Milk depletion question

Amaggio

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Hi all, this is my first year with goats so I'd love some insight.



My nigerian dwarf doe gave birth back in April and I brought her home at the end of May. I've been doing my best to learn to milk, but it was a long, hard learning curve. Anyway, I was getting nearly 1 1/2 cups each milking, so twice a day I got this, then it went down to 1 cup depending on how well I was doing at milking. We had a cold snap 2-3 weeks ago, it got down in the thirties for two nights. They had plenty of straw to stay warm and the building i keep them in isn't drafty. After this I noticed her milk drop to 3/4 of a cup each milking, to 1/2 cup each milking, now I'm lucky if in the morning I get 1/4 cup at one and the night I only get about 1T.

My questions are:
1. Am I missing any red flags that might be telling me something is wrong or can weather effect milk production this much? I haven't changed any feeding patterns.

2. Should I keep on milking or stop or switch to miking once a day. I've never dried it a goat before so I don't know the procedure.

Any insight is appreciated, I'm happy to answer questions. I'm having a vet out to the property in November to discuss breeding and have a check up for them but I'm still worried now.

Thanks in advance. :)
 

rachels.haven

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Hi,
Unfortunately you're going to find that a lot of dwarves are heavily seasonal and many can not even make it to the 305 days of lactation with much milk at all. If she picks up a day or two after reducing it was reduced for a a heat. If not, I'd bet on the previous option.
 

Amaggio

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Hi,
Unfortunately you're going to find that a lot of dwarves are heavily seasonal and many can not even make it to the 305 days of lactation with much milk at all. If she picks up a day or two after reducing it was reduced for a a heat. If not, I'd bet on the previous option.
I did notice today that she had some discharge this morning so I wondered if she was going through her cycle. I suppose we'll see. I'm more terrified that I'm doing something wrong or not noticing something. If this is it for her, that's fine, but I appreciate all the support people give to settle my fears.
 

Alaskan

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In general... the more often you milk, the more you empty the udder, and the more consistently you milk, the more they produce....

IF it is at the start of their lactation (right after kidding), or it is a high milk producer.

Goats that are NOT high milk producers tend to dry up a few months after kidding. Some cannot even manage 6 months of lactation. No matter how perfect you are with milking..... they just dry up.


If you are getting so little milk... I would call her "dried up" and stop milking. Continue to go out when you used to milk her to make sure her udder is still soft. If her udder looks super full, milk out a couple tablespoons so that the udder is no longer full.

With the tiny bit she is producing, I would be surprised if her udder is full after you skip a milking.

At most, after 4 checks where her udder stays flaccid, you can call her done.

I would guess she was getting fed while being milked... when you stop milking her she should no longer need the extra feed.

Mastitis can happen if you stop milking when she is still producing. So, if the udder is left swollen and engorged. It doesn't sound like that will be an issue with your doe. ;)
 

Mini Horses

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Agree with both replies.

The smaller breeds normally have shorter lactation and less milk. There are some bred for more but, if you want milk go with larger breeds. I know, I know, small and cute! :love If your goal is milk for the house, there are options.

Another thing with learning to milk -- those teats on a dwarf are not hand friendly. I find them difficult. My full sized girls can sometimes have smaller teats but not like the Nigerians. The time you start milking makes a difference. A doe will slack production as kids slow nursing. That's just one reason dairies pull young and bottle feed -- goat or cow. It's not to cruelly separate mom & kids. For a dairy, it's production and offspring are a "byproduct" of bringing in milk. Consistent milk and feed keep it flowing.

For me, a pint a day is barely worth my time...unless drying one off...I'm used to 1.5 to 2 gal per day, per goat. That's worth my time. My breeding is for household milk goats. Some of mine will milk well for over a year before rebreeding.
 

Ridgetop

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You are probably not doing anything wrong. She is just finishing off her lactation and drying off naturally.

Agree with Mini Horses. Minis may be cute but for me I prefer standard size dairy goats. Milking for a cup and a half is not worth the time, trouble, and expense of feeding. If you want house milk you want more than just enough milk for your coffee! LOL Standards are easier to lead with a hand on the collar without stooping too. My back isn't what it used to be. ;) Pulling the kids off at birth and bottle feeding means the doe learns to come to the milk stand and milk easily too. It also helps even out the lactation so she doesn't start drying up as the kids wean. Starting your milking routine when the kids start weaning means that she is already reducing milk production to dry up which makes it harder to keep up production.
 

Amaggio

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Sorry to take so long responding. She's actually gone up in production, back to what she was. So for now she's doing well. We don't drink a lot of milk in my household, pretty much just use it for coffee and cooking. At her peak I was getting a half gallon a week, which is more than enough for my two person family who doesn't drink milk on the regular. I have small hands and she has decent teats, so I guess it kind of works out for me :)
 
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