Originally Posted by Bettacreek
Would goats or sheep be a better option? I milk the Shetland sheep without issue. Small (about up to my knee), eat your lawn (untreated, of course), hay and mineral and are pretty easy keepers. Plus you get wool
I've also been considering dairy goats or sheep. Goats seem to be the best fit as we have about 3/4 - 1 acre that's mainly brush and weeds, plus the 1 acre of weed & grass pasture. But so far I haven't liked the 2 types of goat milk I've tried (pure Nigerian & pure Nubian), but still seeing about trying other breeds milk (mainly Saanen, Toggenburg, & Boer or Boer cross) So far I haven't found anyone with these breeds to try the milk raw and not mixed with other breeds milk, but still looking as this seems to be the best option as I can't afford to buy/rent more land plus fence it, etc.
I've also looked into dairy sheep since I've heard it tastes similar to cow milk since they also graze, but that it's sweeter and that it makes amazing cheeses. But my family doesn't seem too keen on sheep and I have no idea what the local market is for selling dairy lambs since the closest I can find any is New York. I've also heard that the feed conversion rate to milk is only good if it's a dairy sheep breed, and that even dairy sheep breeds only give about 3/4 - 1 gallon per day and that they don't let down easy (sometimes not at all and they just dry off after their lamb is sold/weaned) and that they have a short lactation.
Since my family drinks/uses a lot of dairy it makes more sense to get an animal that milks out more per milking rather than having to spend more time on cleaning/ sterilizing, milking and carrying for a small herd of goats or a mid size herd of sheep.
We're thinking on either a small standard Jersey (800-950#) and just feed more alfalfa hay (we'd probably still save money considering how high milk prices are) or a mini Jersey or mini Holstein cow. The only problem is finding a breeder that doesn't charge an arm and a leg for a mini just because it's a mini or even just finding a breeder that's close enough.