for people who love the littlest dairy goats
In November I purchased a new doe as I decided I want to improve my herd. She is 4 years old, and has freshened twice before coming to me. She was already bred when I bought her. She comes from wonderful lines, and milk scores on both Dam and Sire's sides are great for many generations back. She kidded with 2 lovely doelings and 1 handsome buckling who are now 7 weeks old, she is a fabulous mother and has the sweetest personality. Last week I started milking her once a day, volume is great.....but i really don't care for her milk. It is not barn-yardy or off, or awful - it is just really blah and tasteless, in fact I'd rather drink cow's milk! It is certainly not the sweet wonderful rich creamy ND milk that my other does have given me in the past. So I am trying to figure out what's going on. With the milk tasting like this my expectations for cheese are low. I know some times milk can taste funny early in the lactation cycle but she is in week 7 so shouldn't she be past that? Spring has just begun here so there isn't any browse for pasture rotation yet, so she feeds on hay, sweet grain and BOSS in the milk stand, a cafe of minerals, some spent brewers grain and veggie scraps - which is what i have been feeding all my does for several years. Is this just a phase, or do some does have sweeter milk than others? Or am I stuck with this as the quality of her milk always? Her milk also seems pretty thin and watery although I have not had it tested for %fat. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
Right now I am giving her 2 handfuls of BOSS which I think is somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 cup (I need to measure it) with some sweet grain when I milk her in the mornings. Should I be giving her more than this? She shows no signs of mineral deficiencies, she is a super healthy goat. The breed had her on a nice mix of minerals as well. She has no fertility problems, coat is shiny and thick, no fishtail, kidding 3 goats was easy and she is feeding them well. I sent a fecal sample out for analysis and there were no eggs or parasites. She is healthier than any of my other goats! I just don't get it.
I wish I had some magic for you. :) Sounds frustrating. Sounds like maybe she just makes more volume with less of all the good stuff in it. From my experience, as lactations go on, the milk becomes richer. I hope that happens with your doe, and after a couple of months it becomes the stuff you're looking for. :) And may she have a nice long lactation to make up for it.
Statistically speaking, if you look at lactation averages, does' butterfat is at its lowest around 6-8 weeks. I've never actually drank milk from does at that point because they're nursing babies here. We do milk does with single kids then, but that milk is being added to everyone else's. The butterfat curve is the exact opposite of the production curve -- so as production decreases, butterfat increases.
Deborah, that makes sense. Butterfat scales with volume: goats have more butterfat than cows, and within the goat family our littlest dairy goats have the highest average butterfat. So I can see that as her volume decreases in her lactation cycle, the bufferfat goes up. Some of this is probably due to her body adapting to what it is producing when, but I think volume may have an affect.
My day job is as an applications scientist for an instrument company that makes instruments that measure material properties, my role focus' on measuring particle size of dispersions. I happen to be developing dairy measurements. I hope noone rolls their eyes at my nerdyness...but I decided to measured the particle size of my new doe Daly's butterfat as well as the casein miscelles since I am analyzing raw cow's milk from the dairy next door that has Jersey cows, as well as store bought non homogenized, homogenized, whole, skim....). Anyway, last year I measured the milk from my old doe, it was late in her lactation cycle. So now I compared my new doe's milk analysis to last year's measurement of my old goat and there was a huge difference. While my new goat may have low butterfat, the fat droplets are huge! I am suspecting this will change as the lactation cycle goes along, so I plan to do a weekly measurement - just for fun. In case anyone is interested I attempted a file upload. If you can view it, red is my new doe Daly at week 6 of lactation, blue is last's year's old goat at the end of her lactation and green is the jersey cow. Maybe I will be able to correlate the taste of her milk with the changing butterfat content.
Wow! This is super cool! I hope you'll continue to share. I'd love to see how it changes over time!