Newbie-things i have learned in the last 2 weeks with my Nigerians

WILLIFORD

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Obviously by the title, I am by no means an expert. Heck I don't know if I qualify as even a novice, but I have figured a few things out. I hope this post may help some others who may be just starting out.

1) it was difficult to find a milking pail for these little guys (Nigerian dwarf's), but after 3 or 4 different products I found what I think will be the item I stick with. I have included a amazon link. This is a 3 piece stainless steel canister set for $11. the largest one is perfect for a milking pail. They have leak proof locking lids, so I can just throw it in my milking bag when I head back to the house to process my milk. The medium one is the perfect size for feeding grain on the milking stand and the smaller one I use to store animal cracker (treats) in the milking area.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015VL5NX6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

2) Just learn how to hand milk if you have a small herd. I built one of the DIY vacuum milker, which works on the same principle as the henry milker, I have also tried it with the food saver vacuum pump. The problem nobody shares when they are telling you how great this thing works is this. It only evacuates about 2/3 of the milk. The final 1/3 you still have to hand milk. Additionally you have to clean this thing when your done. I figured out even in my first week, as slow as I am at hand milking, I could complete the task faster by hand because I didn't have to spend 15 minutes cleaning the milker. Don't get me wrong, I am sure someone with hand ailments would probably benefit from the use of these devices by reducing the amount of hand milking required. But other than that unless you purchase a pulse milker, which is very expensive, I have found I would rather hand milk.

3) Milking stand, there are several designs out there, but the one I found that is close to being ideal for Nigerian's (I will explain "close" in a moment) is the plans from Fiascofarm.com. I say close in that the height was to short. Use their plans as a guide but construct you stand so the platform is 20" wide by 30" long and make the legs long enough so the platform is 36" of the ground. This is probably going to be a little to high, but after using it, you can shorten the legs to suit your comfort zone, rather than as I had to do, which was tear the whole thing apart and install longer legs to increase to the desired height. You will need to also build a milking stool 12" to 14" tall. I suggest it have a sitting area of 12" wide and 16" long. this will also double as a step for the doe to access the stand. You could use a 5 gal bucket, but I would not feel safe with my doe using a bucket to access the platform. Additionally I think their plans called for a 14' tall fence for the head gates to mount in. I found this to interfere with my does neck when she was trying to eat from the feeder, so I shortened that measurement by 2". I know I reduced it by 2", I just don't recall what the exact measurement was called for on the plans.

4) Chilling the milk after milking. A couple of things I figured out. First I milk twice a day and was using a ice water bath to chill my milk. I found my ice maker had a hard time keeping up doing this. So now I have 4 blue ice packs that I use in place of ice then fill the bath with cold water. I also found if I keep a clean empty mason jar in the freezer to strain my milk into, my milk chills much faster by using the pre cooled jar. So my last step in my milk processing is to place a clean jar in the freezer for the next milking.

5) Hay feeders. I have yet to find a hay feeder I am pleased with. I built one that utilizes weld wire mesh with 2"X4" opening. Even for the little Nigerians, this seems to be to small an opening. I am going to build a feeder using the premier 1 plans, which use 4"X4" panels that are sold on their website. It appears to be a design that should work well. The plans can be found at premier1supplies.com I will post my thoughts after I have constructed it.

6) Find a milking bag. I use a Huskey canvas tool bag from Homedepot. I make sure when I have finished milking that the bag is ready for the next milking. So when my next milking time comes, I just grab my bag and head to the barn.

7) I found that using Fight Bac instead of teat dip, is faster and much easier.

8) I have a doe that gets impatient sometimes and likes to start dancing on the milking stand and ultimately steps in the milk pail. I attached 2 rope tethers on each side at the end of the stand, so when she starts dancing I can tether her rear legs. I don't have to do this very often anymore. Now I can just grab her rear leg for a second and she has figured out any further dancing and she will get tethered. Additionally I usually only need to tether one leg now when she gets anxious and she settles down.

Again, I am not and expert, and the more seasoned members may want to chime in here. They probably have a lot of better ideas that we can all benefit from, but I just wanted to help with what I have experienced thus far. It may save somebody else some money and headaches.
Goats first week.png
 
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animalmom

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And you say you are not even a novice! Seems like you have a great start to a long and healthy milking career with your girls. I like your stainless steel containers and how you used all three. Smart!

