How to read dairy goat milk numbers.

Amaggio

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I am buying my first goats and I do not understand what the `milk` numbers are. Are they pounds of milk per year? Some kind of ranking system? Do i want a high number or a low number? Any help would be appreciated. I also don`t quite understan `age fresh` fully. I realize it is each freshening but what is the second number?

Edit: I think i figured out the freshening numbers. The first is the year, second is likely the month. So year 0 month 11.
20191105_084410.jpg
 

lalabugs

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Age fresh is how old the doe is when she freshened. Freshened is when the goat gives birth. This particular doe gave birth at 11 months, 2 years 2 months, 3 years, 4 years 1 month, 4 years 11 months, etc.

DIM is Days in milk. At the the time of her 11 month freshening she was 358 days into her lactation, producing 620 pounds of milk in the 358 days. Giving you roughly 1.7 pounds of milk a day. Are you wanting to milk the does you are getting?
 

Amaggio

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Are you wanting to milk the does you are getting?
Yes i am, these are the numbers from a Nigerian dwarf. Also, thank you for responding and explaining it so thoroughly. :) I'm looking for a goat herd with decent milk numbers but higher butter fat content so i can make cheese. If you have any advice I`m all ears.
 
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Southern by choice

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Looking at the overall numbers she has good butterfat and her numbers correspond by freshenings. Also notice that at age 5 and 8 she was on once a day.

I'd like to share what milknumbers/records DO NOT tell you. :)
How the goat milks- how are those orifices?
How are the teat size?

When the doe kidded did she dam raise?
Were kids pulled at birth and bottle fed?

There are many factors that are not included in "just the numbers".

Typically many dam raise ND's some dam raise and milk from the start (not waiting til weaning) and on test day they separate the kids for 12 hours, milk, test (weigh and record) then keep kids separate for another 12 and repeat the process. This gives pounds in milk for 24 hours.
Those that dam raise and dam raise and milk tend to yield higher numbers then those that pull and just milk 2x day from the start. Kids keep that production going strong. Take the kids away at weaning and after a month you will see what is really being produced in 24 hours. The totals you have are end of lactation totals.
Generally most peak at 3-4 months, there is a curve. Looking at the curve is important.

If the goats are shown that impacts numbers, sickness impacts numbers, bad hay etc. Those are things not on record.
Management and environment play a role as well as age.

#2 is roughly a quart (just shy of) - If 2 goats are averaging 1.7 then you will have about 1 1/2 quarts a day.
 

Amaggio

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I'd like to share what milknumbers/records DO NOT tell you. :)

There are many factors that are not included in "just the numbers".
Thank you for this explaination! I have read one book on raising dairy goats and have another for reference as well as other materials and none did quite the job of explaining these numbers as you did. I'm a bit nervous about commiting to a dam's offspring and putting down a deposit but there's a farm not too far from my home that has the breed that I want and seems to disclose information about what happens with her herd openly. The above numbers are from one of her goats and she does a write up on each goat talking about if she was a good mom and if she accepted grafted kids or if a c-section ever occurred or a kid died. She also mentions if the goat is easy to milk or if the udder is small and keeps a detailed genetics history on her site so you can see back several generations. The only thing is I have been told I should go to the farm and inspect the herd myself but when i asked she said she was too busy for 'tours'. I'm going to try and ask to see the stock again with specific dams names on my list and see if that helps her take me as a serious buyer.
 

Southern by choice

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@Amaggio I would see no reason for you to not get the does. It seems the breeder is providing y good information. As far as seeing the goats. Yes, you want to see the goats/herd however I can tell you that many of us are busy and have learned a thing or two over time in regards to people wanting to visit

We don't have time for "tours" either. We close our farm down from end Sept/beg Oct through Kidding season. We do this for many reasons. First the weather is unpredictable and rain is our fall/winter. After years of doing this it just became evident that fall/winter visits don't work out. Either we had to keep rescheduling due to rain or bitter temps. I hate the cold and do not enjoy standing outside in bad weather to show goats etc. Another reason is it is our "down" time. We are still milking 2x day and have less daylight hours so these are the seasons where we are spending time with family while we watch our goats belly's grow with babies. :)

If we have a goat listed, and it is clear they aren't tire kickers then we will schedule. We require a phone call/interview first. If we are able to provide for the needs of the client we will proceed.

There are many that just want to come and waste alot of time asking 8 million questions so they can go buy goats from someone else selling cheap goats but don't have any knowledge. We don't have time to mentor folks that bought goats from Jane Doe. On the flip side we do have folks that we have talked with extensively and are waiting on goats. They may be waiting on a particular breeding or goats that are being sold as milkers etc. When they come to pick up the goats then we do a class with them. Sometimes they are in the process of setting up their farm and will pay for a consult on how to set up etc. and a year later they are buying a small herd. By then they are already like family.

