How much milk from a Nigerian Dwarf goat?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Laura Workman, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    I keep reading, twice in the past week or so, about now Nigerians give so much milk. Someone said three to four quarts a day. Someone else said 1/2 to 1 gallon per day.

    I just wanted to be clear on what we're talking about since I spent a number of years correcting an initial bad decision to go with Nigerians as family milkers. Don't get me wrong, there are some outstanding Nigerian goats out there, but they don't come cheap or easy.

    And just how outstanding can a Nigerian Dwarf get? The ALL TIME BREED LEADER FOR MILK PRODUCTION in Nigerian Dwarfs gave 1601 pounds over a 305 day lactation. That's an average of about 5 and a quarter pounds a day. A little over half a gallon. The ALL TIME BREED RECORD FOR A ONE-DAY TEST is 6.2 pounds, or just over 3 quarts.

    These are the very best animals ever tested in the entire country. So I think it's safe to say you aren't going to be averaging 1/2 to 1 gallon a day from a Nigerian. In fact, based on my own experience, if you get more than two to three cups per milking for the first couple of freshenings, you'll be doing very well. And usually, because of teat size, it takes pretty much the same amount of time to milk a Nigerian as it does to milk a larger goat.

    I just wanted to make that clear so people can actually know what they're looking at when they decide on a breed.
     
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  2. rickd203

    rickd203 Well-Known Member

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    Here is a website I have used to learn more about NDG: http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/goats/. Dwarf does can have several kids at a time, 3 and 4 being common and sometime even 5. Dwarfs are generally good mothers and able to take care of their babies should you leave them to do the raising of the kids. They can also provide a surprising amount of milk for their size. They can give three to four pounds per day of 6 to 10% butterfat.

    The local NDG breeders all say they get over a gallon but I think they are exaggerating just a little. I will keep checking for more info but it seems that your production levels are lower than normal. Have you check into what you could do to increase their milk production? You may also need to buy some does that are from high producing registered stock.
     

  3. Paranoid

    Paranoid Homebrewed Happiness

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    those nigerian goats will probably be trying to con the other farm animals nonstop with bad checks and the like!
     
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  4. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    I think the OK State info was likely submitted by a ND Society or breeder, and is subjectively favorable where possible. Perhaps overly so in places. For example, if you’re looking for multiples, I don’t know of too many breeders that have had lots of quadruplets. Certainly, they CAN happen, but twins and triplets are the truly common birth numbers, and singles are far more common than quads. Nigerian Dwarfs CAN give 3 to 4 pounds a day (not that they generally do, and OK state is undoubtedly talking about 3rd and later freshenings).

    And exactly what do they consider surprising? My 150 pound Oberhasli in her third freshening gave 12 pounds a day at peak lactation and held her lactation for 22 months. How does that compare to 3 to 4 pounds for a 75 pound goat? Butterfat numbers are also inflated over the average, but Nigerian Dwarf milk truly is some of the sweetest, richest goat milk on the planet. So it’s kind of like espresso - darned tasty, but you’re not going to chug down a big glass - and while it’s delightful in coffee, you’re not going to get enough for the family to have on their cereal.

    In order to buy does from high-producing stock, you first have to find a breeder that actually milks their goats, truly a rarity with this breed. Then if you want to make sure what they’re telling you is true, it’s a good idea to see records, and official tests results are the most reliable. This is why I drove 13 hours to pick up the dam to my herdsire. And why someone else drove 14 hours to pick up my herdsire when I decided to get out of Nigerians. I always made sure to purchase animals from the milkiest lines I could find. Of course they were registered AND from high-producing stock. Additionally, they were getting exactly the same care as the above-mentioned Oberhasli. She is a nice doe, but I didn’t have to take nearly the trouble to find her that I took to find the nicest possible Nigerians.

    I said two to three cups per milking for the first couple of freshenings. Since you’re milking twice a day, that’s two to three pounds per milking, and is not bad at all for the first couple of freshenings in Nigerian Dwarfs. In fact, and here I’m taking statistics from the AGS, out of 43 first and second fresheners in the nation that earned their one-day production stars, exactly 11 gave 4 pounds or over. Many gave between one and two pounds. And please remember that people generally don’t bother to do one-day tests on animals that aren’t doing well enough to have a good chance of getting the star, and they generally DO test animals that are at or near their peak production for any given lactation. So, I don’t think my numbers are low. In fact, I think they’re pretty good.

    That said, in my experience, people who buy a doeling for a milk goat don't typically want to wait three or four years for their goat to start producing that 3 to 4 cups per milking, especially given that with triplets or more, the vast majority of the milk will be needed for the kids until they’re weaned. Shortly after that, production tends to taper off in very many cases, so you still don’t get the full 3 to 4 cups per milking for your family needs.

