Help! Extremely "Milky" doe!

Discussion in 'Goats' started by alpinegoatgirl, May 21, 2005.

  1. alpinegoatgirl

    alpinegoatgirl Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    Hi!

    I have a problem with my oldest doe. She is the first doe I bought and is 6 years old. The problem is I cannot keep weight on her! I have tried everything I can think of and I'm wracking my brains so wanted to know if anyone here had any solutions for me to try on her.

    She first freshened as a 2 year old and that was when the trouble began. She totally lost condition, the more grain I fed her the more milk she gave! We got to where she was giving over 2 gallons per day; it was insane. I've wormed her, I've top dressed her feed with corn oil, flax oil, sunflower seeds, molasas, (not all at once!) and mulitiple herbal suppliments but nothing has helped. One of the biggest problems is that she isn't particularly interested in food... she'll eat her grain, go out and eat hay for about 5 minutes or so and then walk back into the barn where she just stands and chews her cud while everyone else eats. Its not a dominance issue because she is my herd queen and everyone knows it!

    Anywayz, if anyone can help me I would really appreciate it! She is skin and bones and as I'm increasing grain she is increasing milk production; yesterday we were up to 13 pounds of milk.

    Thank you!!
    Josie
     
  2. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    815
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    Location:
    Richmond, BC, Canada
    Maybe dry her off and then stuff her full of grain?
     

  3. alpinegoatgirl

    alpinegoatgirl Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois

    Well I could. As soon as she isn't in milk she gains weight. When she freshens again though she turns into the milk monster lol; doesn't make any difference really. She's very difficult to dry off unless she is in kid; just has a real will to milk i guess. Rather scary though because I feel terrible that she looks so bad but I honestly don't know what to do...

    Her daughters don't seem to have the same problem. They are very milky does too but not to the same extent.
     
  4. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

    Messages:
    2,476
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Lynnwood, Washington
    I have a doe like this. I like her nice and fat by the time she delivers the kids. The first 8 weeks while she's nursing are always scary. Then I wean the kids and over the next few days, drop her to down to milking once a day. She seems to be able to maintain her weight with milking once a day. Her udder will only hold so much, so her production MUST drop, and it gives her a chance to keep some calories for herself. I dropped her back about two weeks ago, and she's giving around 7 pounds per milking. Given her history, I don't expect this to drop off much for quite a while.

    Actually, this year I went to feeding free choice alfalfa pellets, and that's helped quite a bit as well. In fact, it's made such a difference, she was looking really good four weeks into her lactation. Then she got into something, alas, had a digestive upset and ate no grain at all for two weeks, then slowly increased again. That two weeks made her look like a rack of bones yet again. She's just now starting to get some flesh back. :rolleyes:
     
  5. Eunice

    Eunice Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    406
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2005
    Location:
    Utah
    I have a goat like that. I just feed her the best that I can and in time she settles down and gains some condition - enough to breed and go again. Last year our Blackberry had quads and this year it was triplets. Our good cows at the dairy are like that also - they just give it their all.
     
  6. Sherpadoo

    Sherpadoo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    155
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Astoria, OR
    Our herd queen is the same way. Nice and fat while pregnant with triplets (she gave us her 4th set this Feb.) and as soon as they're born she's giving about a gallon and a half and is as skinny as a rail. We dry her off before August every year, she plumps up and is pregnant with triplets two months later. I guess it's just how some does work. I think she's too busy making sure everyone else is doing what they're supposed to be doing to eat :)
     
  7. BlessedMom

    BlessedMom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    343
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    Washington
    I have a Sannan/Nubian Mix that does this.
    I'm a little worried about her right now. She normally give over a gallon a day.
    Today she only gave less than a half a gallon. I'm going to check her really good in the morning, I think she is looking way too thin. But we are bottle feeding her triplets!!!!!
     
  8. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,817
    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    North of Houston TX
    No doe worth her salt can gain weight during peak production. Now a poor milker can. This is where the dry period becomes so important. Getting those does in top condition during their dry period and especially the last 50 days of pregnancy when she is not only making colostrum but growing 2 or 3 fast growing kids, is really important. Look at the diet always. Where is a readibly absorbable calcium? Alfalfa hay, alfalfa pellets? Or just calcium sulfate and carbonate in the minerals? How many byproducts are listed on your grain tag? Is she really eating quality grain with every bite or the leftovers? Where is the protein coming from in her diet? From her hay like it should be or from protein by products in her grain, which then leads to acidosis? How much molassas by ton is in your grain mix? Can she even eat as much grain as she needs with the molassas making so much acid in her rumen? Are you using buffers, like bicarb or yeast, essential in the diet of heavy milkers the first 8 weeks. Good quality grain mixes and mineral mixes contain both probiotics, bicarb and yeasts.

    Foremost is that you are raising dairy goats, lean mean milking machines. They should not be carrying excessive flesh, their skin should ripple over muscle and bone. That is something that you get with feeding high quality alfalfa hay or alfalfa pellets as the roughage, protein and calcium in their diet, then using your grain for the calories, fat and carbs they need to milk as much as they do.

    When you move from an unnatural diet of high protein, high molassased sweet feeds with grass hay, to the above diet, you will not believe the difference in your goats. No more holding yearlings over to kid at nearly 2, growth in your does and maturity that alows you to breed even Nubians to kid at a year old.

    Your mineral program does become very important when you do have excellent milkers or breed early, because any defficiencies will be compounded by very fast growing kids who are also pregnant with very fast growing kids that last 50 days of pregnancy. Vicki
     
  9. alpinegoatgirl

    alpinegoatgirl Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois


    Thanks for your response! I know a good milk doe shouldn't carry weight, i just worry when even her goat loses condition. The daughters from this doe are about right I think; not skin and bones but defineately not carrying any excess weight.

