for people who love the littlest dairy goats
I just got milk test results back form my new doe. She has freshened 3 times. She is in week 12 of her lactation cycle. The test gave a result of 2.4%! That seems shockingly low for a ND. What could cause this? And is there anything I can do to boost it? Before coming to my farm her milk test results were 5.5% when she freshened last year. She is recovering from pneumonia that she had in the winter.
I did a little research and it looks like there is a good possibility that she has rumen issues, Sub Acute Ruminal Acidosis (SARA) may be causing her extreme low %BF. If anyone has had this issue, please let me know. What may have happened is that the pneumonia she had in the winter followed by kidding triplets in March left her extremely skinny. I tried to improve her body conditioning by giving her a lot of grain. It is possible I overcompensated.....and now I have another problem. But hopefully this is easier to fix. I immediately cut way back on her grain, and I will test her again in a few weeks. But if anyone has any experience with this and has any suggestions, please let me know.
Butterfat is at its lowest when production is at its highest, so what you're seeing is probably the lowest butterfat of her whole lactation. Butterfat and production have an inverse relationship. Still 2.4 is low for a ND.
The reason people feed black oil sunflower seeds (BOSS) is because it's supposed to increase butterfat. Years ago we ran out one time, and my husband made cheese and was complaining that the yield was lower than usual. I said, "Hmm. I guess it's true that sunflower seeds increase butterfat." He asked me to explain, and that night when I went to milk, there were sunflower seeds in the milking parlor. :) I know this is not super scientific, but I usually just give each doe a handful on top of her grain. That's probably not even 1/4 cup.
I have been giving her BOSS along with the grain in the milk stand, so the 2.4% is despite the BOSS. Now I have cut way back on her grain. I will get her tested again in about a month to see if there has been any improvement just by decreasing the grain. If there is no change then maybe it is something else and it is back to the research.... It is very frustrating. One of the main reasons that I love NDs is the wonderful high butterfat.