Going from twice to once a day milking?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by tavia, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. tavia

    tavia Well-Known Member

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    I heard someone mention they only milk their goats once a day in the winter. I currently milk twice a day. I am interested in doing this, but I'm not sure how..Do I just stop milking at night cold turkey, or do you ease them slowly.

    I really don't want to dry my goats out completely, will this do that? I really want to still have milk for the winter..I know you end up getting less..but how much less..right know I get about a gallon a day from 2 goats.

    I'd appreciate any suggestions.
     
  2. lyceum

    lyceum Well-Known Member

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    We are currently milking over half of our does once a day. Just go cold turkey to once a day. They will complain about it but they will get over it. For the first few days they may be tight, but they will gradually go down, but not too much. Most of ours are bred for Feb-March kids and are drying themselves up even more. You should still have a good amount of milk for the winter.

    Lyceum
     

  3. full sun

    full sun Well-Known Member

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    I have a Saanen that kidded in Feb. I milk her once a day and get just over one quart a day.

    Jennifer
     
  4. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't know that you could count on milk through the winter if you cut them back to once a day. Some goats will do fine, I guess. Mine would say, yippee, we're drying up.
    mary
     
  5. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I go from 2x to once daily on Oct1 for breeding and also because I dont have power at barn so its easier to milk in the light and (relative) warmth of day. I plan to dry out Jan1 for March + April kids

    I feed hay at dawn and dusk and grain on the milk stand....with an occasional pumpkin on real cold days :shrug:
     
  6. lyceum

    lyceum Well-Known Member

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    We have had does on once a day milk a good amount (half gallon or more) for months and others that have milked a quart or so. It all depends on the doe. If they are bred, they are more likely in my experience to dry up faster. The does you want to dry up will be the ones that keep milking up a storm. If you are worried about not having enough milk through the winter, start freezing some for use when your does are dry. We freeze ours in quart ziplock bags and it works great. My brother makes cheese with this milk all the time.

    Lyceum
     
  7. tavia

    tavia Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I forgot to ask what to do about feed. I have been giving my milking does (one nubian, one alpine..not bred yet) 2 quarts twice a day of blue seal caprine challenger(sweetfeed).
    I have heard people say to only grain them when they're being milked. It seems drastic to suddenly cut their grain rations in half if I go down to once a day milking. Should I maybe give 3 quarts in the AM when milking, and none in the PM?..or really cut it in half. I don't want them to dry up...
    I think I'm gonna stop milking at night tomorrow..

    thanks again,Tavia
     
  8. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    i would not give them 3 quarts of sweet feed at once. (I don't give mine ANY sweet feed!). I use dry grain and nothing with molasses.

    Just cut to once a day milking cold turkey and give them their regular amount of grain on the stand. Are they getting any alfalfa hay or alfalfa pellets at all?, they really need the calcium. I use alfalfa on the stand to make keep them busy after they have had their alotted grain and they also get more alfalfa pellets in the pen. ...3 lbs each per day is a good estamate ...make changes slowly.

    My milkers went from close to a gallon a day each to a bit over half agallon a day each when I went to once a day. They did not want to dry up either, they would have kept going, but I had to dry them up just recently for the upcoming holidays.
     
  9. tavia

    tavia Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info,
    My goats detest alfalfa pellets, wont touch them. The only source for alfalfa hay we could find here as really junky,and expensive..I've been giving them second cutting hay, and they're minerals, baking soda and grain.
    They wont eat pellet food, only sweetfeed. I think they might be spoiled.
    I will start to give them only 2 quarts once a day when I milk. And hay twice a day. Does this sound good? Once they are bred...do you increase grain rations?
     
  10. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    What is your goats source of calcium? By second cutting hay, are you refering to grass hay or alfafa hay? Here in texas, we use alfalfa pellets because alfalfa hay here is a joke and of poor quality and very expensive. Goats need a calcium source to make milk, grow bones and prevent hypocalcimia. Yes, sweetfeed will spoil goats, it's like eating candy. The molasses in it can causes acidosis in their rumens and for me, has caused numerous problems. I have quit using it completely. My goats complained some at first, now LOVE their alfalfa pellets (which they can have free-choice as it is just compressed hay) and they get whole dry oats, BOSS, and just a tad of corn on the milkstand as their grain mix. They have grown out much larger and better than when i used sweetfeed and put out much more milk. If I am short on alfalfa pellets for any reason, the milk production drops signifigantly. I grow out my kids on nothing but alf pellets. Everyone does what works best for them as there is no one right way to do things. But in the past, when I used sweetfeed, i did lose goats to bloat, never have had any kind of problem with the dry grain and alf pellets.