Long Lactations-Genetics or breeds?

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by baileybunch, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. baileybunch

    baileybunch New Member

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    I have a grade Alpine doe (family milk goat) who I have been milking for 18 months now. I didn't breed her last fall. She gave more but as her lactation progressed, she settled with a consistent 3/4 gallon per once a day milking. She is bred now and will be dried off in a few months.

    Wanting to maintain a small family milk goat herd and not having to breed every year is appealing to some.

    My friend (who owns a few La Manchas) is VERY interested in Alpines because of their long lactations. Because of my limited experience in goats, I can't say that this is an Alpine trait. I am wondering if it is just an individual, unique quality or if it is breed specific or if it is genetics. I haven't had any other Alpines freshen yet to compare.

    Compared to the LaMancha doe I have, this doe is far more consistent and gives much more milk. But that could just be the goats.

    What are your ideas on this?
     
  2. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho New Member

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    In my herd, yes it seems to be a trait. Agatha and her offspring do well not so much with pulling huge daily numbers (though she's had a few of those this year) but by consistently milking -- at 305 days when we did her last test, she still milked 10#. I have no doubt that we could easily milk her through if we chose to.

    I think there is certainly a genetic link, and also management plays into long lactations.

    Tracy
     

  3. Kaye White

    Kaye White New Member

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    I think it's genetics and not just by breed. My Oberhasli would gladly just keep on milking and is really hard to dry up. So are two of my Toggs, sisters. I've also got a saanen here that has been milking for 2 years and owner wants her bred...working on that.
    Kaye
     
  4. baileybunch

    baileybunch New Member

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    Thanks. Tracy, Agatha is an Alpine, right? And, Kaye, are your breeds what would be considered part of the "Swiss" breeds? Is this a "Swiss" trait (genetic or otherwise)? What I am talking about is the steady, consistent production as well as the longevity.

    I am so new and still growing my herd, so I don't have any comparisons really. What I have experienced is that the La Mancha doe I have gives a lot of milk in early lactation and then tapers down to a minimal amount (a real "Bell Curve"). When breeding season/cold weather hits, she really goes down in production. I haven't milked her through the last two years as I dried her up and bred her both of those years. But I can see it probably isn't going to even be worth it to try to keep her going. I get less and less milk each day. The Alpine doe has just been a steady producer all this time. I'm sorry to say I sold her only doe kid in August! Derr! And this is why I have bred her this fall. Otherwise I was considering just milking her until she didn't give anymore!

    I can't wait to see how my purebred Alpines produce for us when they freshen in March! If they become consistent or if they have a sharp decrease.

    I look forward to more replies. :D
     
  5. Kaye White

    Kaye White New Member

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    Yes, they are considered *Swiss*. ?? But, I've also known of Nubians and Lamanchas that milk through. A friend of mine milked a P.Nubian for 4 years before she finally decided she needed a kid out her. :lol She died as a 8 yr. old, 2nd freshener. (dog attack) But, she wasn't interested in showing just the house milk. The doe would go down to 1/2 gal about Dec. (always milked twice a day) and by March she would come back up to just shy of a gallon. I was amazed by this does "will to milk" and the friend thought nothing of it. :really
    Kaye
     
  6. Bilrite Farms

    Bilrite Farms New Member

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    I would say in our herd we see this more as an individual or line trait. We have several lines of Alpines that show a tremendous will to milk and are very difficult to dry up and a couple other does who are glad to quit milking when we ask them to. As for just Swiss breeds - BlissBerry Nubians has some phenomenal milkers, both Nubian and LaMancha and has several does there that are still milking around 12lbs a day! I don't see it as much in our Nigerians but there are a couple of lines that also like milk, or at least like getting their grain. The NDs seem to vary a bit yet compared to the other breeds that have been selected for milk for decades though, but I think that they will get there. So my two cents would be it is a combination of genetics and management that produce these wonderful milkers.

    Trisha
     
  7. baileybunch

    baileybunch New Member

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    Okay! I'm so glad to hear that this isn't a "Swiss" exclusive trait! And yes, I see in my Clover that she is very willing to milk for us. But she is also a very sweet, happy, easy to work with, goat. We also thought her willing desire could be attributed to being bottle-raised by us. Any thoughts about that? And yes, she did go up in production during the spring and now decreasing slightly...only a cup or two less than her norm.

