Long-Term Consequences of Milking Schedule?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by mundamanu, Dec 2, 2004.

  1. mundamanu

    mundamanu Well-Known Member

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    Schoharie, NY
    Hi all,

    Are there long-term consequences for milking schedule irregularity and/or changes?

    I'll be milking one goat in the spring. I am in grad school and I will have one night class in the spring that will get me home around 9:30. On all other nights, I will be home from early evening on. Through the summer I will be home all evenings. In the fall, however, my night-class schedule may jump up to three 9:30 nights a week.

    For the next year or two, I will be milking for home, friendly neighbor, and family milk consumption and some cheese production. But, after a couple of/few years, I would like to start selling cheese (and milk), so my production levels will need to be high and consistent (granting a lactation curve and dry periods).

    Here's the question: Can I milk a doe at 8:00PM six nights a week and 10:00PM one night a week for three months, and then 8:00PM seven nights a week through the summer, and then 10:00PM seven nights a week through the fall, etc. WITHOUT messing up the doe's long-term milk production? I know that short-term production will be affected. Since it is for home consumption, I am not worried about the short-term. I do not, however, want to screw up the long-term production of any of my does. I would of course gradually change from one milking schedule to the next.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    Lexington Texas area
    This is not an answer, but a consolation. I would like a scientific answer myself. Because of my personal situation, I sometimes milk on an irregular schedule. My LaManchas kept producing and producing and i had a dickens of a time drying them off. I milked once a day, sometimes at irregular times, for months towards the end, and this did not phase them. Next year i hope to stay on a tighter schedule. It is my belief that goats are much hardier animals than many folks give them credit for. I think that once you get past the early stages of lactation, and the chance of engorgment and mastitis go down, irregular milking is not a hazard. I have NEVER had a goat with any sort of udder problem. And we have always had more than enough milk. As far as future lactation curves, it would be interesting to hear from someone else. It seems to me that a veteran goat would not be affected, only a first freshener. I say do your best and enjoy your goats. Don't NOT have them because you may be a couple of hours off schedule. Love them and do your best.
     

  3. Stacy Adams

    Stacy Adams Well-Known Member

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    What I would do to keep it close to the curve as possible, so she doesn't have to wait two extra hours with a full udder, is move you pm milkings to 9:00pm while your in school, then if you wanted to milk earlier, like at 8:00, it would be an easier trasnition.. to move her back up to 10:00 pm, when you go back to school, I'd move her up to 9:00pm for a few days and then go to ten..
    Goats are hardy/forgiving animals, but still, if a full udder is used to being emptied at a particular time, a two hour wait just seems like a long time to me...
     
  4. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    You won't be winning any top 10 awards for production :) but I really don't think it hurts anything to miss by just 2 hours, your normal milking time. I would like Tracy said, move all your times closer to the others. I milk at 10am and 10pm. Goats thrive on consistancy, but I suppose if you are consistantly different which each milking time in the evening they would get used to waiting on you also. What I don't like are the folks who milk at 6am before work and then let the girls scream in the barn on the weekends till they get up to milk at 10 am! As a nursing mom (well and old mom who nursed :) I don't recommend that practice at all, but rarely are does bursting at the seems for night milkings like they are for the mornings. All that laying down an ruminating all night really makes the milk! Good luck on school. Vicki
     
  5. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    LOL.......I, too, am an old mom who nursed. Four youngin's. I think the best "milkmaids" are those who have lactated themselves! Not only do you actually, personally know how it feels to be engorged and in pain, but you understand all about that letdown reflex. I hope I have not stepped on any non-lactaters toes. I guess what I am really trying to say is that I can empathize.