Buying and raising goats rather than cows provides a number of benefits. Goats are typically cheaper to purchase, use less land, eat less and require less experience to handle than cattle. In addition, goat farming does not impact the environment as negatively as cattle farming, and goat meat is healthier than beef, with fewer calories and less fat.
While goats have many advantages, they do also pose challenges. Goats are more prone to escaping their enclosures than cattle and sometimes require electric fencing to stay contained. Because goats are smaller than cows, they produce less meat per animal. Their smaller size also leaves them more vulnerable to predators, such as bobcats or coyotes. To protect goats from predators, it may be necessary to pen them in a secure area at night and to use guard animals such as dogs or llamas.
In addition to providing meat, goats can be milked and the milk used to make cheese. However, goat milk produces less cream than cow milk, and it is difficult to produce butter or cream from goat milk. As a result, goats are not ideal for replacing dairy cows.
Despite these challenges, as of 2015, the number of goats farmed in the United States continues to increase.