    So overall, yeah, I’d say maybe your breeders are exaggerating just a little.
     
  5. rickd203

    rickd203 Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    I know that you can put anything you want in writing but the proof is in the pail!

    I went to one of our country fairs yesterday and saw some Oberhasli goats. They had a milking competition so I could actually see how much milk they might produce. I think they were using a 1 gallon pail and they were all giving at least a half pail. I think it would probably be more if they were on their own farm where they would feel more comfortable. They were all very friendly but I wonder if that's because they are coming into season! ;)

    Since most of the goats were adult does, I was able to see how big they are as adults. I think they are still small enough to be easy to handle even I got one that was stubborn. I also wanted goats that were small enough so that they would be less likely to hurt my miniature pincher dog. I have taken her to several goat farms and she really likes the goats and they seemed to like her. I brought her with me because I wanted to see how well she and the goats would get along. She really wants to play with them but I hold her back because the goats don't belong to me. I know how much kids like to play so I think they would be perfect for each other.

    I guess that means that they are now on my list of goats that I may want to buy next spring. I still have at least 6 months more to read about goat breeds and talk to goat owners so hopefully by them I will know enough to pick the best breed for me. I really like this site because I am learning a lot about goat diseases and what people are doing to keep them healthy.

    Rick
     
  6. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you, Laura.

    I don't know why, but this is the first time that I have gotten ANY data about Nigerian goat milking ability (and I have had the same trouble finding out how much milk a Dexter cow gives).

    Not even the breeders that I have talked to have known: they go on and on about how GOOD the milk is, but not a one of them has ever known how MUCH milk they produced!
     
  7. GoatBelle

    GoatBelle New Member

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    Try to find a breeder that has DHIA records, they are official and tested by a someone other than the breeder. Also, the more expensive a Nigerian Dwarf is, the more likely it is that they are going to produce more milk :)
    The breeder I got mine from was Oldesouth Farm (www.oldesouth.citymax.com) which has some outstanding does, but they are generally over $500 for a her better ones. (She culls does that do not have the ability for a milk star) I have had a very good experience with her and highly recommend Oldesouth. Bye!
     
  8. punchiepal

    punchiepal Well-Known Member

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    We are not on DHIR yet but I have kept daily barn records for the last few years. Not official but at least a record. We cull for milking ability. Currently have a nd that gave very close to 3# a day avg for almost 250 days and another not far behind her. FF's last year were acceptable enough to try another year with them. I do agree that to say a gallon a day is out of line. I would rather hear what they milk long term and if they can maintain any sort of lactation.

    We rarely have a single. If we do they are usually in FF.
    Last year - 2 quads, 2 trips, 1 twin, 2 singles (ff). This was not an unusual year for us and only 1 was stillborn.
    Our mini saanens - 1 trip, 2 twins and our 12 yo pb saanen even had twins.
    In 2013 we did have a set of 5 kids and only 1 was lost due to hydrops.

    Milking ability as well as kidding ability depend some on genetics and a lot on herd management. This is true for any breed of goat.
     
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  9. Tana Mc

    Tana Mc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I missed this thread when it started two months ago. Reading Laura's info, it occurred to me that I may very well have been the milk tester for that record holding ND. I believe it was 2004 when the AGS National Show was held in Stillwater, Ok. I was the milk tester for the one day test and we did have a ND doe that gave just a bit over 6lbs. Scared me to death! I checked those weights and re-checked those milk weights! She was a very nice little girl but certainly waaaaaaay above the average.

    Tana Mc
     
  10. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I figured 1-2 quarts a day was doing good for my Nigies when I had a herd.

    2-3 kids per kidding was typical. Had a handful of singles (out of dozens of kiddings), all in first fresheners. Had quads twice, and both times it was a train wreck -- one spayed doe (first kid tried to come backbone first, lost the entire litter, doe survived minus her uterus) and one dead doe (ruptured uterus -- I managed to save two of four kids). Kidding problems were not common, but when they were, I occasionally had to get the neighbor's kids to help me deliver them due to sheer lack of room. The neighbor was a veterinarian and his kids where junior high/high school age and had much smaller hands than I do!

    I've never been able to bring myself to eat a Nigerian myself, but I did sell extra bucklings for meat. They're not a bad meat animal in that they reproduce rapidly, generally require little assistance with kidding, and grow well. The four pets I have left have been on pasture since June with no supplements other than a mineral block, vegetable scraps, and a handful (literally) of sunflower seeds to get them into the barn at night and they are literally obese. I'll be glad when we get a killing frost and there's no pasture left -- they need to be on a restricted diet for awhile!
     
  11. Frosted Mini's

    Frosted Mini's Well-Known Member

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    Mine average about a quart a day for ff's and 1.5-2 a day over their lactation for second+ fresheners.