How Often Should You Milk a Goat?
Various factors will determine the frequency and amount of how much and how often your dairy goat should be milked. As long as milk is flowing, your Goat will produce milk for a very long season. When her udder is not emptied regularly, her milk will dry up.
Just Note from Me . . .
This article is difficult to write on because there are NUMEROUS Different Scenarios.
It may seem like I am repeating in some paragraphs, but there are different goat related circumstantial variances - so I did the best I could ! Enough said? I hope you enjoy!
How Often Should you Milk a Goat?
The frequency you can milk your goat depends on whether or not
she has a kid or two to feed all on her own. They need that Milk!
You should milk your Goat Once Daily if :
Her kids are relying on drinking her Milk completely -- or if she does not produce much Milk in the first place. If she is a poor/low Milk producer, good sense tells us to just keep her udder evened out after the kid/kids has had their fill each day.
You should milk your Goat Twice Daily if:
She is a great/high milk producer -- or if she has just one kid, ( to keep evened out if he/she favors only one side ) -- or if you are raising the kid/kids on the bottle only using formula.
If your Goat has kids who feed on her milk, you have to reduce how often you milk her so that her kids can have enough milk. This must come from your observation of both the Mamma and the kid(s),
Other Factors That Determine
How Often / How Much - You Should Milk a Goat
The Basics - lets all understand that a Doe ( or female goat ) will Not produce Milk unless she gives birth to "kids" - This is the time that the Milk begins.
Female Goats begin producing milk to feed their young, as do all mammals.
She will continue to produce Milk as long as her Milk is being removed from her udder on a regular / daily basis. If this does not occur on a regular / daily basis - Her Milk will soon dry up and her body will discontinue making new Milk. This cycle can repeat when she "freshens" ( becomes pregnant and gives birth again )
The Amount of Milk that a Goat can Produce in a 24 hour period
is determined by the Goats Age, Breed, the type of Feed she consumes, as well as other Genetic Traits.
Is She a "Dairy Goat"? Dairy Goats, just like Dairy Cows, are breeds that produce large quantities of milk to feed their young with extra milk that you can collect. If your Goat is a Dairy Goat Breed, you can collect milk from her up to twice daily. (or share with her kids)
DAIRY BREEDS Include ( but are not limited to ) : Nigerian, Nubian, Alpine, La Mancha, Toggenburg, Saanen, Oberhasli, and Mixed Breeds of these.
Is She a "Non-Dairy Goat"? Goat breeds that have other purposes (such as meat production) only produce milk sufficient for their young and do not produce a lot of excess for collection.If she is not a Dairy breed, you should Not collect her milk so that her kids will have sufficient milk.
NON-DAIRY BREEDS Include ( but are not limited to ) : Boer, Myotonic, TN Fainting Goats, Kiko, Spanish, and Mixed Breeds of these.
.You can only harvest milk from Non-Dairy Goat breeds -- if you will be raising the kids with formula and do not allow them to nurse from their mother.
The more often you milk a Goat, the more often she will produce more Milk.
( so long as she is receiving sufficient nutrition that allows her body to produce.) A Goat’s Milk producing organs cannot tell the difference between You collecting Milk and her kids nursing/feeding on her Milk.
Milking a Goat creates the same response in her body that she needs to continue to produce Milk as if her kids were nursing/feeding.
As long as you continue to milk, the Goat will produce Milk. It is important to not overmilk and deplete the Milk supply if the goat is also caring for kids.
Remember that a Goat will Not produce Milk if she did not recently give birth. "Freshening a Goat" is the practice of mating her with a buck, or male goat, 6-9 months after she gives birth -- in order to maintain milk production.
We have found it best for our Goats Health to allow her to have a dry period at least 3 months prior to giving birth to the next set of kids, so that the combo of growing infant(s) and creating milk at the same time does not create a strain on the Goats overall health.
Goats will continue producing Milk typically for up to ten months after giving birth. The length of this period is usually determined by the breed and this can truly vary from Goat to Goat. We have had some of our Goats remain in Milk for 2-3 years before the need of re-freshening them.
If her Lactation period is ending, the Goat will start producing Less milk. You will need to monitor this timing and milk her less often to accommodate this change.
Sometimes this happens due to a change in her diet, sometimes because of illness, but for this paragraph we are targeting the reason being due to her genetical lactation is naturally coming to a close.
If you allow for her to be freshened, dry her off a few months before she gives her new birth and starts producing milk again before you resume milking. -- see more info on this ** below.
With just one Doe, you may not be able to get milk every day of the year, so you may want to have at least two or three does that breed at different intervals to have a constant Milk supply. ( Goats are herd animals and need each other anyway. )
Increasing or Decreasing Milk Production
To encourage your Doe to produce MORE Milk,
Gradually increase the amount of Protein Rich Alfalfa or comparable hay and grains in her daily feed ration. You can also milk her more frequently to encourage more frequent lactation. ---- Any Feed Changes MUST be done Gradually with any/all Goats -----
To encourage your Doe to produce LESS Milk, To decrease how much milk your Goat produces, reduce the amount of protein rich hays and grains in her feed, and begin to taper how often you milk her.
---- Any Feed Changes MUST be done Gradually with any/all Goats ----- As Milk production slows, milk her once a day for 1-2 weeks.
Then, cut back to milking her only once every 3 days for 1-2 more weeks