Which Is More Profitable: Goats or Sheep?

Goats and Sheep for Profit

When you are trying to determine whether sheep or goats are more profitable to own, you need to consider a number of factors. For example, different kinds of goats produce different products, whether it is meat, milk, or something else. The same goes for sheep. Take a look at the following factors that help to determine which will be more profitable in different circumstances.

Maturity and Reproduction

Goats win this category hands-down. Goats produce more offspring than sheep. They generally have two babies from each pregnancy and they can have two pregnancies a year. Sheep generally have one or two babies a year.

In addition, goats mature more quickly than sheep. It takes approximately 300 days for the average goat to mature whereas sheep take around 390 days. This means that the goat herds will grow at a higher rate and have a shorter time to get to market. From this perspective, goats are more profitable.

Market Price

Sheep meat does sell for a higher price than goat meat but not by much. A kid goat sells for approximately $250 per 100 pounds whereas a lamb sells for around $275 per 100 pounds. Adults are close to the same price for goats and sheep. However, because goats have more babies, the annual price is going to be greater than for sheep. This category goes to the goats as well.

Feeding

Both sheep and goats will eat your weeds (along with just about anything else they can find). Sheep have greater need of supplements than goats. Goats do have more sensitive stomachs and they can become ill and die quickly if they ingest the wrong food. They also require greater quantities of medicine when it is needed because of the way their digestive system works. This category is even as sheep require extra supplements and goats can cost more for medication.

Milk Production

The goats have this category hands-down. Goats lactate on average for 300 days while sheep lactate for 240 days. In addition, goats produce around a gallon of milk per day and sheep only produce half that. Goats will produce more than double the milk of sheep.

Sheep Wool Versus Goat Hair

Sheep need to be sheared once a year and goats do not. Goat hair is used to make cashmere and sheep wool is used for fleece. This category gives an edge to goats because the added maintenance of shearing is never required.

Predators and Keeping

As far as predators are concerned, both sheep and goats are hugely at risk. You need to make sure that you have predator-proof fencing and, if you have them living out in a huge pasture, you need a guard dog or other guard animal as well. If you don’t protect these animals from predators, they will disappear.

When it comes to keeping and confining them, sheep have the advantage. Goats don’t like to stay out when the weather is bad so you will need a place for them to come in. Goats are also known for their ability to escape and they will find any possible exit route and take it. You will need to keep a close eye on your goats to keep them in. Sheep are definitely easier and require less work.

Your Time

Sheep will take up more of your time. You need to help them during birthing, which can be very intense. In addition, they need to be sheared once a year. If you can’t do it yourself, you will have to hire help, which will cut into any profits. Goats need to be dewormed two or three times a year but the intensity is not even close to sheep. Both sheep and goats will need their hooves trimmed every six to ten weeks. The bottom line is that sheep take more time than goats.

What Are Your Goals?

Different people have different goals and different levels of profitability that they are looking to achieve. Are you thinking that you will buy a few sheep or goats to start out? Do you want to jump right into a full-blown sheep farm? Which animal do you prefer? All of these questions are equally as important as determining which animal is more profitable.

The bulk of the data shows that in a general sense, goats are more profitable. If nothing else, the fact that they produce more babies and mature more quickly makes it so. However, you need to examine your situation and determine which of these similar yet different creatures is right for you.

For example, sheep graze while goats are browsers. This means that sheep will eat grass and they will not eat areas where they defecate. Goats, on the other hand, like to browse and eat with their heads up. They will eat anything they find, especially shrubs and branches of bushes and trees, and they will eat a lot.

Both need protection from predators. In addition, goats will want to have shelter in case of bad weather. Sheep will continue to graze without batting an eye when it rains but goats will come running for shelter and they are noisy too.

You need to consider what your goals are to truly answer this question and since you will be working with these animals 365 days of the year (they don’t give you a day off!), you should enjoy whichever one you choose. If you don’t have time to dedicate to sheep during the birthing season and shearing, you might be better off with goat.

Finally, you need to look at the size of your land. If you have limited space, you should start with fewer animals. You don’t want to overgraze your land. It is bad for the land and the animals.

The Verdict

The verdict says that goats are more profitable than sheep in almost every way but the difference is not significant unless you are dealing in very large numbers. In addition to profitability, you need to consider your personal preference of animal, how much space you have, what you want to accomplish, how you can protect the animals from predators, and how much time you plan to devote to them.