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Question about dam-raising goats?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm rather new, used to have an account about a year ago though!

Anyways, I currently have a couple horses, 33 chickens, two guinea fowl, a dog, two cats, and a parakeet.  My family has always wanted goats.  And we have enough animal units (silly zoning!) to get two goats. 

So...I haven't done a ton of research yet, but since there are a lot of knowledgeable people here, I thought I'd ask a few questions.

 

1. We're a busy family.  My mom grew up on a dairy farm, and she knows about how you MUST BE HOME BY MILKING TIME.  From what I've read, goat milking times are approximately 12 hours apart.  I read that as soon as you wean the kid/kids, that's when the most milk is coming and that there should be very little variation.  During this peak time, if I aimed for 7am and 7pm, is half an hour variation okay?  Once a week or so?  If we just *need* to be home at that time for about a month, that's do able though.  I just don't want to get goats and then be miserable because I can't do anything, like 4-H.  (Actually, I'm home most days, because I'm homeschooled.) 

As soon as the goats start producing less, how much variation in times is okay?  How much do you vary your milking times?

 

2. I read (on one website, mind you) that this one lady dam raised her kids (like we plan to do) and didn't wean them fully for a long time, so if she had to miss a milking she'd let the kids in with their mama that night.  She fed them mostly hay/pellets, but I guess let them with their mom a part of the day so they'd still be used to it.  I know I'd loose more milk this way, but is it a totally crazy idea or a good idea?

 

3. Fencing...I want to get Nigerian Dwarf/Mini goats and am theoretically planning to use 4' woven wire (holes are 2"x4")  and metal t-posts.  Would they totally demolish/jump over this or should I add a string of electric wiring to the top?  They'd be in the barn when it was raining/night, of course, and would have a shelter in their 'pasture' during the day. 

 

Anyways, thank you so, so so much!  My possible future goaties thank you! 

post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by IHeartGreySnow View Post
 

Hi, I'm rather new, used to have an account about a year ago though!

Anyways, I currently have a couple horses, 33 chickens, two guinea fowl, a dog, two cats, and a parakeet.  My family has always wanted goats.  And we have enough animal units (silly zoning!) to get two goats. 

So...I haven't done a ton of research yet, but since there are a lot of knowledgeable people here, I thought I'd ask a few questions.

 

1. We're a busy family.  My mom grew up on a dairy farm, and she knows about how you MUST BE HOME BY MILKING TIME.  From what I've read, goat milking times are approximately 12 hours apart.  I read that as soon as you wean the kid/kids, that's when the most milk is coming and that there should be very little variation.  During this peak time, if I aimed for 7am and 7pm, is half an hour variation okay?  Once a week or so?  If we just *need* to be home at that time for about a month, that's do able though.  I just don't want to get goats and then be miserable because I can't do anything, like 4-H.  (Actually, I'm home most days, because I'm homeschooled.) 

As soon as the goats start producing less, how much variation in times is okay?  How much do you vary your milking times?

 

What do you mean by your question "once a week or so"? As long as you want to keep milking the doe, you need to stick with steady milking times. Yes, a half hour wiggle room is fine. But try not to make her go too much longer, or else it will result in less milk production for you. A goat milks for MUCH longer than a month, by the way. The point of having a milking goat is to keep them milking for a while. If you don't want milk, then you can dry her up as soon as she either naturally weans her kids, or you can wean them for her (separate them at about 12 weeks old until she dries up, then they can go back together, as long as the kids are wethered boys or doelings. Any buckling would need to be separated since he can impregnate is mother by that point and any sisters).

 

2. I read (on one website, mind you) that this one lady dam raised her kids (like we plan to do) and didn't wean them fully for a long time, so if she had to miss a milking she'd let the kids in with their mama that night.  She fed them mostly hay/pellets, but I guess let them with their mom a part of the day so they'd still be used to it.  I know I'd loose more milk this way, but is it a totally crazy idea or a good idea?

 

Dam raising is the best for the kids, so I am glad you are doing this. I separate kids from their dams at night into a separate stall, or tape her teats with medical tape to prevent them from nursing. 12 hours later, I milk her. Some does will wean their kids though, so you cannot depend on her to let her kids nurse for months and months. I have a doe that starts to kick her kids off her teats as young as eight weeks old, so I have to aggressively milk her when that first starts happening to keep her production from dropping.

