Milk Production Decreasing

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by Montana Mama, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. Montana Mama

    Montana Mama New Member

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    We had our first kids on July 4th and Barli (one of our nubians) has produced beautiful milk. Since two months after giving birth, her milk is decreasing every day. She was easily producing 10 C plus per day for quite a while and now wer're between 4-8 C. I think this was her first time kidding but I'm not sure. Could she just be giving less milk because it's new to her? Does this mean she'll always do this and go dry in a few months? Is this normal for first time moms?
     
  2. Laverne

    Laverne New Member

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    Welcome to the forum. What is her diet, how much and type of grain, and is alfalfa used?. What wormer is used and your schedule on that, a one time worming or 3 times 10 days apart? Have you had a fecal analysis for worms? Are you copper bolusing and do you feed minerals?
     

  3. Montana Mama

    Montana Mama New Member

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    Thanks. I'm relatively new to this (we got the goats in Feb. when our neighbors died in a house fire and they needed to find homes for their animals) and I've had to get almost all my info. from reading which I've been doing a lot of. The goats are certainly easier to handle than our pigs, but tougher than the chickens. (The goats are at least 300 yards away from the pigs and 50 from the chickens so I don't think there could be any problems from them) I have been feeding 3 way with molasses for concentrate (this is what the lady who did their blood testing said she uses for hers and she has 6 nubian milkers and breeds nubians for sale). I started by weighing the milk she gives, splitting that weight in half and giving her half the weight in grain. At this point I've only decreased her grain a little in response to her drop in production so I'm sure I'm feeding her more than half the weight in grain now. I'm afraid to decrease it more though, because I don't want her milk to decrease anymore. We have been feeding them alfalfa/clover hay. It's very grassy and hardly any stems. I use Safe-Gaurd (fenbendazole) for goats for wormer. I contacted the manufacturer and one of their vets said it should be used 2 times/year. I gave the first dose July 4th, but I only gave 1. I live up in northern Montana and I've been told that a lot of the worm problems are not so prolific up here. I've never had a fecal analysis done and I don't even know what a copper bolus is for. We give them salt and baking soda, but were told to avoid the mineral licks because the soil quality here has what they need and you can actually poison your goats giving them a mineral lick. This is all I know or have been told. I'm just confused. Last night I went out to milk her and only got 1 C. I figured it was all over, but this morning I got almost a quart. Sometimes I think she's holding back but I don't know how that's possible. Thanks for your response.
     
  4. Caprine Beings

    Caprine Beings New Member

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    Hi Tricia and welcome to the forum:)
    First off a goat cannot meet their mineral needs from a salt lick, all they do is lick and lick and lick. They need a loose mineral with a higher copper sulfate and selenium count than you think. Your hay sounds like a really good hay and should be provided 24/7, otherwise known as freechoice. Copper bolusing is where you get copper oxide in a gel cap and get it to the goat orally. I would watch you goats coat and tail for telltale signs, you can find this information in the Copper section. De-wormers, there are several you can use but safeguard is not going to work on all the worms. Ivermectin, Ivermectin plus, Cydectin and others are needed for specific worm loads. A microscope will tell you what worms you have and you can adminster which ever de-wormer fits that particular problem, this is called fecaling. It truly is the best way to know your worm load is under control.

    It is normal to some extent for does to slack off abit after they have reached a peak. They are going to rise in milk production, peak and then level off. Should there be a continuation in decline then seriously look at your feeding management. Maybe the grain she is getting is not all its cracked up to be. This is my suspected area.
    There are sections in DGI 101 that are there for you to read and access for your herd management.
    I hope this helped some.
    Tam
     
  5. Drycreek goats

    Drycreek goats New Member

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    Welcome to the board.So much good info here.Not many of us Montana people here.I have mutt goats but they raise alot of good calves and lambs for us .Not to forget the barn cats and theborder collie.Tammy
     
  6. Montana Mama

    Montana Mama New Member

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    Well, now I'm not sure about the minerals. The ag supply stores cautioned us against giving them salt with minerals (selenium specifically but they didn't mention copper by name) because the soil here is so rich with it that the local hay would have plenty and it could be harmful to give them more. They said some goats have been poisoned from overdose. Are the minerals available in another form than the mineral lick? The ag supply people said the problem with that is they'd have to get more minerals than they need in order to consume enough salt. I'm assuming that it's like the baking soda and they'll eat only what they need if it were available apart from the salt? I will do some reading on the copper to see what it's for and what signs of deficiency are. We do free feed the hay. Thanks for the ideas.

    I knew she would decrease in her production but I didn't think it would happen so fast. I was hoping to get closer to 10 months of milk than 3. I'm hoping it could also be because she's younger?
     
  7. NPgoats

    NPgoats New Member

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    Welcome Tricia to the forum. When I started out with goats I had many of the same questions you are asking. I read as much as I could read in a day on every book I could get my hands on. I found that this forum helped me the most and that most of the advise I got from the feed store and AG wasn't accurate. All I can tell you is make this forum home for a while and read, read, read, and ask questions. Everyone here is helpful and very friendly.
    Linda
     
  8. Little Moon

    Little Moon New Member

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    Welcome. You will find this forum a wealth of information. I too found that most of the info I got from the Ag store to be wrong. Many people lump goats in with sheep when they are handing out advice and that just could not be farther from the truth. Goats need copper and copper can kill a sheep. Check with either your county extension agent or local vet about selinium levels in your local soil and hay. I actually live in a selenium toxic area and don't use Bo-Se, however the majority of the forum members swear by Bo-Se. As for minerals, you can find loose minerals (consistancy of sand) specifically formulated for goats. Many of the forum members are from Texas and the brand they use (BluBonnet) is not available in Wyoming. Many feed stores carry Purina products and they have a pretty good goat mineral. I use Right Now Onyx by Cargill - it is for cattle, but the goats like it.

