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Thread: Dairy Goats

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    Default Dairy Goats

    Okay, guys, I'll kick off the "new forum feature" with a thread about raising and utilizing dairy goats. I have a bit of experience with meat goats, none at all with fiber goats (angora), but I've had a whole lot of dairy goats over the years, and would be glad to share what I know with anybody that's interested. IIRC, Little Red Riding Hood and momof23goats have or had dairy goats, as well. They, and anyone else that has raised dairy goats, are welcome to chime in.

    To start, I'll give a little bit of general information about dairy goats....

    Goats are "ruminants" -- that means they have more than one stomach and chew a cud. They "browse" like deer, rather than grazing like cows, which means they like to eat leaves, twigs, briers, vines, and saplings.....not grass (although they will eat grass if nothing else is available). Legume hay, like alfalfa, clover, orchard grass, and lespedeza is better for goats than grass hay, although -- as already mentioned -- they will eat grass hay if it's the only hay available.

    Most dairy goats breed in the fall, from about September through December -- called "the rut." Gestation is 5 months, so kidding season starts about February, and "litters" can number from one up to five born at a time. Goats only have two teats, so competition for the "faucet" among quads can be fierce, and the runt of the litter sometimes needs some help to not fall behind.

    As a general rule, I leave the kids on their mama for one week, then take them off her and bottle feed. I milk morning and evening, and some of the milk from each milking goes to the doe's kids.

    Regarding terminology: Males are "bucks" (not billies); females are "does" (not nannies). Kids are doelings or bucklings until they turn 12 months old, then they become a yearling buck or doe. A castrated male is called a "wether," and can be fattened up for butcher or trained as a pack goat. The big round thing where the milk originates is called an "udder" (not a bag).

    A good dairy goat will give 3 quarts to a gallon of good, sweet milk per day.

    Breeds of dairy goat registered by the American Dairy Goat Association are:
    Saanen, Toggenburg, Nubian, Alpine, LaMancha, Oberhasli, Sable, and Nigerian Dwarf.

    The ADGA will send out a packet of information about dairy goats on request. The American Goat Society also registers dairy goats, but I know nothing about them.

    Does anybody have any questions?
    IF you are willing & obedient , you shall eat the good of the land: But if you refuse & rebel, You shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. Isaiah 1:19, 20

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    Grower ...

    After 43 years of raising goats I have retired this past fall.

    I MISS my girls something horrible. I miss the babies and all the fun they bring to life.

    Doesn't seem like spring here without doing all the chores with the goats.

    But ... if anyone needs help I would be more than glad to try and help out.

    Just write here or PM me. I'll see what I can do to help.

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    Are there any type or kind of goats that the milk is better for the making of cheese or is the milk and process the same for all?
    I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. Barry Goldwater.

    Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.H. L. Mencken

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    There are certain myths that roll around the goat breeding world over and over again. Breeds and good milk is one of those.

    IF you feed clean feed, good quality hay ... no weeds or mold, and a good clean grain the milk should never ever taste bad, funky or smell at all. If you free range your goats locking them up for about two hours before milking, with clean feed and water, will keep the nasty weeds, barks or grasses from tainting the milk.

    BUT ... sometimes wormy goats have bad milk. Sometimes does who have had some sort of udder disease, like udder congestion or mastitis, will have bad milk.

    I have milked all different breeds of goats, and sheep, and if fed and cared for properly ... the milk is usually very good.

    Also, important is clean living conditions for the does. The other thing is during rut keeping the buck away from the does. They like to rub their musky smell all over the girls.

    The next thing is milking CLEAN!! That is so important not to milk the does in a dirty area or treat the milk like it is not a food stuff. It only stays good if you milk clean, treat it as food and chill it properly. Also, returning the container of milk to the refer ASAP! No letting it sit on the counter unless you want sour milk for pancakes or such.

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    Some goats, of any type or breed, will have creamier milk than others.

    I have had some does with very little cream and others ... well ... with just too much cream.

    Hard to imagine but some bloodlines do give extra creamy milk ... like the difference between a Jersey cow and a Holstein.

    Some of my does would milk over a gallon a day, each, their whole time milking. Those were the does who refused to dry up during the needed dry time when getting ready to kid.

    The does I ended up keeping in the herd were the middle of the road does who kidded easily, milk good amounts, had good temperments, and who were easy to milk. Meaning proper udder placement, size and teats! Teats are very important in this ... They should have good sized teats, but not too big, and good size orifices. The udders should look like half of a basketball with two teats coming off of it.

    Go to the American Dairy Goat Assoc. website and look up proper udders. Should be lots of pictures there for you to look at.


    If you buy a young doe ... try to see what her dam looks like and try to milk the dam. It does not always mean you will get the same type of udder structure on the kid but ... it will help some.

    Also, always check for extra teats on the does. Milk goats are only suppose to have two BUT some of the meat goat breeders do have does with four working teats. So, if you are buying a cross bred doe make sure you check out teat numbers and placement.

    If the buck, sire, is on the place ... take a good look at him also. Make sure he is wide enough in the rear ... otherwise his daughters may not have room for a properly placed udder when they kid. Also, if the buck will allow it ... check his teats too! Size, shape and number matters on his side also.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Petedtom View Post
    Are there any type or kind of goats that the milk is better for the making of cheese or is the milk and process the same for all?
    The higher the butterfat in the milk, the sweeter the milk, and also the more cheese you can make with it. You can make cheese with any kind of goats' milk -- I have made soft cheeses, and they're very easy to make -- but the cheese is made from the "milk solids," like protein and butterfat, and the amount of these milk solids varies from goat to goat.

    On average, the highest butterfat milk is produced by Nigerian Dwarfs, followed by Nubians.
    IF you are willing & obedient , you shall eat the good of the land: But if you refuse & rebel, You shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. Isaiah 1:19, 20

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    Ok, makes sense. Thanks.

    On Average, How much milk will a goat produce in a month?
    I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. Barry Goldwater.

    Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.H. L. Mencken

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    I know this is a thread about milk goats, but I was wondering what breed of goat is used for meat? There are 3 goat farms within a 5 mile radius of my house, and was just wondering, since I don't think they are being raised for milk.

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    The Boer goats are the meat goats these days, although just like cattle, you certainly *can* eat goats from dairy breeds. Boers are compact, muscular and more efficient in terms of weight gain.

    Summerthyme

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    Ok, thanks Summerthyme. LOL...I don't know one goat breed from another. I was just wondering, since there seems to be a lot of goats around here.

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