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Namaste
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone, Hope you are having a good weekend and staying cool. There has been abit of a difference of opinion about drying the does off at the dairy where I milk and searches hasn't brought much up. So how are things handled at your farm? Over how long a period, if/when do you stop concentrates, how much to milk out at a time? Some of the does have very poor ligaments and their teats are almost dragging , others are pretty lopsided - my thoughts are that those does should be dried off more slowly, and evenly otherwise it will just get worse. Am I off base here? Also it seems that if we are drying them off concentrates should also be reduced significantly - so if milking 1/day - then grain only then and maybe half of what they would normally get; right now they are still being fed 2x day, milked mornings only. Apparently they use to just go cold turkey and stop milking. So, as you can probably tell there is a bit of conflict and it just doesn't feel right to me - but hey, what do I know?
 

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Pook's Hollow
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Depends on the doe. My big Saanen gets dried off very slowly and gradually, because she's quite a heavy milker. My Nubian pretty much dried herself off, it was a struggle to keep her going.

I cut back on their feed intake, if milking 2x a day, I go to 1x a day milking and feeding, then after about a week, milk every other day, once every three days etc. It all depends on how quickly they slow down their production. Every one is different! :)
 

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Sheep being milked here, but can't imagine it'd be different. Drop the grain, drop the milking to once per day. Gradually cut back on how much milk I take. I've got a new ewe this year, so we'll see how it goes as she should have a much longer lactation than the last one.
 

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Namaste
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Because we milk 24 Obie does, 8 at a time I really can't tell you how much each is milking. What I have been doing is milking the does out by about 50% - judging this by udder fullness. Some of the younger does have meaty udders that I barely take anything off. But Friday morning the owner came in and said "you do know that it is the pressure that makes them stop?" and then she left rather angrily.

Pookshollow, what you wrote makes sense to me. The does with large udders pratically dragging, well it just doesn't seem a good thing to put so much stress on already poor attachments, they are the best milkers in the line too. It seems the owner thinks that they just have to have really tight, full udders to stop and she wants them stopped now!
 

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"you do know that it is the pressure that makes them stop?" and then she left rather angrily.>>>

Well, I don't know all that much about goat lactation, but I do know a thing or two about human lactation. And, at least with us, it's not just the pressure that affects milk production. Any decrease in nursing (or milking as the case may be for a goat) will signal the body to make less. Stopping cold turkey may do it faster, but you can run into trouble in humans that way and I would assume goats, too? And the pressure is a result of less nursing or milking so really it would seem to be the decrease in the need for milk that is causing the decrease in production. The pressure happens b/c of the drop in demand, which causes udder fullness since you're not using all the milk being produced. Then the body makes less in response. So isn't it the drop in demand that is really signaling the body to make less?

Dee
 

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Namaste
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, Rose whilst true that she is the owner and I am the employee; being almost as experienced in goats as she is and more inclined to read about goat management - I find that sometimes procedures aren't as well thought out as they could be. Personally I feel that as a good employee it is part of the job to ask questions or point out alternatives. And of course, if she doesn't want that type of employee she can not ask me back next year...this morning tho she asked if I would consider making cheese 1 day the week, so over the weekend she must have remembered that I will always do the job in the best way I know how - in spite of sometimes conflicting requests :). But that's why I posted the query - to find out if I understood drying off. I do this work because I like it, always something new to learn. And I bring those lessons home to our farm.
 

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You'll get as many opinions on this as you will on worming. If she wants to go cold turkey, I'd go ahead - but you are right - then they should not be receiving so much grain/calcium.

We got a doe in milk when we first started and went to once a day for a couple weeks before stopping. But once we stopped, that was it...unless she seemed in obvious discomfort. (Kicking her bag...) - and then we only released enough to stop the behavior.

Tough position -- since you obviously differ in your chosen approaches. Good luck either way.
 

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I have approached drying off in many different ways.

I tried to cut the milking down to once a day, then every other day, so on and so forth, while cutting back on grain (concentrates). Even though this method works for decreasing the milk output, it never actually stopped the output.

What I now do is, I cut down to milking once a day for 3-5 days, I cut back on the concentrate significantly as well. Some folks cut the concentrate out completely. After milking once a day for 3-5 days, I just stop milking altogether. After a number of days of no milking out I notice the fullness in the udder decreases, and over a period of time the doe will stop producing milk altogether.

I do check the udder often for hardness and heat, just because I am petrified of mastitis. But I can honestly say that I have not had a doe develop mastitis from the drying off process.

For the one doe that I have had develop mastitis (early on during her first freshening), I infuse her with a Tomorrow treatment the day I decide to dry her off. She has not had a problem with mastitis since, and she does produce milk well in both sides of her udder.
 

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Namaste
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Good Morning and thanks for the various thoughts and experiences. I am glad to report all is well at the dairy and the girls are almost completely finished for the season. Next year I'll be milking my own girls - left the kids on this year so I could milk at the dairy - really appreciate the feedback here to round out my observations and study of goat management. Best to all.
 

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Surely if this is a dairy, and the does are being dried off it's because they are 100+ days bred, so of course they are still going to be recieving grain, albeit less than when in full production???

By the time my girls are 100 days bred, they are not milking well anyway. I stop milking. By milking I mean they no longer come up to the milkstands, stand and get grain, washed, milked and teat dipped...which routine is what triggers the milk let down reflex. Instead they recieve the grain they need during the last 30 to 40 days of pregnancy in their stalls, and I go behind them and bounce udders. Anyone more than just normal full, gets milk eased out of the udder. I squat next to them, milk into a container that I can hold with one hand, teat dip, and leave. This may be 1 cup it may be 4 cups, the only point is to lighten the load. Within 2 weeks everyone has started to absorb the milk in their udder, they are making no more milk, I put the girls though the milkstring one more time, milk them out, dry cow if needed, and that is it until they kid. Vicki
 

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Namaste
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians said:
Surely if this is a dairy, and the does are being dried off it's because they are 100+ days bred, so of course they are still going to be recieving grain, albeit less than when in full production???

Vicki
LOL, no the girls aren't even bred yet. This isn't perhaps your usual dairy.
 
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