Yes, it seems that no matter what milking machine/device you use, you still have to do some hand milking to get all the milk. I've found with my Nigis that if I milk into my cup (2 cup volume) and then pour that into the larger container (that is not within kicking distance) then the girls have a less chance of footing the milk... smaller target for them to hit. Not to say that someone won't be in a bad mood that day and go for the cup, but it does make it more challenging for them.

Nice tip on chilling the jars.

Hay feeders! Now that's a topic that will get you a dozen responses. I like hay feeders that hang on the fence so I can fill it without having to go into the pen. All of our feeders are made from stock panels cut down to fit the space. They work well. Some are 2x4 and a couple are 3x3... just what we had a the time.

Love, love, love Fight Bac. You can buy directly from them at a better price. There is a website and phone number on the can. Nice folks.

Goats are smart animals. Your Nigerians will have you trained in no time at all!

Congrats and welcome to the wonderful world of goats, you being the staff of course. :)

We ALL started out as new folks at some point in time and it is always good to hear from others how they do things. We learn from everyone.

Please keep us posted on your progress. We love to hear about new folks with goats especially when they are having fun and loving the life. Pictures are always welcomed, and greatly appreciated! hint hint
 

RustyBucketFarmGirl

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Obviously by the title, I am by no means an expert. Heck I don't know if I qualify as even a novice, but I have figured a few things out. I hope this post may help some others who may be just starting out.

1) it was difficult to find a milking pail for these little guys (Nigerian dwarf's), but after 3 or 4 different products I found what I think will be the item I stick with. I have included a amazon link. This is a 3 piece stainless steel canister set for $11. the largest one is perfect for a milking pail. They have leak proof locking lids, so I can just throw it in my milking bag when I head back to the house to process my milk. The medium one is the perfect size for feeding grain on the milking stand and the smaller one I use to store animal cracker (treats) in the milking area.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015VL5NX6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

2) Just learn how to hand milk if you have a small herd. I built one of the DIY vacuum milker, which works on the same principle as the henry milker, I have also tried it with the food saver vacuum pump. The problem nobody shares when they are telling you how great this thing works is this. It only evacuates about 2/3 of the milk. The final 1/3 you still have to hand milk. Additionally you have to clean this thing when your done. I figured out even in my first week, as slow as I am at hand milking, I could complete the task faster by hand because I didn't have to spend 15 minutes cleaning the milker. Don't get me wrong, I am sure someone with hand ailments would probably benefit from the use of these devices by reducing the amount of hand milking required. But other than that unless you purchase a pulse milker, which is very expensive, I have found I would rather hand milk.

3) Milking stand, there are several designs out there, but the one I found that is close to being ideal for Nigerian's (I will explain "close" in a moment) is the plans from Fiascofarm.com. I say close in that the height was to short. Use their plans as a guide but construct you stand so the platform is 20" wide by 30" long and make the legs long enough so the platform is 36" of the ground. This is probably going to be a little to high, but after using it, you can shorten the legs to suit your comfort zone, rather than as I had to do, which was tear the whole thing apart and install longer legs to increase to the desired height. You will need to also build a milking stool 12" to 14" tall. I suggest it have a sitting area of 12" wide and 16" long. this will also double as a step for the doe to access the stand. You could use a 5 gal bucket, but I would not feel safe with my doe using a bucket to access the platform. Additionally I think their plans called for a 14' tall fence for the head gates to mount in. I found this to interfere with my does neck when she was trying to eat from the feeder, so I shortened that measurement by 2". I know I reduced it by 2", I just don't recall what the exact measurement was called for on the plans.

4) Chilling the milk after milking. A couple of things I figured out. First I milk twice a day and was using a ice water bath to chill my milk. I found my ice maker had a hard time keeping up doing this. So now I have 4 blue ice packs that I use in place of ice then fill the bath with cold water. I also found if I keep a clean empty mason jar in the refrigerator to strain my milk into, my milk chills much faster by using the pre cooled jar. So my last step in my milk processing is to place a clean jar in the refrigerator for the next milking.

5) Hay feeders. I have yet to find a hay feeder I am pleased with. I built one that utilizes weld wire mesh with 2"X4" opening. Even for the little Nigerians, this seems to be to small an opening. I am going to build a feeder using the premier 1 plans, which use 4"X4" panels that are sold on their website. It appears to be a design that should work well. The plans can be found at premier1supplies.com I will post my thoughts after I have constructed it.

6) Find a milking bag. I use a Huskey canvas tool bag from Homedepot. I make sure when I have finished milking that the bag is ready for the next milking. So when my next milking time comes, I just grab my bag and head to the barn.

