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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone :) I'm very new to goats, but am considering some Nigerian Dwarfs as a start for a backyard dairy herd. One thing I'm not clear on: how you go about milking them by hand? The teats are much smaller that standard breeds, and I've been told by ND owners that this requires a "two finger" method. Anyone care to elaborate?
 

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Instead of squeezing the teat with the whole hand, you squeeze it between the thumb and forefinger. Some Nigies have longer, wider teats that you would milk by encircling the base with the forefinger & thumb. Kinda hard to explain without pictures.

First fresheners of all breeds can have small, short teats that have to be milked with the "two finger" method. It gives me awful hand cramps.But there are lots of Nigerian owners that have no problems. It's what you get used to.

Be aware that there are a lot of Pygmies posing as "unregistered" Nigerians. Pygmies are unsuitable for dairy animals. Ask for registration papers & compare tattoos.
 

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It depends on the goat. You can get NDs with LOVELY teats, and that really should be one of your goals, even if you aren't planning to hand milk. Also, look for goats with large orifices so you don't have to work as hard to expel the milk from the teat.

Check the archives here, I posted a couple of times about the various techniques I use to hand milk my NDs. I did use the two-finger approach at first and sometimes I fall back on it if the udder is very full so that I can't get my whole hand effectively on the teat, but now I usually use the whole-hand method that you use with a bigger goat.

You should also notice that as your does age and freshen more, especially if they are milked regularly and nurse kids, the teats will grow slightly over time.
 

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I want to add that while AnnaS' warning about pygmies is valid, some are quite nice dairy animals. You might get lucky but don't count on it! If you want a dairy animal, spend the effort to get the best you can afford and try to get one that is bred *for dairy production*. :)
 

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I have nigis and there are some that milk easily and some that have tiny teats and it does take time but they are still ok to milk. I know I have some tiny girls and they do well. I love them and if trained well they are very patient. Good luck
 

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I milk my nigies and mini manchas with the "three finger" method. Pointer finger and middle finger together on one side with thumb on the other. I owned a purebred nubian this summer for awhile and I felt like an idiot trying to learn to milk "normal" with my whole hand encircling the teat! DH just laughed his butt off and asked if I was mentally challenged. :grit:

Also, you don't want to "pull" down on the teat as the doe won't like that. It's terrible to see cattle people try to milk a goat, darn near rip those teats right off sometimes! I actually push up into the udder a little bit when I milk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
hi, sorry I'm very new to the forum. I read through all the pages of goat postings before I posted this question, but I didn't see any info up about milking NDs. Are really old messages stored somewhere else, or is there another way to search the forum other than paging through?

Thanks so much for all the great responses! Wow, goat people are the best. :D

The breeder I'm interested in working with has registered NDs, she breeds for dairy production and also shows them. I realize it's probably really hard to explain the milking technique over a web forum, but thanks for trying! I am planning to visit this breeder in spring to check out her herd, and I can probably get her to demonstrate how to milk Nigerians for me.

Actually I was sort of waffling between getting Nigerians or getting Nubians, since those are the dairy goat breeds available in my area. I am leaning toward the Nigerians because smaller seems less intimidating for a newbie, and also they eat less and the feed conversion is supposed to be better. I like the staggered breeding possibilities too. I guess my only concern is learning how to get milk without hurting them!
 

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Well darnitall! I was trying to find it in the search of the archives and couldn't locate it. Maybe they did remove some of the older threads? I think Fiasco site has a little how-to but it's not specific to minis. Maybe the Maddigan site? I don't like using the gadgets to milk so I had to just sort of experiment.

I started with the two-finger method and got really good at it, but if you don't do it regularly, it will definitely cramp your hand! Then I learned the whole-hand technique on larger goats and tried it on my little ones and it works great, just took a little practice to not get milk all over my hands (and everything else).

I loved reading what someone else said in another thread the other day, who knew it would be so hard to hit that big pail??? LOL I thought the same thing the first time I milked a big goat!
 

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The only goat I have ever milked is a Nigerian and so they seem "normal" to me. LOL. The two finger and thumb method is what I use and you only cramp the first few days or so and after that you become quite adept at it and you will have very muscular fingers. LOL2!!! It seems to help my arthitis too.

Try to look for the dairyness of the herd you are buying from and make sure they test regularly for diseases and show you proof of negative results. It is going to cost you the same to feed, house, medicate, etc, a goat so it might as well be one that is registered and from the best dairy lines that you can afford. And you can then demand a higher price for your babies, as you will eventually have to sell some or be overrun with goats- maybe not a bad way to be, but sure gets expensive.

Nigerians are so great and you will absolutely fall in love with them. But I warn you, they are like potato chips and the babies look like beenie babies with legs! Nothing cuter than a ND newborn.
 

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Would the breeder give you a "hands-on" lesson? I'd try milking both breeds first and see what works for you...We have a great big Togg and a little Nigerian. The Togg is much gentler and more patient - but can jump a fence. I trust the Nigerian to stay where I put her. I have found the full-sized goats to be a bit more relaxed, and the little ones on the high-strung side - but I love them both!
In your position, I would try to spend more time with the herds to decide what I felt the most comfortable with...Nubians are quite talkative too...verging on loud...
It will be an adventure either way :) .
You are going about things the right way - doing your research and asking lots of questions. It will be hard to know for sure until you actually jump in and start. I'm sure many of us experimented with a variety of breeds before finding our preference...

Goats are herd animals, you can't have just one -- how about one of each?!
 
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