Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Though my doe kidded before, this is my first time.  Around 10:30 last night, she gave birth to a sweet little doeling (I think).  Besides it being the same size as my cat who is not a large cat by any means, I am amazed at its talking - it sounds like a squeaky toy.<g>  Of course, Mom is talking her new baby continuously which is so different as I don't think I've heard herd bleat even a dozen times since I brought her home, both my girls have been quiet girls.  It is so very sweet the way Mom and Baby talk to each other - such sweet sounds.  Right now as I am typing, Baby is getting a real dinner, not just the short drink like earlier.  The photo is from about half an hour after birth; she is still wet.

I hope I did right; Mom was doing such a good job, I just let her take care of everything.  Now I am waiting to see if there is a second baby coming or if this is a single birth.  She had triplets last year, her first litter.  Sometimes it looks like a baby is moving around but she is talking all the time so it's difficult to know if that is just muscle movement.

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Now the question is, how soon should I start trying to milk Mom?  I had read two to three weeks but that was with kids as in plural.  Since there is only one, should I start sooner?  Though this is her second litter (if one can be called a litter) but first time as, hopefully, a milker.  This will be first for both of us  though I milked the cow when I was in high school, suspect it is not at all the same. <g>

As an aside, today I stopped at Goodwill and found the cutest little stainless steel buckets, four of them, which hold 3-1/2 cups liquid. I told my son they were Nigerian Dwarf milking buckets. <g>  For a moment, he looked like he believed me, like there would be special little buckets for our does.

So, when should I start - at one week or wait until three.  She does not seem to be in any discomfort from a full udder.

Congratulations! And if you want milk, start today! We had two good producers wind up with single this year, and we started the day the kids were born. When they were a few hours old, we put mom on the milk stand and milked her out, and put the colostrum in the freezer in three ounce quantities. The first week, we left them with the kid and put them on the milk stand twice a day for milking. After that, we'd either separate overnight or sometimes milk twice a day. We were experimenting to see if one protocol gave more milk than the other, and we didn't see a big difference. It's pretty much been that we get 2 pounds in one milking (separating overnight) or 1 pound in two milkings (kid left with mom).

Today, in fact about right now, Ginger is two months old. :-)

We weighed this evening, she weighs 19.6 pounds which I think is very good; she was four pounds at birth.  It's difficult to believe she is only two months old the way she cavorts around - she is certainly a solid little bundle of energy!

Her birthday gift today is new shelter/plaything in their "extra" pen, a simple a-frame with cleats to climb on. It is positioned between two apple trees so they will be able to reach more leaves until they eat them all.  Today, all three of them were playing more than usual in that pen, even mom. I think they like the grass under their feet, more today than usual; maybe it had something to do with our severe thunder and lightening storm last evening.  Their main pen is hay on dirt so they only feel the hay there.  They will soon have a 20-foot extension to their main pen which will be all grass which I know they will love and will give them room for a long run all the time as well.  It will also give the neighbors easy viewing of them which will be popular (there are slats in the other fences).  It will also allow for more climbing things.

Love these sweet little goats!

Have you been milking? What do you think of it!?

We have been going through the procedure each evening for about two weeks now.  I'm thinking I really need to get the hang of this if I want milk for me.<g>  I have been able to get milk from her left side consistently but little from her right side; the bottle of frozen milk in the freezer for goat milk soap is gradually filling.  I will start separating them at night this next week and get serious about the milking.  I've drank some of her milk a couple of times when there was enough to bother straining, and it is good.  I ordered and received the Maggiedan milker this past week; Capri does *not* like it.  Until I used it, she has not objected to the milking routine (food does help, doesn't it?!) but will start kicking with that so I backed off on it and will re-introduce it gradually.

When I picked up produce from friends with goats,  I watched her milk.  It is funny since her goat's teats are nearly as big as Capri's udder - definitely *not* an N.D.

I've been watching some of the threads and think I will follow the suggestion of milking three times during the day just to try to keep up her production since Ginger will be drinking less milk, eating so much more solid food.  When Ginger nurses, she never does for very long, less and less all the time, and it does not appear she favors one side over the other so my getting so much more from the left side appears to be me which should correct itself with the milker.  She actually tried to sneak a snack when Mom was on top of the new structure today, the width of a 2x4 - she is quite a scamp!

Enjoying the milking will go up considerably as there is more milk as a result. :-)

For separating, I think I will use the dog crate though it seems so mean to put her in it even with a good layer of hay because then she cannot snuggle up to Mom.  It is important for me to remember that the nights are much, much warmer than the first weeks of her life and she will still be right there with Mom, just not able to get her little nose through the "bars" - she will undoubtedly think they are bars.

Rachel Whetzel said:

Have you been milking? What do you think of it!?

