Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Could all you veterans explain to me how you decide when to dry off your does and how to do it so you avoid problems with mastitis or infections?

 

I know it is early for this but I just wanted to be prepared before time snuck up on me.

 

Views: 1163

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

We keep milking them as long as they keep producing. I drop them to once a day when production falls below a pound a milking (two cups). Some will keep giving two pounds at the one milking (their 24-hour total on twice a day), but if they're ready to dry up, they'll drop to a pound for that single milking after a few days. Once they get down to a cup for that milking, you can stop milking them at any time, and it's not a big deal. Their udder doesn't really fill up again. This usually happens when they are 2-3 months pregnant.

Ah, Deborah, you just brought up something I had been meaning to ask about...my doe is not producing much but I thought I needed to milk her twice a day.  But we are getting 1/2 cup or less per milking.  

 

I could just milk her 1x a day instead?  It has seemed like a lot of fuss for very little milk with all the udder washing and bottle washing etc.

Yes, if her production is that low, there is usually no problem with milking once a day. However, if she's only giving 1/2 cup a milking, she will probably drop to only 1/2 cup at the single milking. Are you absolutely sure you're getting everything?
No I am not sure I'm getting everything.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm not lol.  But after a certain point, I can only get a squirt or two, then nothing..then I readjust pressure on the upper part of the udder and I can get a squirt or two more.  After awhile it seems to just be driblets and not worth it so I quit.  But we know how good my technique was to begin with lol!

Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:
Yes, if her production is that low, there is usually no problem with milking once a day. However, if she's only giving 1/2 cup a milking, she will probably drop to only 1/2 cup at the single milking. Are you absolutely sure you're getting everything?

Juliana...are you massaging her udder? My breeder was shocked at how little milk I was getting from my doe and she asked me if I was milking until I couldn't get any more and then bumping or massaging her udder and then milking both sides again. It really does make a difference. I get about another 1/2 cup out of her sometimes when I do that.

 

I'm up to 1 quart a day from her and I know she can produce almost 2 a day but with my learning curve it caused her production to drop some. I have been able to increase it slightly just from massaging her udder and making sure I have completely gotten everything. I also tend to get more at the evening milking than the morning milking but I don't know why that would be.  I'm getting around 10-16 oz per milking and I milk twice a day.

 

So Deborah, if I wanted to try to breed her in November when should I start trying to dry her off or would you just keep milking her out until her production drops and then breed her later? I have another doe that I want to breed in Oct/Nov as well but I have never done it before so I'm nervous to get the timing right.  It isn't a big deal if they are preggers at the same time as long as I have at least one in milk I'm good.

You can continue milking until they are three months pregnant. Perhaps you missed my first response in this thread:

We keep milking them as long as they keep producing. I drop them to once a day when production falls below a pound a milking (two cups). Some will keep giving two pounds at the one milking (their 24-hour total on twice a day), but if they're ready to dry up, they'll drop to a pound for that single milking after a few days. Once they get down to a cup for that milking, you can stop milking them at any time, and it's not a big deal. Their udder doesn't really fill up again. This usually happens when they are 2-3 months pregnant.

Do you know if she's getting enough to drink at night? Sometimes when I let the milkers in they'll drain their water bucket within an hour, leaving them nothing to drink overnight if it isn't refilled. This becomes more of a problem during the summer when it is hot, or if they are on dry hay/alfalfa. Once I actually forgot to give the milkers their water -- for 3 of them there wasn't much drop in production the next morning, but two dropped by about 1/2 pound. (Luckily they had been given freshly cut grass to eat overnight, rather than dry hay.)

Lori Adams said:
I also tend to get more at the evening milking than the morning milking but I don't know why that would be.  I'm getting around 10-16 oz per milking and I milk twice a day.

Margeret- I don't think the water is a problem, I have been refilling their water bowls twice a day, our temps here have been awful.  They usually have some left in the morning when I let them out of the barn. This morning she was a little better but my husband got a crash course in milking last night LOL I figured it was high time he learned how to milk her. He did pretty well considering his hands are big and her teats are small :)

 

I finished her out and we got about 1/2 a quart from her. He got a lot of milk on his hands though and squirted across the room some too LOL so we probably got a little more than that.

