nigerian production

Discussion in 'Goats' started by outofmire, Jun 19, 2005.

  1. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    This is our first year to get milk. We have one lactating doe, and she is only giving about a cup a day now from morning milking only. Yes, we do separate the kids from her at night. She had twins, but a new kid we bought also nurses her, so she really has 3. The most milk we've ever gotten from her is 2 cups. I don't like her condition, and I keep trying to feed her well, but she's picky about her feed. Rarely does she really dig in and eat all 2 cups of feed that we offer her twice a day. Sometimes she eats it all, other days she barely touches it. We let her out on pasture, but she's not a very agressive eater like our other doe. She won't stand on the bushes to eat. She's kinda lazy about it, and wants to be catered too. For example, she'll eat much much more if we pick the leaves for her. She loves the blackberries though, and we take her to them everyday for about an hour or two. But that doesn't seem to be enough to put the weight on her. I think it's a combination between her being a picky eater and a dainty eater. What else can I do besides stop milking her entirely. As it is now, I've only milked her about 2 wks total out of the 2 months of her lactation anyway because I don't like her condition. Her condition is about a 1.5 to 2. I'm used to seeing her at 3-4. She was about a 3 when she kidded, but rapidly dropped the weight even though we were graining her. I'd give her more grain, but she usually wastes the grain we give her. I have thought about changing her grain to see if that could be it since she is such a picky eater.
     
  2. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    If she's got triplets, you definitely need to stop milking her until her kids are weaned. If she's a first-freshener with triplets, same but even more so. You said she's been lactating two months. Why not just wean the kids? Milk her once a day and she gets to keep the rest to put some meat back on her bones. If she dries off, which is somewhat likely, go back to milking twice a day. In either case, it's really, really hard for a doe to put weight on when she's feeding triplets, and especially if they're with her so she can't eat in peace. If she's only giving a cup after an all night separation, those are hungry babies and she will not get any peace when she tries to eat. It is actually possible for a doe to milk herself to death, so please do what you need to do to put some flesh on this girl.

    Feed free choice alfalfa pellets. If you can't do free choice, give her as much as she'll eat on the milk stand, after she's finished her grain. Add sunflower seeds to her grain if she likes them. Add some pelleted beet pulp carefully, gradually, watching for clumpy poops. The last thing you want at this point is a diarrhea/dehydration episode. It could kill her. Maybe try a different brand of goat feed. This time of year a lot of feed mills add lots of molasses to their goat feed, and a lot of goats don't care for molasses. Maybe mix the grain with some dry COB, or just feed dry COB instead of goat grain. It's lower protein and higher energy, so will cut her milk production a bit and give her more calories to gain weight with. Make sure her worming is up to date. Make sure she has adequate minerals available, so she'll keep her water intake up and be better able to digest her feed. Good luck.

    Oh, and if you want a real family milker, choose something other than a Nigerian. But that's a whole different subject so I won't go into it here.
     

  3. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your response laura. I don't have much time to go into it right now, but I have implemented some of the things you mentioned and it has helped some. We are just watching her like a hawk. I think you are right about her not getting peace to eat, but I can't separate her from the kids without depriving one of the groups of pasture since we don't have the pasture separated yet into paddocks. We have separate smaller pens, but they are too small for being in all the time....just use them for night.
     
  4. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    BTW, I just bought two Lamanchas today. One is bred for september kidding. The other is 2 months into this cycle. She's milking a gallon a day the lady said. I got 1.5 quarts from the PM milking, but it hadn't been 12 hrs yet; I was trying to get her on my milking schedule. That kind of milk is more like it!