Opinions on when to dry milk doe before she kids again?

Pinecones

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Title pretty much says it! What do ya'll do? When do you personally dry off your does before they kid again? I've read anywhere from 3 months to 2 weeks with a variety of methods for drying off. So obviously there's some wiggle room here. Just curious for first-hand experiences with it. Thanks :)
 

Mini Horses

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I prefer two months but, some get more if I feel like I want to stop milking. Having several to milk allows me to stagger kiddings, which can provide milk year round. Also some of mine will milk thru longer, less kidding. It takes a lot for them to produce milk. Good food is required and more of it than just growing a fetus.

Most often, whether and when I prefer to dry all depends on weather and my work schedule. If retired I would be more inclined to keep some milking year round than I do now. Right now, all of mine are dried off....we're taking a break. But some are not impressed.
 
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farmerjan

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I am not a goat person, but have cattle. The "industry" standard is for a 60 day dry period in cows for the simple reason that the last 60 days of pregnancy in cows (9) month gestation; is that the fetus is doing the most growing of size and takes the most out of the cow that way. Plus they get uncomfortable and just plain "big".
So I think that it would be somewhat the same for a goat. Allow a 60 day dry period before they are due so that they can get a rest, not be stressed as the fetus is doing it's final growth spurt. Also, I have seen often on dairies that if an animal has less than a 30-45 day dry period prior to calving, that often she will not come back into her milk as well. Their body to need to "shut down" the milk factory for a little while.
In cattle if they have extended dry periods it can also be counter productive.... some will get way too fat....some will not come back into their milk as well if they are dry for several months.... but overall, it is a financial thing too. Why pay for an animal to be dry "forever" ...... they need to be contributing to the farm, not be a freeloader..... there are reasons for keeping an animal dry longer, or extending the time between each calving/kidding/lambing..... but an overly long dry period is a waste of feed/grass/hay unless you are trying to change the time of year they are coming into production..... like going from spring to fall calving/kidding...... And in cattle there have been cases where an overly long dry period also seems to be a contributing factor to abnormally big calves..... not documented or proven..... but something that has been considered.....
The reasons for wanting a break from having to do the milkingdaily.... and different reasons like that are also very valid......
The very least a female should have 45-60 days minimum to dry up, get herself in good shape, and just get a break.
 

Pinecones

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We work from home and enjoy milking twice a day. We use all the milk we get. So there's no pressure on us to stop milking. The does are fat and happy and their hair is soft and in good condition. Only one is being milked right now. She's due second week of March. So we're 3 months + 10~ days from due date. Her milk production has naturally been dropping. She was at 3q per day prior to breeding and tapered to 2q at some point in the last month. Her milk is crazy creamy, it's great. The last few days she's been going down to 1.5q and her mammary tissues are becoming enlarged. So we're starting to weigh when to dry her up, as much as we love the milk. This is the first time I've had a milk doe that's bred back while I'm milking her.
 

farmerjan

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You say that her mammary tissues are becoming "enlarged" ? That doesn't sound right if she is in the process of slowing down to go dry.....her udder and all associated tissues should be "shrinking up" a little so when she is dry, her udder is smaller and "flabby" in comparison. Again, I am NOT a goat person, but the ones I have been acquainted with through the milk testing I do, start to slack off and the udders get smaller and less firm as they start to dry off.
 

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