Hand milking 101 please...long with a lot of questions

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by kidsngarden, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

    This is my third year hand milking and I think I must be doing something wrong. Neither one of my does are milking to thier full potential. I think it has a lot to do with timing. I have a schedule that ideally it's best for me to milk at 10 AM and 10PM. I am usually withing 1/2 hour of those times every day BUT sunday. Sunday I have church from 9-12 and I have to be there early to practice the piano and accompany the choir so I leave the house at about 7:30 so that's a 6 am milking then I milk again at around 7 or 8 to try to get them back into the 10 and 10 schedule. so question #1 is how much does timing affect production?

    I know feed has a lot to do with it too. I feed Alfalfa pellets free choice, for milkers grain is on the milkstand as much as they will eat during milking (COB), sweetlix loose minerals (which they don't seem to eat much of), and all the browse they can possibly eat - hay in the winter. They are given rain water to drink, well if the barrels are out, but our well water is NASTY so I try to always have rain water available. Let me know if that all sounds ok.

    As far as actual milking I milk by hand until Madam's (alpine) teats are flat, like a empty glove. should I be stripping? - I've heard mixed opinions on that. Capella (nubian) can keep on going with little squirts forever, she never flattens out. How do I milk More out of maddy to increase production when she goes flat?

    I am only getting about a little less than 3/4 gallon a day (it's been awhile since I weighed it) out of each of them. I just brought Maddy home this spring from ID and have never gotten her over the 3/4 gallon a day and I know she was at Tracey's. Capella was milking a full gallon after kidding, but then she had two bouts of illness and I haven't been able to get her back up. how can I improve?

    I have this sinking feeling you all are going to tell me that it's a timing issue :/ My only alternative would then be 5 AM and 5 PM and I am NOT a morning person. Evening activities always interfere with 6 and 6 or 7 and 7. And then there's the farmer's market every Wednesday that is 3-7 PM so that messes up everything - the main reason I picked 10 and 10.

    Wordy and lot's of questions I know, but your help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

    anyone you could hire for the Sunday morn milking?? but don't exspect to better anyones production this year. moving a doe always makes for less milk at your house. think even if you change hrs on Sunday you still won't get back to top performance until next season. JMO

  3. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Guest

    You moved one and the other got sick they are not going to be giving full production this year. I don't think your Sunday milking times is that big of a deal. It is not ideal but I think they would adjust without dropping too much. If you really want to try to get more milk from them this year try milking three times a day when you can. When did they freshen?

  4. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

    Oh gosh - you'd have to ask Tracy when Madam Freshened - I forgot - so has she probably since she sold her... Capella freshened in May.

    Well I'm glad it's about the illness and moving. In January church moves to 1-4 (we rotate every year) which will be WAY easier so timing should be fab.

    The milk we are getting is fine enough - except for the goaty after 2 days thing (thanks for responding to that Christy) - but the amount is good for us.

    Thank you!
  5. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

    I agree with Christy, you moved one and the other was ill. They both will be milking much better next fresheneing. 3/4ths of a gallon the rest of the year is certainly nothing to sneeze at! I also milk at 10am and 10pm...except when life happens and I milk at midnight, or 6:30 pm right before dark and right before the June bugs are out. Vicki
  6. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

    3/4 a gallon a day is ok? Well then I won't feel too bad...

    So how do you keep your girls milk up when you take them to shows and things?

    Midnight milkings - oh I have done plenty of those. I don't have electricity out there either so my headlamp has become my best friend! all this time I've been feeling like the failed goat farmer who can't work her life around the milking schedule. It was my dirty little secret.... :lol
  7. paulaswrld

    paulaswrld New Member

    I have a feeling that it is a dirty BIG secret....I would bet that more of us have the same problem now and again than not. I just believe that my girls know that I am coming and that I would never really forget about them. Sometimes when I am late, and still need to do something before heading to the barn they will all line up, with those frosted ears and just bellow at me....at that point, I know I had better hurry.

  8. Truly

    Truly New Member

    yes 3/4 gallon is good. and yes, it'll be better next year. relax

    Okay, i'm dating myself with this one... pobodies nerfect.

    You do the best you can and the goats will live thru it.
  9. Sharpgoat

    Sharpgoat New Member

    Milking times is a big deal around here 10:00 to 10:00 is the norm around here.
    I have been getting to bed late so morning are slow and my barn is in the full sun starting around 4:00 and the temp it is real hot in there so I like the sun to set before I milk.
    I also don't like the girls eating there grain when the are so hot it just makes me worried.
  10. rg1950

    rg1950 New Member

    The milking time being off on sunday has never effected us. We usually milk at 9A and 9P, except on Sunday mornings where we milk at 7A. We notice a small (1 to 1.5 pint) less in the AM and it is made up for in the PM milking. I don't think the Sunday change is the problem. We did get 2 does who decreased slightly after we bought them and they were moved, but it picked back up after a couple of weeks and their stress levels went down. I agree with everyone else, it will be better at next freshening. Stress will cause a goat to milk less. Do everything you can to keep them stress free. We spent a lot of extra time with our newbies until they were best friends with all their new companions.
    Tara Green
    Green Acres Goats Farm
    "The Place to Buy"
  11. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Member

    Bethany, Madam freshened at the beginning of February, so she is coming up on 6 months already.

    But yeah, what everyone else said.....whenever you move a milker, she is going to drop production on you. Two of the older girls I brought in from Jonathan's this year are down to once a day milkings already. They just aren't even making enough for it to matter. She'll pick back up for you next spring.

    Honestly, we vary quite a bit on our weekend milking times -- they seem to handle it just fine.

  12. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

    Thanks for chiming in Tracy! Madam is really a wonderful goat and we are so glad to have her! They are all doing so well! I think next year will be a very good year milk wise for us!

    I'm glad to hear other people still vary on time (sometimes anyway) and it's ok. Good to know.

  13. mill-valley

    mill-valley New Member

    I don't think the timing has anything to do with it. I "try" to aim for between 8-10 am and 6-8 pm, but I am not on a consistent schedule. I wake up when the baby wakes up, and then do chores, at night it depends what's going on. Maybe my does would milk a bit better if I could be consistent...but they are not too shabby as it is, all between 10-12 lbs/day excluding FF's. If something comes up...well, when I was in the hospital my dh milked 3 am and 5 pm, and they still milked about the same per day. You just get more milk when over 12 hours and less when under, if that makes any sense. All adds up about the same.

    I agree with the stress factor though...seems like it sometimes doesn't take much to drop but takes forever to come back up again.

    Also, most of my older does milk out flat like a glove too, the FF's not so much.