 

Deborah- The only problem with milking her through her pregnancy is that when I take her to the breeder I will probably leave her for a couple of days to make sure she is with the buck multiple times. She usually puts them in a breeding pen and brings the buck to her and will keep them together at least overnight. So she would have to milk her for me. I didn't think you could milk them while pregnant....I figured that would be too much stress on them to produce milk and grow babies at the same time. Hmmmm.

Once the bucks breeds her three or four times -- which will take about 20 minutes -- there is nothing to be gained from leaving her with the buck. I did three driveway breedings last year, and all of them took. If you have a wether, and the doe stands for him, she is in standing heat and should get pregnant.

Cows in dairies spend their whole lives pregnant and in milk, as they are pregnant nine months of every year.


Lori Adams said:

Margeret- I don't think the water is a problem, I have been refilling their water bowls twice a day, our temps here have been awful.  They usually have some left in the morning when I let them out of the barn. This morning she was a little better but my husband got a crash course in milking last night LOL I figured it was high time he learned how to milk her. He did pretty well considering his hands are big and her teats are small :)

 

I finished her out and we got about 1/2 a quart from her. He got a lot of milk on his hands though and squirted across the room some too LOL so we probably got a little more than that.

 

Deborah- The only problem with milking her through her pregnancy is that when I take her to the breeder I will probably leave her for a couple of days to make sure she is with the buck multiple times. She usually puts them in a breeding pen and brings the buck to her and will keep them together at least overnight. So she would have to milk her for me. I didn't think you could milk them while pregnant....I figured that would be too much stress on them to produce milk and grow babies at the same time. Hmmmm.

I was in a big rush when I responded earlier, but I generally let my bucks breed the doe 4-5 times, and then I pull the doe out. They are only in heat for about 12-24 hours, so there is no benefit to leaving them together for a couple days. If she's not in heat, she won't stand for him -- and if you thought she was in heat, then you're probably too late and leaving her with him won't do you any good because she's not in heat any longer. Hope that makes sense. Leaving her in there longer will just make her stinky and mad because he'll keep trying, and the poor girl will be quite upset, running around screaming like, "Will someone PLEASE get me out of here!!!"

 

The standard lactation for dairy animals is 10 months, and they are bred every 12 months, meaning that they are dried off two months before they kid. For cows, that means they are pregnant AND milking for seven months out of every year, and goats are pregnant AND milking for three months out of every year. Late lactation is really not stressful on goats. In fact, if you don't re-breed, and you just continue to milk, the does tend to get a bit chunky. I had one that I milked for 16 months, and she got more overweight than any doe I've ever had. I would definitely NOT recommend breeding a doe two or three months after she kids and continuing to milk -- actually I would not recommend breeding a doe two or three months after she kids, period. But the standard one-year lactation works very well.

I thought these Nigerians could come into heat just being around a buck.  Now I'm confused.  My goat is lactating even though she;s never even seen a male goat.  If I decide to breed her, how do I know when to do it?
Your goat is a precocious milker, meaning she is lactating without having been pregnant. It's not exactly normal, but it's not anything to freak about either. All goats, regardless of breed, come into heat every 21 days +/- a day or two. The only thing different about Nigerians is that unlike standard size goats, some will cycle year-round rather than only in fall/winter. Signs of heat include flagging (tail wagging), mounting other does, being unusually aggressive or affectionate with other goats. If you have other goats, especially a wether, they may be mounting the doe in heat, and you'll know she is in "standing heat" if she stands there. Some does get very vocal and scream their head off, although some are quiet when in heat, so that's not the most reliable indicator. They are only in heat for a few hours up to a day, so you don't have a lot of time to get her bred if you don't own a buck.

Roz North said:
I thought these Nigerians could come into heat just being around a buck.  Now I'm confused.  My goat is lactating even though she;s never even seen a male goat.  If I decide to breed her, how do I know when to do it?

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Books written by Deborah Niemann

Order this book on Kindle!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Need goat equipment?

Yogurt Maker

2-quart milk pail


Mineral feeder (put minerals in one side and baking soda in the other!)

© 2020   Created by Deborah Niemann-Boehle.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service