Getting any dairy animal is a very big commitment. But I believe they are a valuable part of your livestock preparedness. Even more importantly, I believe that goats are the best dairy animals for the survivalist.
My reasons to recommend goats over cows for a survival situation are as follows:
1. A dairy goat costs only about one fifth as much as a dairy cow.
2. Five goats can be fed one the same amount that it takes to feed one cow.
3. If your dairy cow dies, then you are out of luck. But the odds of losing all of your goats is small.
4.Goat browse rather than graze and can make use of a wider variety of forage.
5. Goats are easier to handle
6. Because of their smaller size, goats are less likely to cause serious injuries to humans or other livestock.
The downside is that it will take more time to milk five goats than one cow. You’ll have to get five animals in and out of the stanchion, Wash five udders, milk five does (female goats), strip five udders, etc. But I really believe that the benefits of having the insurance of multiple dairy animals far outweighs the extra effort.
The main drawback is that the cream does not separate in goats milk, so that you will not be able to skim the cream off. And therefore you will not be able to make butter. On the other hand, goat milk is much easier to digest, and many people who cannot drink cows milk can drink goats milk. And of course you can use goats milk to make yogurt, cream cheese, hard cheese, and ice cream, as well as use it in recipes just like you would cows milk.
As I mentioned earlier, dairy animals are a big commitment. This is because they are traditionally milked twice a day, at the same time every day. Perhaps your current schedule doesn’t allow for this. There are ways to get around this, yet still be prepared. You could for instance milk in the morning but let the kids nurse during the day. You could also have a small herd that you do not milk at all, but instead just let them raise offspring until your family NEEDS the milk. Or maybe have a small herd but don’t even breed them until TEOTWAWKI. (They will not produce milk if they do not give birth.).