Milking goats will of course be on your list of farm chores if you are breeding dairy goats. In order to keep your milk production in tip top shape, you'll need to know what causes decreased milk production in goats. And, if you experience a decrease, way of increasing milk production in goats.
Keep reading below for all the milk maximizing tips.
If you are milking your goats that means that you will be breeding your goats as well! Make sure to have a solid goat breeding plan before getting started.
Causes of Decreased Milk Production in Milking Goats:
There are several reasons that your goats might have decreased milk production - some are normal and inevitable while others could mean that your goats need some change or attention. So, let's review, shall we?
1. Time since freshening
When a goat first kids (has babies), they will come into milk. Their milk production will slowly increase over the first few weeks as the babies grow and have a higher milk supply demand.
However, once the kids are of weaning age, eventually, the goats milk production will decrease naturally. This natural decrease in milk production usually occurs a few months (around 4 - 5) after kidding.
How to increase their production: Make sure to re-freshen your goats about once a year, assuming their health is good. Additionally, if you want milk year round, stagger when your goats kid so they are not all hitting maximum production at the same time.
This, in sort, goes hand in hand with the reason above. There will be less supply if there is less demand -- standard economic theory which also applies to goat milk.If you are milking goats only one time a day, for example, there will be less demand for them to produce and therefore a decrease in milk production.
How to increase milk production: If you increase to milking your goats twice or even three times a day, this increase in demand should increase their milk production.
3. Feed & Nutrition.
Producing milk is a heavy chore for your goats. It takes a lot of nutrients and a lot of their energy.
Therefore, if you see a decrease in milk production, you may want to take a look at their feed intake. Make sure they are getting enough feed and also make sure that feed is high quality.
Tips for increasing milk production: Alfalfa (either pellets, hay or both) is highly suggested for milking goats. Alfalfa is highly nutritious having high protein and high calcium. Making all that milk takes a lot of calcium!
Adding in other highly nutritious treats like beet pulp, high quality grain in addition to the alfalfa will help as well.
4. Parasites or other health issues.
As we have mentioned, producing milk is hard work. If your goat has a high parasite load or other health issue, there's a chance you'll experience decreased milk production.
It is recommended that you keep a check on parasites especially to be sure that your milking goats don't get an overload. If they do, you will need to choose the best goat dewormer and get rid of the worms.
Do note, that if you are drinking your goat milk, some dewormers have a withdrawl period where you will need to toss the milk.
Additional tips for increasing milk production in goats
In addition to the above, here are some additional tips to maximize the milk you get from your goats.
- Increased Water - make sure that your goats are well hydrated.
- High Quality Goats/Selective Breeding - make sure you are maintaining goats that are bred for high production over long lactations
- Age - first fresheners will produce less overall and as goats get much older they may produce less also
- Good quality Minerals - this increases their nutrition to ensure they have the nutrients required to produce milk
- Consistent Milking - milk two to three times everyday and try to do it at the same time each day.
Now that you know some of the causes of decreased milk production in milking goats, you can be sure to keep your girls in tip, top producing states! Drop us a comment below if you have any questions.
If you need more help getting your goat breeding running smoothly, check out The Ultimate Goat Breeding Planner - checklists, record sheets, supply lists and more to keep your breeding season going so you can enjoy the baby goats without worry.