7) I found that using Fight Bac instead of teat dip, is faster and much easier.

8) I have a doe that gets impatient sometimes and likes to start dancing on the milking stand and ultimately steps in the milk pail. I attached 2 rope tethers on each side at the end of the stand, so when she starts dancing I can tether her rear legs. I don't have to do this very often anymore. Now I can just grab her rear leg for a second and she has figured out any further dancing and she will get tethered. Additionally I usually only need to tether one leg now when she gets anxious and she settles down.

Again, I am not and expert, and the more seasoned members may want to chime in here. They probably have a lot of better ideas that we can all benefit from, but I just wanted to help with what I have experienced thus far. It may save somebody else some money and headaches.

I am new to Nigerians as well. We have 3 five month olds. It’s been a learning experience to say the least. Hoping to continue to learn so that next summer we can try the kidding process and attempt milking.

One of the breeders i met with when we were “goat shopping” explained to me how to retro fit my old breast pump for a Nigerian. She described hand milking like texting you thesis! Lol. Either that or get the human kids involved as their hands are smaller.

Will definitely revisit these thought once we get the next year!
 

Southern by choice

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Really great post!

These kinds of posts are so helpful because as a person may have many years of experience but sometimes can forget the things that had to be learned early on.

:thumbsup
 

WILLIFORD

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And you say you are not even a novice! Seems like you have a great start to a long and healthy milking career with your girls. I like your stainless steel containers and how you used all three. Smart!

Yes, it seems that no matter what milking machine/device you use, you still have to do some hand milking to get all the milk. I've found with my Nigis that if I milk into my cup (2 cup volume) and then pour that into the larger container (that is not within kicking distance) then the girls have a less chance of footing the milk... smaller target for them to hit. Not to say that someone won't be in a bad mood that day and go for the cup, but it does make it more challenging for them.

Nice tip on chilling the jars.

Hay feeders! Now that's a topic that will get you a dozen responses. I like hay feeders that hang on the fence so I can fill it without having to go into the pen. All of our feeders are made from stock panels cut down to fit the space. They work well. Some are 2x4 and a couple are 3x3... just what we had a the time.

Love, love, love Fight Bac. You can buy directly from them at a better price. There is a website and phone number on the can. Nice folks.

Goats are smart animals. Your Nigerians will have you trained in no time at all!

Congrats and welcome to the wonderful world of goats, you being the staff of course. :)

We ALL started out as new folks at some point in time and it is always good to hear from others how they do things. We learn from everyone.

Please keep us posted on your progress. We love to hear about new folks with goats especially when they are having fun and loving the life. Pictures are always welcomed, and greatly appreciated! hint hint
I have attached a picture. It seems excessively large. But its there. I struggle with these things.
 

Mini Horses

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Yes, everyone has to "begin" & there is a learning curve. Helpful hints are great! One of the reasons I like my full sized girls is due to the teat size. Even on my first Saanen, it was hard to get an appropriate, comfortable hold. Those rascal get pretty full! So I did use a hand held breast pump...not electric. But some of the ones out now are great! The length of the teat on a large doe can be a challenge to find the correct human sized cup to pump but, for a nigie -- perfect! Then....there is the container size. Ahhh, when I get 1/2 to 3/4 gal at each milking I need far larger bottles. Yeah, cold improvise a lid and jar, etc.

I have a stainless steel basked on the side of my stand to hold the bottle milk is going into. Helps keep hands free, prevents knocking over, etc. I put my jugs into the freezer for about and hr to hr 1/2 to quick chill. You can also just freeze a bottle of water, time & again, to put in cooler with water and set milk jug into. Saves buying the blue cubes....I'm cheap.

I do love your multi ideas!! Great you share. Many people like the Nigies for their body size, smaller land needs, high fat content of milk. It is ideal for cheese.

How much do you get from your doe each day? she will eventually let down more of her milk, you will almost always have to work for the last 10-15%.

Another thing I use --wet wipes, no fragrances, etc. Great to wash off teats/udders to milk. compact to carry, cheap to buy. Use as many as needed, toss away, no need to use on more than one doe, etc. In winter, I heat mine slightly, so not cold on doe.
 