So exciting!! My Ginger was my first milking experience. She was a patient and easy teacher. :)

Okay, just took step 4 toward milking seriously, putting the crate in the stall with the ladies.  This will be Ginger's bed at night for a while.  She went right into it, curious as they are, then Mom went in.  She didn't stay but Ginger checked it out.  Later big sister went in as well.  They are now climbing all over it; it is the tallest thing in their stall, much taller than the bale of hay.  That they are so freely going in and out of it, I have gotten over my phobia about using it. Tomorrow night I will put Ginger in it at bedtime, them milk Mom the next morning. Hopefully,  there will be much much more milk than up to this point.  I keep telling Capri she needs to pay her way but don't tell her it doesn't matter that much because I love her anyway.<g>

Of course, I need to learn to do this; sometimes it is good and others not so much.  I am somewhat comforted that I get even less with the Maggiedan milker so maybe the milk just isn't there when I milk.

My steps in case you are interested were: 1. Handle udder daily; 2. Build stanchion; 3. Go through process of milking; 4. Introduce crate to stall; 5. Put Ginger in crate overnight. Will report back sometime after Thursday morning - wish me luck and the knowledge to do this right.  It's amazing how comfortable they are with the crate in there; hope it continues when Ginger is inside and they are not.

Ginger seems huge to me, she is 2/3 the height of her sister and weighs 20 lbs.; but then she is an only child born 4 lbs.

SUCCESS!!!
One cup of milk this morning!  I am so happy about this.  More from the left side than the right, I think since I milked in the same bucket.  I could misrepresent this and say I got a third of a bucket which would be true but it *is* a little "bucket." <g>  I started  hand-milking and finished with the Maggiedan milker to speed the process so Capri wouldn't get too antsy though she prefers to not have the milker.  Oddly enough, when Capri went back into the stall, Ginger did not go running for breakfast but went to the kelp bucket instead - apparently I worried for nothing about her going all night without snacks.

I have not even tasted it yet as I just strained it and set in the freezer to chill but, based on the two previous tastes I had, I know it will be delicious.  It will likely also spoil me for the purchased milk. :-)

Thank you all for all of the support and suggestions *and* for understanding my phobias.  This group is soooooo great!!!

Congratulations! Sometimes when you have a single kid, the doe's two halves won't be even because the kid favors one side, but it usually goes back to being equal with the next freshening. It sounds like you're getting the hang of doing it by hand. In no time, you'll be milking like a pro now. If Capri doesn't like the little milker, maybe the pressure isn't quite right or something. It isn't as easy to use any type of machine as they make it sound, and it's actually much easier to damage a goat's teats with a milker. When used correctly (and if it is a good product), the goats don't even seem to notice or care that you've switched to a different method of milking. The first time we tried using a milking machine -- one of the expensive ones that is almost $2K -- three out of three goats had problems. Two wouldn't stop kicking, and one wound up with purple teats! Talk about feeling guilty!

Such a beautiful baby! I love the "flashiness" of the Tri's.

Thank you.  Yes, I think the tri-colors are my favorite if there can be a favorite.

Now, I have custard for ice cream in the fridge to chill overnight and when it is churned, I will have ice cream that is *half* Capri's milk.  Since I have a pint of it since this morning and a pint left from purchased milk nearly two weeks ago, it was time to finish using the purchased milk.  Since I love ice cream, this seemed a good way to use it this first time and I can share it with family since the milk is cooked.  Our raw milk laws are so strict I cannot legally even give my own granddaughters my own raw milk which totally stinks.

For my ice cream, I use whole goat milk and cook the custard so the milk is fully cooked and I can legally share.  This batch is vanilla but there are lots of strawberries in the freezer. :-)

Today, my two oldest granddaughters were over after school and we were in the goat pen watching the goats.  The girls were pulling down apple tree limbs for the goats which, of course, the goats loved since they have already gotten all they could reach.  As I was watching Ginger seeing how much she has grown in these few short weeks, knowing her background, I am certain she is going to be an excellent milker and herd queen when it is her time.  I was out in their stall with them tonight, playing with the halter and Ginger; she doesn't mind it a bit and even seems to enjoy having it on though I didn't leave it on her even in the crate.  Summer came up and wanted to try it too so she and I spent some great quality time as well.  Both of them seem to think, at least tonight, that the halter is a cool thing and fun to chew.  When it was on Summer, Ginger kept reaching under it and chewing at the ring.  I'll bet I could put a short leash on it and she would lead Summer around and probably vice versa as well.  They are so funny and, of course, adorable. :-)

Though it is at least a year away, I am looking forward to Ginger being a mom.

I have enjoyed reading this thread :) I am a new goat mommy..I only have 1 for now but we are planning on getting 2 more in Sept. The doe I have (Willow) is 20 weeks old. I CANNOT wait for her to have kids and get my herd growing :) Until then I will keep reading and learning.

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