 

3. Fencing...I want to get Nigerian Dwarf/Mini goats and am theoretically planning to use 4' woven wire (holes are 2"x4")  and metal t-posts.  Would they totally demolish/jump over this or should I add a string of electric wiring to the top?  They'd be in the barn when it was raining/night, of course, and would have a shelter in their 'pasture' during the day. 

 

Build it strong and it should be fine. Make sure there is NOTHING anywhere near the fence that they could use to launch over it. A determined goat can still clear a four foot fence, even a Nigerian Dwarf. I had to build a seven foot fence to contain a particularly crafty Nigerian Dwarf doe of mine. I also had to build her a special stall for night time with tall walls of smooth, slick plywood to keep her contained. You won't know if they can clear it until you own the goats and find one is an athlete. The problem is once they learn how to get out, they teach the others how to do it.

 

Anyways, thank you so, so so much!  My possible future goaties thank you! 

My backyard flock: Five Araucana girls, two Araucana boys, and seven Magpie ducks.

 

Mini Yooper Goats and Other Critters

My website for my Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Araucana Chickens, and Magpie Ducks

 

Reply

My backyard flock: Five Araucana girls, two Araucana boys, and seven Magpie ducks.

 

Mini Yooper Goats and Other Critters

My website for my Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Araucana Chickens, and Magpie Ducks

 

Reply
post #3 of 8

Yes, if you want full production, you need to milk every 12 hours. There is a little wiggle room but if you wiggle too much you will lose the production... with milk it's supply and demand. If you aren't there to milk her out, she'll start to dry up. Once she has peaked in production (at about 8 weeks or so) you can start to milk less if you prefer. I will sometimes switch them to once a day milking, once they start coming down from their peak. 

 

Goats can have a disease called CAE. It stands for Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis. This is a retro-virus, sort of like AIDS, so they don't always show symptoms and can be silent carriers. They get it from their dam's milk. The way to break the cycle is to pull the kids the instant they are born, milk the doe and heat-treat the colostrum, and then raise the kids on pasteurized milk. I have sometimes seen goats that have the arthritic form, walking on their knees in a desperate attempt to keep up with the herd, because their feet hurt so bad they can't stand to walk on them. It can also cause hardened udders that gradually give less and less milk, and I am sure that this is painful for them too. You can blood test for this. There is a lab called Bio Tracking in Moscow, Idaho, and the test only costs $4.00 per goat. 

 

Because of that, I do not dam raise. I raise my kids by hand. This way I am assured that they will not get CAE, and there are other benefits. The dam gets milked out evenly; if you have a singleton kid, they might only nurse on one side, and the other side might dry up or worse, get mastitis. Either way, that can be hard on the doe. But if YOU do the milking, they are milked out nice and even. The kids also make better dairy goats as they are real used to people and are very easy to handle. I show my goats and when I am hand raising them it's a lot easier for me to start handling them to train them for the show ring. So for me, this is the best way to do it. 

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoomie View Post
 

Yes, if you want full production, you need to milk every 12 hours. There is a little wiggle room but if you wiggle too much you will lose the production... with milk it's supply and demand. If you aren't there to milk her out, she'll start to dry up. Once she has peaked in production (at about 8 weeks or so) you can start to milk less if you prefer. I will sometimes switch them to once a day milking, once they start coming down from their peak. 

 

Goats can have a disease called CAE. It stands for Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis. This is a retro-virus, sort of like AIDS, so they don't always show symptoms and can be silent carriers. They get it from their dam's milk. The way to break the cycle is to pull the kids the instant they are born, milk the doe and heat-treat the colostrum, and then raise the kids on pasteurized milk. I have sometimes seen goats that have the arthritic form, walking on their knees in a desperate attempt to keep up with the herd, because their feet hurt so bad they can't stand to walk on them. It can also cause hardened udders that gradually give less and less milk, and I am sure that this is painful for them too. You can blood test for this. There is a lab called Bio Tracking in Moscow, Idaho, and the test only costs $4.00 per goat. 

 

Because of that, I do not dam raise. I raise my kids by hand. This way I am assured that they will not get CAE, and there are other benefits. The dam gets milked out evenly; if you have a singleton kid, they might only nurse on one side, and the other side might dry up or worse, get mastitis. Either way, that can be hard on the doe. But if YOU do the milking, they are milked out nice and even. The kids also make better dairy goats as they are real used to people and are very easy to handle. I show my goats and when I am hand raising them it's a lot easier for me to start handling them to train them for the show ring. So for me, this is the best way to do it. 

