Milking through without re-breeding?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Jan in CO, Nov 4, 2006.

  1. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Read the article in Dairy Goat Journal about two women who have milked their does for several years without re-freshening them, which sounds wonderful if you don't want to have to deal with extra kids every spring. One had two precocious (sp) milkers, daughters of an older doe that was milking for several years without refreshening, and neither of them had ever kidded. Is this highly unusual? Anyone else continue to milk, even at a lesser volume, without having to breed and re-freshen the does? Recommendations? One of the does has been milking for 10 years if I remember the facts correctly! That would be wonderful for those who don't have access to a buck, even tho they get less milk.

    Any experiences with this? Good/bad? Problems keeping the does in condition?

    Jan in CO
     
  2. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    No personal experience here, but a Nubian dairy near my folks milks about 1/3 of their herd on an 18-20 month cycle. He said that some does will do just fine, and others won't...it depends on the individual animal. He's never tried to push it longer than that, because he wants kids, too, but it makes it easier for him to keep milk all winter.

    Meg
     

  3. debitaber

    debitaber Well-Known Member

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    I milk mine on average, of 1 1/2 to two years with out freshening. then I freshen.[bred]. and it works great. I don't breed every year. but thisis breeding year, so, I bred a couple early, and when they kidd, I will dry up the couple Iam milking now, and then breed them.
    the milk drops some, but it becomes much richer, when you milk longer. my nubina milk, becomes like cream. andis very good. the water contnent in the milk, isn't as high, and yu get wonderful milk, I think. it is best to try to milk them longer, I think. I have a couple that simply don't milk very long, but for the most part, I milk, along time. I always milk at least 12 months, before dryiing off. I have several, I have milked 2 years. and I like that.
     
  4. Mr.Hoppes

    Mr.Hoppes Reverend

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    OK just out of curiousity what would the breeding cycle be in nature? How long do the kids nurse before weening? I don't want to stray too far away from nature. I have found< For Me > thatGod made things a certian way and when we leave things as they were they are better off. Just My Opinion not trying to start a religious debate or discussion.
     
  5. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think dairy goats under the right circumstances would kid in Dec. and be bred again come Jan.-----but this is BAD and HARD on goats IMO---

    I like to follow the deer cycle in my area....doe deer are typically bred late Oct to Nov. for March April kids....I'm in Maine w/ no power in barn

    Others will breed for Feb kids so they have good Easter market for excess (typically buck) kids...if your climate and resources permit.

    Feb. and March born doe kids may also be large enough to breed come Nov. instead of waiting for following Fall season :shrug:
     
  6. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Some interesting thoughts. I've been drying up my does in about June the past few years, so that I could be free to go help my mother, who lives in another state, and I'm wondering if they will milk well PAST that time this year, if I don't try to dry them up. Hopefully I haven't 'built in' an automatic decrease in milk by summer! I found the article in the Dairy Goat Journal interesting, in that the gal who used to live near me, but now lives in another town in Colorado, also milks her Boer goats. Somehow I just assumed their milk wouldn't be as good, so I hadn't bothered to milk those tiny teats!

    Had some wonderful sheep cheese that a friend got while on a trip this summer, made by a mennonite family in Gunnison, Colorado. Now, I'd like to try cheese with some of the milk from my sheep. We'll see how these machines do when it comes to milking those tiny teats!

    Jan in Co
     
  7. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    I dry mine off in in stages between August and Nov, start breeding in late July/Aug, because I don't want to milk in freezing weather. My goats will begin kidding around the first of the year, but those that freshen in January are the hard to milk does - I leave the kids on. I will start milking in about March. I don't mind the lack of milk because I have a chest freezer full. I can't see milking through because I need a break. I usually take my vacation in November or December when a caretaker can handle feeding and I don't have to worry about kidding/milking. I don't think there are many goats that can milk through, nature sort of preprograms them to start losing production after a certain time, assuming they've been bred back.
     
  8. Westwood

    Westwood Well-Known Member

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    I hear most of the goat dairies in CA milk through at least two years and are breeding for does who milk well that way. Here in AR, the Jackson Mitchell plant only buys milk March through November. In CA they buy year round. They sell mostly fresh milk whereas the plant here sells canned milk.
     
  9. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jan you could just leave the kids on nanny if you wish to have the summer off...and then in the Fall sell/separate kids/butcher (which will grow quickly being left on mom all summer).

    In my limited experience (about 8 years)---with mostly Nubians with a splash of Alpine----dam raised kids grow faster---mom has better production(stimulation from kids) in the long run...milking in the freezing cold stinks! (I'm at once a day milking at noon starting Oct1) Future milkers that are bottle raised are easier to train but labor intensive---I've found that after a few days dam raised will settle into routine on the milk stand with considerably less total work than bottle feeding----thats not to say I dont bottle feed because often I want to sell kids at 3 weeks on bottles (especially bucklings) but if I were keeping said bucklings for meat I'd just leave on mom.

