When I first bought the farm in 2005, I thought cattle would be too difficult to raise, being a 5 hour drive from the farm. I had met with an attorney from Morgantown, WV who raises cattle nearby, and he told me it would be impossible without having an employee on site. Based on his advice, I elected to be a bee keeper. I raised honeybees for about 5 years. I finally gave up after my hives did not survive the winter of 2009-2010. I sold a lot of honey and made a profit from my bees. Nevertheless, I found raising honey bees to be difficult. From the inevitable stings to the arduous process of extracting honey, I found it to be not suited to my personality. The final straw was when a bear got into my empty hives and made a huge mess of my bee yard.
After honey bees, I thought I would try breeding goats for meat production. There are many advantages to raising goats: they are amusing, they don't eat a lot, they are gentle, and the keep the weeds out of the pasture. On the other hand, goats have many disadvantages. If there is something they can get their head stuck into they will: openings in fence, feeders, tree branches, many things you will never think of until it happens. On more than one occasion I have shown at the farm to be faced with a dead or dying goat that got it's head stuck somewhere and it could not move or get out. Another problem is they love to eat all of the bark of of a tree and kill it. I have researched the problem and found that goats will eat the bark off of trees even when they have plenty else to eat. Goats like deer are natural browsers, preferring to eat leaves, twigs, vines, and shrubs. They are very agile and will stand on their hind legs to reach vegetation. Cattle are grazers, preferring to eat short tender grasses and clover.
Though I still have and love the goats, I have found raising cattle to be easier.
Andrew Stickler & Mitchell C. Stickler: the goal of this website is to assist those who are considering raising livestock for the first time.