 

Ahh, good of you to mention CAE! It is an excellent thing to test for. In addition to testing for CAE, I also test my herd for CL (Caseous Lymphadenitis) and Johne's Disease. CL and Johne's both live in the soil for years and can devastate a herd. CL is pass on through ruptured abscesses (these can form internally, and sometimes cannot be seen, but most of the time they are near major lymph nodes in the neck/face and other areas) and Johne's is passed through the feces.

 

Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab (WADDL) can test for all three diseases off a single red top tube of blood using their Caprine Biosecurity Screen. A veterinarian does not need to submit the blood samples, they accept owner submitted samples (and they give assistance if the paperwork is gets a little confusing).

 

My dam raised kids are just as friendly with people as bottle kids. That is because I am hands on from the day they are born. Some people ignore dam raised kids and leave them in the field, so they become wild. This is not the case with a responsible breeder doing dam raising. I feel it is best for the kids to have constant access to their mother's milk tap, and they grow huge on all they can drink milk. I don't separate at night to milk in the morning until they are at least 2-4 weeks old. By then, they're nibbling on other foodstuffs, so I don't feel as bad pulling them from their mother overnight.


Edited by Stacykins - 12/15/15 at 8:11am

My backyard flock: Five Araucana girls, two Araucana boys, and seven Magpie ducks.

 

Mini Yooper Goats and Other Critters

My website for my Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Araucana Chickens, and Magpie Ducks

 

Reply

My backyard flock: Five Araucana girls, two Araucana boys, and seven Magpie ducks.

 

Mini Yooper Goats and Other Critters

My website for my Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Araucana Chickens, and Magpie Ducks

 

Reply
post #5 of 8

Great post, Stacykins! :thumbsup

 

Oh yes, there is nothing worse than trying to milk a Wild Child! So if you dam-raise (from hopefully tested does) handle them a LOT. I tie my goats up, every single day. Even the bucks. I have little feeding stations along the fence with a short piece of rope (about 18") and little bowls wired to the fence. Every morning, I feed everybody their grain in these little bowls while I clean the stalls and fill the waters and so on. The goats all get their fair share -  no bullies gobbling down the grain and then stealing it from everybody! Plus they learn to stand tied quietly which sure makes a big difference in the show ring - no stress to the goats, they are used to it. This also teaches them to lead pretty good. 

 

I actually enjoy handling them, I like to spend time with each goat. And yes, even the bucks in rut - and I raise Nubians, which are pretty big goats. I can handle my bucks even when they are in full rut and they are perfect gentlemen. But that takes time and commitment from me, no problems to me because I do love to spend time with them. 

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Wow!!  Thank you so much for the informative replies, I really appreciate that you took the time to write this up...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stacykins View Post
 


Once a week?  What I mean is that if I'm 15 minutes late for milking maybe once week is that bad?  Accidentally late? Obviously I'll try as hard as I can to be on time, I've read about the importance of that and how you'll loose production, etc.

Oh, yeah, I'm aware that they give milk for much longer.  Sorry for the confusion! :)

So basically what you're saying is that it just depends on the individual goat?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoomie View Post
 

Yes, if you want full production, you need to milk every 12 hours. There is a little wiggle room but if you wiggle too much you will lose the production... with milk it's supply and demand. If you aren't there to milk her out, she'll start to dry up. Once she has peaked in production (at about 8 weeks or so) you can start to milk less if you prefer. I will sometimes switch them to once a day milking, once they start coming down from their peak. 

 

Goats can have a disease called CAE. It stands for Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis. This is a retro-virus, sort of like AIDS, so they don't always show symptoms and can be silent carriers. They get it from their dam's milk. The way to break the cycle is to pull the kids the instant they are born, milk the doe and heat-treat the colostrum, and then raise the kids on pasteurized milk. I have sometimes seen goats that have the arthritic form, walking on their knees in a desperate attempt to keep up with the herd, because their feet hurt so bad they can't stand to walk on them. It can also cause hardened udders that gradually give less and less milk, and I am sure that this is painful for them too. You can blood test for this. There is a lab called Bio Tracking in Moscow, Idaho, and the test only costs $4.00 per goat. 

 

Because of that, I do not dam raise. I raise my kids by hand. This way I am assured that they will not get CAE, and there are other benefits. The dam gets milked out evenly; if you have a singleton kid, they might only nurse on one side, and the other side might dry up or worse, get mastitis. Either way, that can be hard on the doe. But if YOU do the milking, they are milked out nice and even. The kids also make better dairy goats as they are real used to people and are very easy to handle. I show my goats and when I am hand raising them it's a lot easier for me to start handling them to train them for the show ring. So for me, this is the best way to do it. 