If the breeder has been very open and up front then that is a very good sign. :):):)
Don't be put off by the breeder not having time for tours. Especially if they are receptive to all you have asked and are offering info that you don't know to ask. :)

As far as how many goats you will need to accomplish what you'd like to do...
How much milk will you be utilizing? Will you be drinking the milk?
Just making cheese?
What kind of cheese and how much?
 

Amaggio

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@Amaggio I would see no reason for you to not get the does. It seems the breeder is providing y good information. As far as seeing the goats. Yes, you want to see the goats/herd however I can tell you that many of us are busy and have learned a thing or two over time in regards to people wanting to visit

There are many that just want to come and waste alot of time asking 8 million questions so they can go buy goats from someone else selling cheap goats but don't have any knowledge.

As far as how many goats you will need to accomplish what you'd like to do...
How much milk will you be utilizing? Will you be drinking the milk?
Just making cheese?
What kind of cheese and how much?
I'm glad to hear you say that, about buying the does. All the information I have is directly from the website, the owner has not had time to answer any of my questions directly. I feel badly for her because one of their fences malfunctioned and now they have to get everyone DNA tested because the bucks got loose in one of the pens. She keeps really good records on her website and seems to really care about her herd, even having refund incentives if the kids you buy earn their milk stars and such. They're doing a major herd reduction right now but I really wanted baby goats because I heard they settle in better than the adults. Like I said, I'm going to try and ask for some information again using the specific goats that interest me and see if that helps make me seem like a serious buyer.

You asked me some other questions, too. My short-term goal is to be self sufficient. We already grow a lot of our own food, make our own bread, and have ducks and chickens for eggs. I want to have milk for the family too, so that's the next step. We do drink it, mom loves lattes, but we would use it for other things too, like making yogurt or cooking with it. In the long-term I'm looking at mastering fresh cheese making, and maybe some hard cheese too once I feel confident in my skills, and sell it to deli like restaurants that pride themselves on making their own breads, sweets, smoked meats, some even offer local wines. Adding on fresh, local, artisan cheese to their menu would make for a good selling point. I'm still working out the business plan but that's what the long-term is looking like. There's no real need for another dairy around here from what I can tell, and I like making things with my own hands so I want to focus on that and grow my herd little by little from my stock.
 

Southern by choice

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I have an article on my website titled "What's the right goat for me?"

There are a few things I would change on my chart (just haven't had time to update) I am still working on updating show wins for the last several shows. Such as ease of handling - I really need to spell that out better. LOL Also #kids- ND's commonly have trips or more. Minis, at least on our farm tend to have triplets. IMO that is the downside - We have excellent fertility here which I am blessed with but we also end up with lots of kids. Bucks can get wethered at 8-12 weeks and grown for meat for the freezer. But does, you have to find good homes for and you have to have a good market.

It is worth looking at to understand the +/- . We breed Standard Lamanchas, Miniature Lamanchas, & Nigerian Dwarfs. Because of this I really don't have to have any bias because we love then all and that is why we have them. However for family homesteads that are truly wanting to feed their family hands down I recommend Miniatures ( There are Mini Nubians , Mini Manchas, Mini Alpines, etc...) They have excellent butterfat, hardiness and considerably more milk than dwarfs and depending on the standard can produce 2/3 to almost the same as a standard.
Ours stay in extended lactation quite easily. We are drying off a doe now that has been in milk for 17 months. If we wanted we could just keep her in milk but we decided to breed her one last time. This doe produces 7.5 # a day. I don't need more kids, so those that simply stay in milk easily are the best IMO.
Not trying to dissuade you from ND's just throwing another option out there. I am a homesteader at heart and always look at the need of the client first.
If 2 goats can give you 1 1/2 gallons a day and remain in milk for 10 full months and you need that volume of production then why have 5-6 goats?

We certainly love our dwarfs but it is the minis here that tend to feed all the others kids when they slack. ;)
 

OneFineAcre

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Those milk production numbers are pretty good. Nothing great, but nothing really awful either.
 

Amaggio

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The above was just an example of the stats i couldn't read. Here's the stats of the doe im really interested in. She's a bit taller than the other does but she has a good body. Here's a picture of her udder too, i think it looks well attached. The owner says she's easy to milk and i think her teets look to be a good size. Am i appraising her well? I think her numbers are much better than the other doe. By the way, should i be worried if a doe has several kids that were DOA? I realize it can happen but i would assume it's something to pay attention to.
 

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