WILLIFORD

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Yes, everyone has to "begin" & there is a learning curve. Helpful hints are great! One of the reasons I like my full sized girls is due to the teat size. Even on my first Saanen, it was hard to get an appropriate, comfortable hold. Those rascal get pretty full! So I did use a hand held breast pump...not electric. But some of the ones out now are great! The length of the teat on a large doe can be a challenge to find the correct human sized cup to pump but, for a nigie -- perfect! Then....there is the container size. Ahhh, when I get 1/2 to 3/4 gal at each milking I need far larger bottles. Yeah, cold improvise a lid and jar, etc.

I have a stainless steel basked on the side of my stand to hold the bottle milk is going into. Helps keep hands free, prevents knocking over, etc. I put my jugs into the freezer for about and hr to hr 1/2 to quick chill. You can also just freeze a bottle of water, time & again, to put in cooler with water and set milk jug into. Saves buying the blue cubes....I'm cheap.

I do love your multi ideas!! Great you share. Many people like the Nigies for their body size, smaller land needs, high fat content of milk. It is ideal for cheese.

How much do you get from your doe each day? she will eventually let down more of her milk, you will almost always have to work for the last 10-15%.

Another thing I use --wet wipes, no fragrances, etc. Great to wash off teats/udders to milk. compact to carry, cheap to buy. Use as many as needed, toss away, no need to use on more than one doe, etc. In winter, I heat mine slightly, so not cold on doe.

I have considered the breast pump idea. Do you still have to hand milk at the end?
I am only getting about 3/4 of a quart a day. I know she was giving more prior to me getting her, but I think she was stressed for a few days and wasn't really eating like I expected. She seems to have come around the last 4 or 5 days. She is eating more like I would expect.
I to use the wipes, it's just so much easier. I use the anti bacterial ones with aloe. The canister fits perfect in one of the side pockets of my milking bag
 

Mini Horses

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If you massage from the udder itself, while pumping, it gets pretty much all that you will get. Let's face it, you will never get every drop...LOL. Just try not to leave enough that she thinks she can cut back. It's a fine line sometimes and they can control the let down. It is why you have more retained if co-milking with a kid. In the commercial dairy situation a doe does not raise kids. They collect them at birth & bottle feed. Milk levels increase and maintain because of excellent feed, consistant milking and "that's her job". I

I always try to be sure the teat is void of milk at the end, then wash off, then use fight bac.

Stress will slow them, change of feed will slow them, weather, heat cycling and change of actual milker. They have to settle in. Their output does increase with 2nd freshening.
Some of my milkers are very enjoyable -- a couple a little less enthused but, they do settle and work well. A sure fire meal when on that stand does help with attitude :D

A good milking doe is a pleasure! I have several who will milk thru way beyond 10 months many think they will...like 2 years. With good production for a long time. It does take a lot for them to make milk and quality feed is paramount. It's good to know if you don't have a buck at home or want more kids then, etc. Depending on the breed, you may have to be careful with "when" you dry off.

Goats are lovely animals and have been, still are, a main source of milk in many countries for centuries. They have goat, not cow, dairy industries. USA not as much but on the rise!
 

WILLIFORD

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If you massage from the udder itself, while pumping, it gets pretty much all that you will get. Let's face it, you will never get every drop...LOL. Just try not to leave enough that she thinks she can cut back. It's a fine line sometimes and they can control the let down. It is why you have more retained if co-milking with a kid. In the commercial dairy situation a doe does not raise kids. They collect them at birth & bottle feed. Milk levels increase and maintain because of excellent feed, consistant milking and "that's her job". I

I always try to be sure the teat is void of milk at the end, then wash off, then use fight bac.

Stress will slow them, change of feed will slow them, weather, heat cycling and change of actual milker. They have to settle in. Their output does increase with 2nd freshening.
Some of my milkers are very enjoyable -- a couple a little less enthused but, they do settle and work well. A sure fire meal when on that stand does help with attitude :D

A good milking doe is a pleasure! I have several who will milk thru way beyond 10 months many think they will...like 2 years. With good production for a long time. It does take a lot for them to make milk and quality feed is paramount. It's good to know if you don't have a buck at home or want more kids then, etc. Depending on the breed, you may have to be careful with "when" you dry off.

Goats are lovely animals and have been, still are, a main source of milk in many countries for centuries. They have goat, not cow, dairy industries. USA not as much but on the rise!
I appreciate you sharing your knowledge. That was very helpful. I may look into the breast pump approach down the road, right now I am actually enjoying the hand milking. You are right that was one of the first things I learned in my readings was diet is the foundation of everything pretty much, good quality feed!
 
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