves.

    I used to raise pigs, rabbits, and chickens as well. The correct answer is to raise all of them.
  12. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    I would add the caveat: ideally ;)

    pigs are 'unhealthy' when they are treated as organic robots on large 'industrial farms' (I use the term 'farm' loosely :rant: ) designed to produce 'meat' in overcrowded conditions where the hygienic level swings like a pendulum depending on how long into the 'cleaning cycle' it is.

    humans in overcrowded slums historically got pretty sick quite often too (black death, anyone?)...

    we raise our pigs (1 per year) for 10 months until they are about 200-250 lbs, that gives us anywhere from 120-150 lbs of 'cuts' along with some salvageable edible organs (heart, liver, skin - we don't butcher the barrows ourselves, the guy we get the runt from does it) IMHO raise & butcher a barrow (castrated male) or a gilt (pre-estrous young female) as opposed to a boar or an in-heat sow; the meat tastes better, of course if all you have are the latter then geld the boar and allow the wound to heal and/or wait for the sow to go out of heat before slaughtering if you can

    hungry now... :gaah:
  13. 1969cj-5

    1969cj-5 Member


    We have 3 ready for buthcer. Since I am currently deployed my Wife arranged with the Amish Family down the road to trade 1 of the gilts for 300 dollars in produce and butchering of one gilt for us. Still have one Barrow to find a home for. We are also having our fourth Gilt bred to a Boar down the road so we do not need to search for feeder pigs next spring.
  14. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    I trade mechanical work on his equipment

    :congrat: to you, good job!

    I usually get a 'runt' barrow and feed him restaurant 'scraps' (mostly french fries), ice cream, dog food, beer, etc etc you get the picture -- like Kurobuta pork without the massages ;)

    KBA Kurobuta Bone-In Pork Chop

    :eek: at THOSE prices, I just might start massages! :rolleyes: ;)
  15. whome

    whome Well-Known Member

    I think it boils down to (no pun intended) to your situation. How much land do you have, how much time do you have, is it SHTF time and are you bugging out. etc. There is no "easy" way to answer this question, you would have to raise all of the above mentioned livestock to decide what you are willing to do to have fresh meat. It is all do-able, if you WANT it to be.
    We just sent four hogs to the butcher. Two were for other people, two were for us. I'll keep one in the freezer and I will can the other one up. I even render the lard and can it. Nothing makes a better biscuit or pie crust than lard. We used to butcher our hogs ourselves when we had a place to do it. We will be getting back to that in the future. Hogs are the most meat for the carcass. They aren't that hard to take care of, and yes, you can raise them without antibiotics. Sure, you might lose one sometimes, but that's just the roll of the dice, so to speak. I also keep chickens. They are really easy and a good way to start with livestock. In the past I have also kept steers, goats, sheep, a milk cow, and horses. Keeping livestock is a calling and a livestyle if you ask me, not everyone is cut out for it. Only you can make that call. Start out small and don't take on more than one or two livestock challanges a year, be prepared for weird things to happen, because if you keep livestock, it will. Just remember that old adage: never invest more in livestock than you can afford to lose.
    Sorry got off track:D
    Sheep vs Steers.
    Okay, I tried to answer this and my reply was looking like a book. I deleted that and I have decided that question is like comparing apples to oranges. Go back to the part where I told you that you have to find the answer from your own experience. Good luck.
  16. lickit

    lickit ExCommunicated

    goats and sheep tear up grass by its roots, ruining

    the pasturage. Cattle and horses shear it off above the ground. Hogs trample and wallow and generally ruin an area, unless they have LOT of room to roam around in. Texas and other states are shooting hogs like vermin, leaving the bodies to rot. Rabbits require care that dogs, etc, don't overturn their cages and kill them. Goats usually have more than one kid, cows rarely have more than one calf. While a sow might have a dozen piglets or more, she usually can't feed more than 8 or so with her milk. So the runts die at an early age, or you have to hand feed them and protect them from the other pigs.
  17. whome

    whome Well-Known Member

    All livestock have pros and cons. Every person has to decide what will work for them. To me, having livestock is worth the work and effort because even though I love vegetables, I like me some bbq too! :D
  18. lickit

    lickit ExCommunicated

    hogs require good fences, they root their way under them.

    and they can "go feral" in short order if you don't corral them again quickly. If you are thinking shtf prep, forget the cattle, way too big-visible-desirable for looters, too incapable of living on their own. Sheep are helpless, a small pack of little dogs will run them until the sheep just lie down and die. I aint kidding, ask any vet.
  19. kejmack

    kejmack Texas!!!

    I know Lickit seems to think he is an expert on everything but "a small pack of little dogs" will not run your sheep to death. I was farm raised and farmed for 25 years.

    In Virginia I raised purebred Shetland sheep. I kept a large flock (80-100 sheep). Shetlands are a "primitive" breed meaning they have not been improved by man. They are excellent mothers, twins are common, they lamb easily. The meat is excellent and you have the fleece. My Shetland ewes beat the living daylights out of my German Shepherd one time when he got too close to the lambs. (Embarrassing I know.) Shetland sheep are foragers, not grazers. They have a good feed/meat ratio.

    Pigs are simple to keep except they are hard of fencing--a simple electric wire at snout height will keep them off the fence. If you have a dairy cow, you can feed the extra milk to the pig. We pastured our pigs and they did not go feral. We fed them inside the catch pen so they were easy to catch when we needed to. Pigs can be kept in places that cows can not.

    Cows require lots of space and lot of husbandry. They require the most feed for the least return on meat ratio.

    If I could raise only one kind of livestock, it would be in order of preference 1) pigs 2) sheep or goats 3) a cow.
  20. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    most farms I've worked have a few pigs that spend most of the day 'reprocessing' the cows' manure... :eek: and eating 'slops'

    I know that grosses many people out, but hey, you aint kissing em' :D