    A decent kid crop will pay for winter hay and/or put meat in the freezer.

    I did have a nubian doe that milked on for 2 years but being that she was good stock and had trips (2 does and a buck every time) it was better for me to breed each Fall.

    Options need tweaking to fit your situation/circumstances....
     
  10. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    Agreeing about faster growing kids. I was brainwashed by show breeders, when I first started breeding, that i had to pull the kids off and bottle feed for CAE prevention. So add one more chore on top of milking? Bother. This year, before kidding started, I had all my does tested - the herd is CAE free so why pull the kids??? I can't believe how much bigger my dam raised kids are at 6 months than the one lone bottle kid I had (mom rejected her, nobody else wanted her), and I pretty much let that one bottle feed whenever she was hungry. My does with kids had a more productive year, all of them milking more lbs than last year - I was able to stall the kids up at night, milk the moms in the AM, turn the kids back out, and they still grew faster. Amazing.
     
  11. goatkid

    goatkid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would imagine that in nature, most goats would kid yearly. It varies when does wean their kids. I have a doe who kidded the end of January. In April, I pulled her doeling so I could use her milk for my bottle babies. A couple months ago, I put her daughter back in the pen she's living in, and she started feeding the kid again. Here I have this almost grown kid nursing while, at the same time, a couple does who kiddded in April are weaning their kids and I am having to milk them. As for kid size, usually the dam raised kids get bigger, but not always. I have a couple of bottle babies who are bigger than a couple of my dam raised kids.
    Whether you choose to bottle feed or dam raise your goats depends on the purpose of your goat farm and your situation. Lots of those show folks who bottle feed all their kids are charging over $300 each for their kids - some of these kids cost $600 and up. People who are paying that kind of money for an animal want to be reasonably assured they are buying a healthy goat and the seller's reputation depends on it. Many of these kids are pre ordered and sold at only a few weeks old, so the breeder is not having to bottle feed that many babies. It is also not recommended to leave kids on the udder of a show goat because kids can damage the udder and teats.
    On the other hand, if you are breeding for meat animals or just keep a few goats as pets or family milkers, you may choose to let the does raise their kids. Most Boer kids are dam raised. In my situation, I need to work away from the farm to bring in income. I therefore let some of the goats raise their kids, and bottle feed others as I don't have the time to bottle feed all the kids and milk all the does. I don't milk my Boers, however, their milk tastes just as good as the other goat's milk and has lots of butterfat. A dairy in my area milked some of the Boers along with the dairy goats as they needed the butterfat for making cheese.
    I breed my does yearly and do not milk them through. Two reasons for this. First, my DH and I like to have a couple of months off from milking goats. Second, in most of my does, I notice their milk production decreases come fall and the shorter days. When I show my girls in the summer, I want to have them at the peak of their production.
     
  12. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    hi Jan :)

    I had a couple of does nurse kids long this year, which has been very convenient when I have places to be. The only doe I am still milking has one doe kid I kept, which was kidded back around the first of the year. You'd think she'd be well weaned by now, but no. If I want evening milk, I put bandaids on her dam's teats, if not, I don't, and she still nurses it all out.
    So, leaving kids on longer, or breeding for later in the spring or early summer might also be an option. Then you can let them do the milking for you when you are away.

    I have a friend who milked through with a Saanen. I am pretty sure my Nubians wouldn't do it. Maybe others will.

    mary
     
  13. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    If a mature buck is in the area, the doe will be bred the first heat, no matter if it is August when she is 3 years old, or August when she is 4 months old. The further north you are the later the first heat is into the fall. In a wild situation, all doelings would have kids when small and young, goats would get smaller and smaller, milk supplies would go down and down. It's taken alot of work to get our milkers where they are today, they bare no resemblance to even their ancestors from the 50's, let alone their wild ancestors.

    If you want to be totally natural than open your gates and let your does move north. Goats would never naturally live down here, their hooves were meant to be pared on rocks, they would not have their kids in the fireants, their udders would be ruined on briars, the ground would freeze to kill parsites, or they would live in arid conditions. They would never frequent the same places over and over and have their kids born in areas where others have pooped for years. Nothing natural about livestock once you put a fence around them.

    Any mammal can be milked forever as long as the supply is taken out of the udder, she will make more milk, consistancy is the key. Why some moms can nurse for 6 weeks and others for several years. If you have no outlet for kids, than continuing the lactation is of course key. Kids are my cash crop so kids coming every spring are very much looked forward to. I also don't want to milk winters so all the does will be dry first of Dec. and our first does kid end of feburary.

    Young does can be molded into any program you want them to. It's why goats are soo popular. Vicki