Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

I am looking into purchasing a ND doe and I am primarily interested in milk production capabilities and this would be the foundational doe for my herd. I want to know how much milk is considered a good amount for a ND? I know there are a lot of variables but just want to know what is considered the norm and what is exceptional and what should I expect. The doe I am looking at is currently in milk btw.

Thanks.
Theresa

Views: 3285

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Are you looking at official milk records or barn records? Age of the doe and stage of lactation are important when looking at barn records. Although a quart a day is often thrown around as the "average," it would be outstanding for a yearling but pathetic for a four year old. And a doe can easily produce 2X as much at six weeks as she can at six months. How old is the doe? When did she freshen? How much is she producing in 24 hours?
Oh wow.  So there really is no average?  I've been wondering that myself.  My 2nd freshener is giving me about 2 cups in the morning, but I'm sure a better milker could get more from her.  Her udder is pretty big.  But my ff is giving me about 2 cups morning and night.  My 2nd f is nursing 3 kids, and my ff isn't nursing any.  Either way, I'm fairly happy about what I'm getting.  The first time we milked, we never got more than a cup.  

Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:
Are you looking at official milk records or barn records? Age of the doe and stage of lactation are important when looking at barn records. Although a quart a day is often thrown around as the "average," it would be outstanding for a yearling but pathetic for a four year old. And a doe can easily produce 2X as much at six weeks as she can at six months. How old is the doe? When did she freshen? How much is she producing in 24 hours?

As an example -- this is Anne when she was 4 years, 0 months at freshening. (She got chosen because her name is first on my milk report, which is alphabetical.)

34 days -- 4.4#

64 days -- 3.6#

101 days -- 2.0#

130 days -- 2.0#

159 days -- 1.9#

191 days -- 1.8#

225 days -- 1.6#

261 days -- 1.0#

295 days -- 0.6#

Her complete lactation was 304 days, and she produced 632 pounds of milk, so she averaged a quart a day. And from 101 to 159 days, that's about what she was producing. But if she had been producing only a quart at 30 days, she probably would not have even sustained a lactation for six months. At around 6-7 weeks, the production peaks, so it will be decreasing from then to the end of the lactation.

This is a respectable lactation for a ND, and it is enough to earn a 305-day milk star in AGS. If a first freshener milked this much, that would be outstanding. A three to five year old is at the peak of her career, so if you don't see good production numbers at that age, you're not going to see them.

I have a Q about this... I know that pounds is the "correct" way to measure milk... but do you really WEIGH it? Just curious how you even go about that.

I think it is a matter of what you are willing to accept.  When I was looking for does, I only considered those who had dams who peaked at 3 1/2 pounds per day or more.  One of my yearlings had a 19" dam that gave 3# per day at peak in her first freshening (barn weight).  That is a great milker!

I found a great system that tells you how much your goat gives proportionate to her size and found it to be very helpful.  It's called NDPS and I have a page about it on my website.   For example, a 19" tall first freshener doe who gives 3# per day at peak would be equal to a 21.5" tall first freshener doe who gives about 3 3/4# per day at peak, assuming they were both a good weight and not over or underweight.

Another thing to keep in mind is that what you feed them as well as how many kids they have can affect milk production.  Do you want to have to feed them certain foods (grain, alfalfa, etc)  in order to get high milk yields?  or do you want high milk yield based on hay or grazing only?  These are all things to keep in mind when you are looking =)  If you look at smaller does that give 3# per day (at peak) or more, it will hopefully cost you less to feed them.  But if you have lots of hay available or fields to graze, then a larger doe may be what you are looking for.

One final thing to consider is the teats.  If a doe has a soft udder and large openings (orifices) and long teats, but only gives 3# per day at 3 years old, that is often more preferable than a doe with small orifices who is difficult to milk and give 4# or more per day... unless you are not milking by hand, then it wouldn't really matter.

Deborah, I didn't realize a quart a day was outstanding for a yearling.  That's good to know!

Deborah,
Thanks so much for the info. In answer to your questions, this is her first freshening. She freshened in Jan though I don't know exactly when in Jan. She is being milked once a day and giving 3cups.

Does that sound good?

You weigh it because it's more accurate than eyeballing it in a measuring cup. And if there's foam, that really messes things up. I have a digital scale in my kitchen that I use to weigh it on a daily basis as I am straining it. For milk test, there is a hanging dial scale in the barn that has to be checked for accuracy by the certifying agency, and it must weigh in tenths of a pound.

