Dairy Goat Advice & A Few Things Learned
As you may have read, we’ve had some trouble getting much milk from our new dairy goat. Instead of getting the 3/4 gallon the previous owners said we could expect, we’ve been getting something closer to 3/4 quart!
Being very new to milking, I wondered if I was doing something wrong. Was I pinching her too hard? Did she just not like me? Was she holding back ’cause everything is still new to her here? Was she sick?
Not sure what the problem was, I called the lady we bought the goats from for advice. She was really sweet and patient as she listened to me explain what’s going on, and thankfully was more than happy to offer some good suggestions.
I shared with her that “Blondie” was getting onto the stand fine, but half way through the milking she had started kicking and dancing around, making it very difficult for me to finish milking (which is important to do to avoid an infection). The lady asked me how long it was taking for me to milk her. “Oh, about 10 minutes,” I answered. “Ahh, that’s probably it,” she said. It usually takes her only 5 minutes per goat to milk. She figured that Blondie was most likely done being milked halfway through, and was losing her patience.
That made a lot of sense. I had been taking my time washing her teats, massaging her udders, and milking one side at a time.
The sweet lady also made a few other suggestions:
- Don’t wear rings when I milk.
- Make sure my finger nails aren’t too long.
- Give her an unlimited supply of fresh hay throughout the day.
- Offer her some alfalfa cubes, “She’ll be your best friend.”
That night I went to milk with a new found confidence.
I washed her up quickly. And instead of sitting on a stool beside the milking stand I sat on the milking stand with my left shoulder up against her, as was suggested by one of my readers here. This was actually more comfortable for me, as I wasn’t trying to lean across the stand to milk her.
This time I tried milking her with two hands. I’d gotten the flow of it after a week of milking, so doing both sides at once was really no trouble. I filled the bowl quickly, and was done before Blondie had finished eating her grains.
And guess what. No kicking! Yay!!
So, I think we’ve figured out the problem. We were also just able to find a local source of good hay for the goats yesterday, and are now supplying them with unlimited hay. Hopefully we’ll see an increase in her milk production.
I also learned something else about dairy goats while doing some reading online. After you’ve de-wormed a dairy goat you will have to wait about 2 weeks before drinking that milk, as some of the medicine will come through. I didn’t realize this, though it totally makes sense.
When we first got the goats the owners wormed them that night. We didn’t know anything about “milk withdrawal”, so we had been drinking that milk for the whole first week before I read about the safety issues. I quickly looked up the withdrawal period for the wormer that these people used, and everyone was saying that there was no withholding time recommended, and that it was safe. But then I read that the FDA has no recommended withdrawal time simply because this particular med hasn’t been tested.
So… I tell you this so that you know. Because I didn’t even think twice about it.
We haven’t been drinking the milk this whole past week, just to be on the safe side. I am, however, freezing it to make soap with. After this weekend it will be two weeks that we’ve had the goats, so we’ll be good to go then.
This morning I gave Jada her first lesson in Goat Milking 101! She was SO excited to be learning. And she did really good! At first she was hesitant, saying the teat was squishy and felt weird (which made me laugh), but then she got brave enough to try it. She’s so funny. I plan on bringing her with me at every milking and letting her get more practice. She was really proud of herself, and felt honored to have the privilege of the responsibility.
So, things are coming along here! Can’t wait to get even more milk to experiment with!