    Anne
     
  9. Montana Mama

    Montana Mama New Member

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    Thanks for the info. I'll contact the extension office to see what the selenium levels are here and see about getting some loose minerals.
     
  10. Rose

    Rose New Member

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    I hope your extension office is better than mine. It's USELESS!

    Can you find another dairy goat person in your area to be a mentor?

    Take VERY fresh goat poo berries to the vet and get a fecal analysis done. Soon.
     
  11. Hollybrook

    Hollybrook New Member

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    Welcome to DGI. I have a FF thats doing the same thing but i know my de-worming, feed, minerals and hay are up to par and thats the fact jack so Im attributing it to FF and possibly coming onto heat tis the season so watch for tale tail signs and decreased production is a biggie. also consider some goats can milk milk milk and milk I have a 3 y/o she's on her 18th month yet some goats can only go 3 mos and go ca-putski what ever you do becareful its easy to read all this info and self diagnos and end up making her ill or even killing your goat just be dam skippy you know what your doing before dumping a bunch of stuff into them. Maybe ask your niehbor what she fed and thinks first? and your AG store was right bout Bo-se though it can be fatal Ive mentioned it to 5 Doctors up at Auburn Univeristy and they all tell me the same thing NO NO NO NO and did I say NO it's a bad idea to give but they also preach abouit pasturizing so go figure :crazy Welcome to the wild and wonderful world of Dairy Goats!

    Best regards
    David Morehead
     
  12. Montana Mama

    Montana Mama New Member

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    Well, I really appreciate all of your info. The lady who helped us get started and has all the goats is really hard to get hold of and I think she's tired of answering my questions.

    On the plus side, I think we've figured out what's causing the milk fluctuations! Evidently, one of the kids - who we only bottle fed - has figured out how to nurse and was reaching her head through the fence. They're kept in separate but adjacent pens. We actually caught her at it today! I feel a bit silly, but what a relief. I don't think there's anything wrong with the goat. I do appreciate all the info. minerals and such. I feel like I know better how to care for them now. Thank you!
     
  13. Caprine Beings

    Caprine Beings New Member

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    A KEG TAPPER! :rofl Oh yeah sure will mess with your milk production:)

    Yes BoSe can be fatal, if you give them far more than they need. Unlike some others on here, then again like others...BoSe is one of the thing our goats need the most. Our area is extremely deficient in both selenium and copper. I have to give 1cc per 30lbs. I also have to bolus 4 times a year. After a couple of years of goats loosing hair, low milk production, floppy kids, and weight issues...I will not NOT give them what they need. Our worm levels are way down as well as our cocci. Guess what...I have three vets who are all in on this and feel I am competent. They have seen first hand the benefits. And our goats are still alive :biggrin
    Tam
     
  14. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    I know those in Wyoming and Montana who never worm or use cocci prevention in their kids, you don't really have the weather for parasite burdens in your soil. And it's why I teach fecal sampling, so you know, you don't waste money on wormers that don't work or that are not needed.

    She is milking well for a doe on sweet feed and grass hay. I would bet your 3 way is like our COB, and is rarely over 11% protein, so with low protein in her hay and browse and the feed, she is milking fine. If you choose to want to increase her milk over what she is giving now you can improve her minerals, improve her hay or simply add alfalfa pellets (depending upon cost and if you can store hay) but it won't likely improve this lactation, it will improve her lactation next year. The older nubians get the more kids they have, the more body they have, without calcium at least in the form of loose minerals you will eventually have problems with hypocalcemia (Sue Reith has excellent articles on it in goatkeeping 101) so think about adding alfalfa hay or 3 pounds of alfalfa pellets to her diet each day, in fact just with that you likely will see a little more milk in a few days, a doe carrying more flesh. With as cold as you get in the winter also learn about the whole roughage issue and just to show you how different some of your info you got is from what you will learn here....one of my does is milking 9 pounds, when first fresh in Feb until the first of July she was milking 15 pounds, do you really think I would even let her, or that she could eat 1/2 that in pounds of grain? It would kill her. Roughage first, improve your hay or add alfalfa pellets to her barn....then give her grain on the milkstand. For you good quality roughage is what will keep her warn during the winter. I am not a huge fan of molassas as you will see when you read on the forum. Vicki
     
  15. goatkid

    goatkid New Member

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    Welcome. I live in Boulder, MT and have been raising Nubians for ten years now. You didn't say what part of Northern Montana you live in, but there are some good feeds available in the state. If you get to Great Falls, there is a feed mill there by the name of Westfeeds. Billings also has Westfeeds, but they don't carry the lactation pellets. I go there to buy 16% goat lactation pellets. They also make a good goat mineral. Saada uses it in their herd and they have beautiful. healthy goats. I use either Westfeeds or Right Now Onyx. The Murdoch's store near me carries the Onyx. Westfeeds also makes medicated goat developer pellets I feed to my doelings and bucks. It has AC so the bucks don't get urinary stones. My goats have never had any problems overdosing on selenium with the mineral I feed. I don't routinely give BoSe like folks in the south so, but I do give it to weak kids and also some of the does prebreeding. No one has had a toxic reaction to it. Here, we don't need Cydectin yet, but we also know not to use Safeguard. We worm mostly with Ivermectin and also use Valbazen on non bred goats. Montana has some really nice alfalfa hay available. I get mine from a man in Toston.
    I'm glad you found out why your milk has been fluctuating. I also notice mine fluctuate a bit with the wildly fluctuating weather we can get here, but my Nubians usually produce 8-10 months before I dry them up. If you would like my phone number, you can PM me. I don't mind calls from goat people. I do have a job in Helena, but am home in the morning and late evening. Kathie