Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Well as this is our first year of milking I would like to hear from those of you who have been milking for many years as to the best way to dry does up. I know it is best to give the doe at least 2 month dry before having next set of kids but is there any reason other than milk production not to dry them up before bred or shortly afterwards? What are some of the ways each of you dry your does off? Is there something I should watch for to know the does are wanting to dry up?
Thanks in advance I can not wait to read all the responses.
Dianea

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We usually keep milking until it's not worth our time to put them on the milkstand because the amount of milk they're giving is less than a cup. If they're giving a cup or less twice a day, then we drop them back to once a day, they'll usually take a couple days to adjust and then be giving us a cup for that milking. If they're only giving a cup a day, you can just stop without giving it much thought. Their body doesn't have any trouble reabsorbing that small amount of milk. If their udder still looks kind of full after a week, we'll milk them one last time, and that usually finishes them off.

It's kind of interesting that does seem to just dry up on their own when they're about three months pregnant. Suddenly their supply just plummets, so we don't have to think about it much. I think their body realizes that their babies are the new priority.

I don't have much experience drying off a heavy milker, so perhaps someone else can comment on that. We always want as much milk as we can get! :)
WE have first freshner who gives between 1 quart to 1.5 quart each milking she was really who I was thinking of. WE have a couple of older does who have never milked before and they do ok but I just don't know much what I read and what I glean from web sorces and our mentors who answer tireless questions.

Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:
We usually keep milking until it's not worth our time to put them on the milkstand because the amount of milk they're giving is less than a cup. If they're giving a cup or less twice a day, then we drop them back to once a day, they'll usually take a couple days to adjust and then be giving us a cup for that milking. If they're only giving a cup a day, you can just stop without giving it much thought. Their body doesn't have any trouble reabsorbing that small amount of milk. If their udder still looks kind of full after a week, we'll milk them one last time, and that usually finishes them off.

It's kind of interesting that does seem to just dry up on their own when they're about three months pregnant. Suddenly their supply just plummets, so we don't have to think about it much. I think their body realizes that their babies are the new priority.

I don't have much experience drying off a heavy milker, so perhaps someone else can comment on that. We always want as much milk as we can get! :)
Hi Dianea, we milk from Jan. thru September. We dry our girls off after their last show in Sept. I don't know if you grain your goats, some people do some don't, we do. It takes us about 2 weeks to dry them off. We cut out their grain and alfalfa hay. They are put on grass hay and the milk production is tapered off. When the milk producton is 1/2 of what it was we milk once a day for a few days then every other day for a few days then we stop. It takes about 2 weeks for us to dry them off compleatly. This year it took us a little over 2 weeks but I think it was because we had a very unusual Summer. It was cooler and wet. We normaly have a hard time keeping the girls in milk through July and August but this year they maintained their milk production through September and it took us a little longer to dry them off. Hope this helped. Vicki
yep we grain and use alfalfa too. I have been cutting grain down to drop weight but have not seen milk go down much. Wold this be a good time to start drying them up? Or should we keep going we plan to breed next month for MArch babies. You know AGS Nationals are in Missouri next June so trying to plan for that. I just don't want to over stress the girls but... with the boys in school and me working 12 hour shifts it is hard to get milking done. Thanks for your advice I think I will try on one of 1st freshners she only giving small amt. We have kids in with the milking does will cutting grain hurt them?
If your kids are eating grain you will want to keep them on grain for growth. Our kids are not with our milkers they are in different pens, we bottle feed the kids and milk the milkers so the two never are together. In your situation I would pull your milkers and not grain them but continue graining your kids. Are the kids weaned or are they still nursing?

Dianea Fay said:
yep we grain and use alfalfa too. I have been cutting grain down to drop weight but have not seen milk go down much. Wold this be a good time to start drying them up? Or should we keep going we plan to breed next month for MArch babies. You know AGS Nationals are in Missouri next June so trying to plan for that. I just don't want to over stress the girls but... with the boys in school and me working 12 hour shifts it is hard to get milking done. Thanks for your advice I think I will try on one of 1st freshners she only giving small amt. We have kids in with the milking does will cutting grain hurt them?
The triplets born in AUgust still nursing of course and I have a set of does theat are part of triplets that still nurse and they really should not. One weighs 55lbs and born in April. Yes she is fat but so cute. Her sister is not so heavy.You do not know how much help you are giving me and the warm feelings I am getting from this help. Thanks so so much.
I have my oldest reading these so he will help with making pen for kids.
I certainly understand about not having as much time to milk. We're going through that ourselves as my oldest has left for college, and my other daughter is gone to the junior college every day from 8 a.m. to about 10 p.m. We switched to milking once a day about a month ago, because she is now the main milker. Of course, we aren't getting as much milk, but we're happy with whatever we get. At this stage in their lactation (6-8 months), they don't seem to mind once a day milking. We are starting to sell the summer kids though, and I'm not sure if I want to switch those does to only once a day when their kids are gone because they're only 2-4 months fresh. It sounds like most of your does are pretty fresh, but switching to once a day milking might be an option.
Deborah

Dianea Fay said:
yep we grain and use alfalfa too. I have been cutting grain down to drop weight but have not seen milk go down much. Wold this be a good time to start drying them up? Or should we keep going we plan to breed next month for MArch babies. You know AGS Nationals are in Missouri next June so trying to plan for that. I just don't want to over stress the girls but... with the boys in school and me working 12 hour shifts it is hard to get milking done. Thanks for your advice I think I will try on one of 1st freshners she only giving small amt. We have kids in with the milking does will cutting grain hurt them?
I have does that freshened in March and April, May and JUne in addition to the August freshner. I amcurrently milking all but the August girl. Even thou the some are still milking kids even thos they should not be. We need another pen for the kids. I might saggest to the boys once a day milking but I am not sure a couple of them will tolerate once a day milking. I have one I would like to dry up as she does not like milking as she is older and this is the first time she has been milked and it take 2 and a lot of patience and the boys do not have.

Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:
I certainly understand about not having as much time to milk. We're going through that ourselves as my oldest has left for college, and my other daughter is gone to the junior college every day from 8 a.m. to about 10 p.m. We switched to milking once a day about a month ago, because she is now the main milker. Of course, we aren't getting as much milk, but we're happy with whatever we get. At this stage in their lactation (6-8 months), they don't seem to mind once a day milking. We are starting to sell the summer kids though, and I'm not sure if I want to switch those does to only once a day when their kids are gone because they're only 2-4 months fresh. It sounds like most of your does are pretty fresh, but switching to once a day milking might be an option.
Deborah

Dianea Fay said:
yep we grain and use alfalfa too. I have been cutting grain down to drop weight but have not seen milk go down much. Wold this be a good time to start drying them up? Or should we keep going we plan to breed next month for MArch babies. You know AGS Nationals are in Missouri next June so trying to plan for that. I just don't want to over stress the girls but... with the boys in school and me working 12 hour shifts it is hard to get milking done. Thanks for your advice I think I will try on one of 1st freshners she only giving small amt. We have kids in with the milking does will cutting grain hurt them?

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