Okay, thank you for telling me about CAE.  We will definitely test for that.  At any rate, I'm assuming 4-H would make me anyway.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stacykins View Post
 

 

Ahh, good of you to mention CAE! It is an excellent thing to test for. In addition to testing for CAE, I also test my herd for CL (Caseous Lymphadenitis) and Johne's Disease. CL and Johne's both live in the soil for years and can devastate a herd. CL is pass on through ruptured abscesses (these can form internally, and sometimes cannot be seen, but most of the time they are near major lymph nodes in the neck/face and other areas) and Johne's is passed through the feces.

 

Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab (WADDL) can test for all three diseases off a single red top tube of blood using their Caprine Biosecurity Screen. A veterinarian does not need to submit the blood samples, they accept owner submitted samples (and they give assistance if the paperwork is gets a little confusing).

 

My dam raised kids are just as friendly with people as bottle kids. That is because I am hands on from the day they are born. Some people ignore dam raised kids and leave them in the field, so they become wild. This is not the case with a responsible breeder doing dam raising. I feel it is best for the kids to have constant access to their mother's milk tap, and they grow huge on all they can drink milk. I don't separate at night to milk in the morning until they are at least 2-4 weeks old. By then, they're nibbling on other foodstuffs, so I don't feel as bad pulling them from their mother overnight.


Okay, thank you for the advice!  I'll definitely have to test for that

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoomie View Post
 

Great post, Stacykins! :thumbsup

 

Oh yes, there is nothing worse than trying to milk a Wild Child! So if you dam-raise (from hopefully tested does) handle them a LOT. I tie my goats up, every single day. Even the bucks. I have little feeding stations along the fence with a short piece of rope (about 18") and little bowls wired to the fence. Every morning, I feed everybody their grain in these little bowls while I clean the stalls and fill the waters and so on. The goats all get their fair share -  no bullies gobbling down the grain and then stealing it from everybody! Plus they learn to stand tied quietly which sure makes a big difference in the show ring - no stress to the goats, they are used to it. This also teaches them to lead pretty good. 

 

I actually enjoy handling them, I like to spend time with each goat. And yes, even the bucks in rut - and I raise Nubians, which are pretty big goats. I can handle my bucks even when they are in full rut and they are perfect gentlemen. But that takes time and commitment from me, no problems to me because I do love to spend time with them. 


Okay.  This would be important for me, as we plan on selling the kids.  Thanks, I appreciate it!

post #7 of 8

Fifteen minutes one way or the other in milking time is not going to make a difference.  BTW, although I have never tried it, I have known several people over the years who milked their goats just once a day. They said they got almost as much milk on once a day milking as they did on twice a day.  Obviously, you cannot do this on a high producing doe that is just fresh. A lot depends on your goat.  I am not suggesting you do this, but it worked for them.

The obscure we understand eventually. 
The obvious takes a little longer.
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The obscure we understand eventually. 
The obvious takes a little longer.
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post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by cassie View Post
 

Fifteen minutes one way or the other in milking time is not going to make a difference.  BTW, although I have never tried it, I have known several people over the years who milked their goats just once a day. They said they got almost as much milk on once a day milking as they did on twice a day.  Obviously, you cannot do this on a high producing doe that is just fresh. A lot depends on your goat.  I am not suggesting you do this, but it worked for them.

Yes, this is what I do, but they have to be coming down from their peak for it to work well at least in my operation. Keep track of milk produced. I keep a hanging scale on my milkstand. When I see those numbers start to go down, I know I will be more successful in switching them. (Remember, they are not machines. They will go up and down as they cycle, so make SURE your numbers are going down.) Go slow at first. Do every other day. Then by the time a week has passed I normally can milk once a day, with no discomfort to my doe. But be sure to check the udders at night - they depend on you totally, so make sure you are there for them. I have seen does that have such a will to milk that even once not milking them and they will get mastitis! Not fair to the goat! She can't help her genetics... but YOU can help her, by checking to make sure she is OK. If you HAVE to milk out a little to relive pressure, don't put her on the stand... which will trigger a let-down... just milk a few squirts out onto the ground.

 

So in my operation, I generally kid in Feb. because that is the most convenient month for me to start kids on the lambar, caprine feeder/what have you. There is a dairy goat show here in June which I try to make. By July, they are coming down from their peak and I can switch to once a day until the end of November. Then they are dried up to wait for next year's kids. 

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