    As far as grain, I have switched three times in 5 years. First I was feeding a friend's custom mix but stopped when i read the label and saw animal protein/fat. Second was "buckeye" goat feed; but did not work well for this doe because she would just sift out what she wanted to eat and leave the rest. For the past year or so I have been feeding purina "Goat chow"; not idea,l know but has been the best so far. I have been feeding purina's goat mineral's free choice. Hay has been alfalfa with a little grass; its 3rd cutting; not very stemmy. What would you reccomend for calcium?

    This doe is the first one fed so she isn't picking through leftovers. She hasn't peaked production yet for this year; will probably go up to 16 pounds again.

    Very intersting what you said about breeding early etc. last year's doelings were so big it would have been a shame not to breed them and I got some lovely kids. However my Nubian still has tiny very very slow growing kids.

    I really appreciate your help!
     
  10. chamoisee

    chamoisee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,124
    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Location:
    Idaho
    First of all, if she isn't on test, you should consider getting her on it next year.

    It is the same with weight. YOu have to get plenty of flesh on their bones between the time they are bred and when they kid, without letting them get too fat! Fortunataely, Alpines do not typically run to fat easily. As a breed I think they are not easy to put weight on.

    I have had the same problem with my does, and it is NOT as simple as drying her up right now. You will be in for a helluva battle drying her up, her genetics are saying MILK and Feed the Babies! If you do it now, you will risk mastitis and damage to her udder and udder attachents and supports.

    What you can do is to reduce her grain. Decreasing the grain will decrease her production. How much are you feeding her? I would give her no more than 2# a day, and the best quality alfalfa that you can find or afford....and be sure to make the change gradually! The sunflower seeds are good, keep feeding those. If she is like my Alpines, her coat gets rough with the unending milk production! Eating too much grain will tend to decrease her appetite for hay....feed hay first in the morning and then grain at milking time...

    Ultimately though, Alpines ARE a high producing breed as a rule. It is in their nature to milk a LOT and to get thin when they do so. You have a gem on your hands. :)
     
  11. JR05

    JR05 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    434
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Location:
    Mid-West Missouri
    I had a doe like that too. I couldn't keep the weight on her even during breeding. The vet suggested giving her B complex shots, they stimulate the appetite and calms the gut if there is anything going on there that shouldn't and it doesn't bother the milk. I also mix my goat mineral with baking soda free choice to help with gut problems. Since I have been doing this I haven't had any blout and I know they are getting their minerals because they really like the baking soda.

    jr05
     
  12. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,817
    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    North of Houston TX
    The culprit is the goat chow and purina minerals. Goat Chow has in the 20's percentage wize per ton of molassas in it, fine for the pet goat, but acid producing for a really good milker. Even the Pruina goat minerals contain molassas as a top ingredient. If the grain mix was any kind of quality it would not need soo much molassas to get the animals to eat it. Your does would be soo much better off with a dry mix. What do you feed your grain for? And what do you want in your grain mix? Corn, Oats, Barley, a little soy for protein, a really good mineral mix some probiotics and yeast? Sounds like a high end dry mix horse feed to me, plus it's cheaper than anything with a goat label. It also contains higher amounts of major and trace minerals and better quality products in it than any goat label. Try getting the molassas out of your feed. Your hay sounds fine as long as you have good keeping quality of it over the winter, since cut. Vicki
     
  13. alpinegoatgirl

    alpinegoatgirl Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    Thank you all very much for your replies.

    What exactly are you meaning by getting her on test? Sorry. Thanks for the imput from an "alpine person"'s perspective! What is better; for my doe to eat grain or hay? If I give her hay first she won't eat much grain at all.

    Thats very interesting about the Purina feed! So you said you would feed horse feed... do you have a particular brand that you could recommend? I feed grain just to give the does extra calories whilst they are in milk. My hay was great this past year and they kept in great condition through the winter without grain. What would you advise as far as minerals?
     
  14. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,817
    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    North of Houston TX
    Thats very interesting about the Purina feed! So you said you would feed horse feed... do you have a particular brand that you could recommend? I feed grain just to give the does extra calories whilst they are in milk. My hay was great this past year and they kept in great condition through the winter without grain. What would you advise as far as minerals?
    ....................................

    Make all feed changes slowly of course. I am in Texas and you likely will not find the same grain mix I do. But I feed Pilgrim's 12% equine dry, remember my protein comes from my alfalfa pellets free choice. Bluebonnet also makes a first class drymix, both of these feeds are menued feed tags, with corn, oats, barley, soy, alfalfa pellets, stated on the bag, no byproducts, and both contain yeast, and probiotics. Although my girls also stay in good condition during the dry period with just hay and alfalfa pellets, I do start them on grain day 100 of their 150 day pregnancy to stay in condition while they grow kids and udder. So does who are milked for 10 months are really on grain year round, just alot less when they are being dried up, none if they are dried before day 100 of their pregnancy, and then slowly brought back up to be eating 1 pound in the am and 1 pound in the pm until they freshen.

    Perhaps by feeding more real grain to them when dry you can let her gain some weight, so she has something to milk out that first 6 weeks.

    Do you have Tractor Supplies up that far north? They not only carry the Bluebonnet feed but they also carry the Tech Master Complete mineral that I use. Your goal in finding good quality grain and minerals is to poo poo any tags that are byproducts, and anything sheepandgoat. You want your minerals chealated, to contain trace minerals like kelp, and contain probiotics and yeast. That's a mark of good quality feeds. Good luck with this. Vicki