Rachel Whetzel said:
I have a Q about this... I know that pounds is the "correct" way to measure milk... but do you really WEIGH it? Just curious how you even go about that.
A quart a day average on a 305-day lactation would be outstanding for a yearling -- not a quart a day at six weeks. If a goat had twins and couldn't make more than a quart a day in the first couple months, they'd be skinny little things.

Kare at Chaverah Farm said:

Deborah, I didn't realize a quart a day was outstanding for a yearling.  That's good to know!

Kare,

What should I expect to pay for a doe that had a dam that peaked at 3 1/2 pounds a day? And would I have to get a kid? I have been looking on websites of ND farms around my area and there aren't a lot available. Could you please share your strategy. We don't have a lot of room and it will be a small herd and I want my foundational doe to be a good one but I am also trying to look out for the budget!

Theresa

Thanks!! That's what I thought. I have a good digi scale I can use for my own records. That's the main thing I want.


Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:

A quart a day average on a 305-day lactation would be outstanding for a yearling -- not a quart a day at six weeks. If a goat had twins and couldn't make more than a quart a day in the first couple months, they'd be skinny little things.

Kare at Chaverah Farm said:

Deborah, I didn't realize a quart a day was outstanding for a yearling.  That's good to know!

If she is not nursing kids during the day, and they are only milking her once a day, and she's giving three cups, she would probably be giving at least four cups if they were milking her twice a day, which is respectable for a first freshener. If she is nursing kids during the day, so this is only 12 hours of milk, that would be 6 cups in 24 hours, which would be great. They really should not have cut back to once a day at only three months unless she has kids on her. Her supply may or may not go back up if you start milking her twice a day.

Theresa B said:

Deborah,
Thanks so much for the info. In answer to your questions, this is her first freshening. She freshened in Jan though I don't know exactly when in Jan. She is being milked once a day and giving 3cups.

Does that sound good?

Prices can vary so much from each breeder.  I don't know as many breeders in your direction, so can't say for sure, but I would guess that somewhere in the $300 range for a doeling and maybe more for a proven doe.  Although sometimes you can get an older proven doe for a really good price.  Deborah would probably be a good person to talk to since she is closer to you.  I bought 4 of my goats from 8 hours away and will be getting 2 of them from 17 hours away.   This means I had to pay for shipping and extra testing to bring them in from another state, but it was worth it to me. The other one will be local and then I will be keeping one.  I hope I won't have to go that far for any more, but I wanted to have some new blood in our area so we can all buy from each other without worrying about inbreeding too much.

 

My strategy? =)  I do a LOT of research.  I always look at the pedigree and then look up the amount of milk for all the dams, granddams and great granddams to see if it is consistently high milk scores.  I look at the "type" of the goats.  I prefer the more refined look rather than the bulkier Nigerians.  I also look for herd names that I recognize, such as Buttin Heads in Ohio, Old Mountain Farm in Maine, Twin Creeks in Texas, Piddlin Acres in Texas, Rosasharn Farm in Massachussettes, Camanna in Oregon, Lost Valley Nigerians in Texas, Poppy Patch in Washington and people on this website which I won't name because I don't want to leave anyone out.  I'm sure there are more that I'm not aware of...

 

Are you only looking for milk or will you be showing too?  Are you hoping to sell kids?  These are also things to consider.  I know one person who researched for a year before she purchased any goats.  If resale or showing is important to you, then you will want registered goats with good conformation, which is a whole other education process =) 

 

I did just find an adult doe in Ohio at Buttin Heads, which is a reputable breeder.  You would want to ask how much milk she gives at peak, but she is a good price.  Here is the link http://www.buttinheads.com/NDs_for_sale.htm

 

I made a list of the top Nigerian milkers based on their NDPS, so if you would like to see it, I could email it to you.  Several of my goats are related to goats in the top 10 and I hope to get a buck that is very closely related.  If your does and/or their dams all give 3 1/2 to 4# per day at peak and then you get a buck who is the son of one of the top ten does, you should be all set.  You will have to pay for the buck ($500?) but it should pay you back in high milk as well as high kid sales prices.

 

I hope this helps! =)


Theresa B said:

Kare,

What should I expect to pay for a doe that had a dam that peaked at 3 1/2 pounds a day? And would I have to get a kid? I have been looking on websites of ND farms around my area and there aren't a lot available. Could you please share your strategy. We don't have a lot of room and it will be a small herd and I want my foundational doe to be a good one but I am also trying to look out for the budget!

Theresa

Reply to Discussion

RSS


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!)

© 2017   Created by Deborah Niemann-Boehle.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service