    Thanks for the great dialog! I love growing in wisdom!
     
  8. Dreen

    Dreen New Member

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    I have several Alpines that are very willing to milk. One Alp/Togg cross that I milked for 2 1/2 years plus straight and she gave about 6 pounds steadily after the about 10 pound rush at the beginning of her lactation. Finally I bred her and dried her off in hopes of getting a doeling from her. We got two does out of her and we have kept them in our herd. I did sell one doeling from her this spring...she's only had three in her life. She is our best long distance milker. She is also a cowbag as far as attitude goes. We're milking three through the winter and not breeding them and she is one of those. My other does will continue to want to milk, but their production decreases more than this does.

    I know that the "british" Alpines were bred for longevity of lactation. They wanted to freshen a doe once or twice in her lifetime and milk her continually. I have a few that just dry up easily after breeding. Since they are all Alpines, I can only presume it is genetics at play somewhere in the lineage. My management is the same for all of them, yet their productive lactation lengths vary.
     
  9. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    I also think it is management. How many milkings have you missed or uddered them up instead of milking to show them? I think some milk sporatically and don't empty udders. I also know alot have nutritional programs that are very poor and sporatic also, goats hate change.

    In Lamanchas it makes a great deal of difference who they came out of. Ours when we dairied where crosses out of Sannens that Lon Duff Acres orginally raised. Our girls milked, and many were such pains about drying up, and with soo much colostrum for kids here, why bother.

    and I just won't let it go...................................

    With your LaMancha (the poor dear) having to live with an Alpine it's no wonder she is less than a wonderful milker :)

    With Alpines attitudes they had better at least milk :) Vicki
     
  10. Tricia

    Tricia New Member

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    All my Oberhasli are on extended lactations of 21-22 months (with one going on 30 months now and finally dropping in production in early pregnancy) with twice daily milkings. The only doe that isn't quite with the program in my bottle-raised herd queen (the only doe not dam-raised in the herd): although her dam was in the top 10 Oberhasli producers in 2004, Lea seems to be pre-occupied with things other than the Will-to-Milk. She's beautiful in conformation with lots of body capacity. She freshened for the third time this spring and has plummeted down to 5# per day at the moment -- kept hoping that subsequent freshenings would improve this. (In contrast, my yearling FFs are still in the 8#-9# per day range.) Lea's daughter Ellie, though, is the doe on month 30 (and out-milking her mother easily) and just loves the milking routine.
     
  11. baileybunch

    baileybunch New Member

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    :biggrin "With your LaMancha (the poor dear) having to live with an Alpine it's no wonder she is less than a wonderful milker With Alpines attitudes they had better at least milk Vicki"

    WELLL...acutally...this LM doe IS a beast! A real ear biter, too! Now I have heard that LM are sweet and docile but obviously THIS on has not heard the rumor! ;) And her doelings are LOUD and obnoxious! My Alpines are so much sweeter...to all.

    I do believe that management can be key also. I'm anxious to compare my ff does. I have two Alpine and one LM ff this Spring.
     
  12. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho New Member

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    Susie, the Lamancha does I had were just as bad. Sweet and docile my hiney! And the biting! It was like living with a bunch of piranhas! I still have does with chunks out of their ears from them.
    I don't know where the supposed sweet ones were when I was buying stock, but I sure didn't get any! :/ My Alpines heaved a big sigh of relief when the last one left! :biggrin

    Now that said, they were pretty good milkers, though I never kept them long enough to really develop them.

    Tracy
     
  13. Cotton Eyed Does

    Cotton Eyed Does New Member

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    Hey, Hey now... no Alpine bashing. :O I've seen some nubians with some nasty attitudes. ;)
     
  14. baileybunch

    baileybunch New Member

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    Thanks for all of the great dialog about this topic. I really appreciate each response. It's so good to learn. I really enjoy the responses. Very interesting. I am looking forward to diving into the ADGA website to see what I can learn from there...following bloodlines, LA scores. It's a whole new world opening up to me as I learn! :biggrin
     
  15. Odeon

    Odeon New Member

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    I could not agree MORE with Vicki's words of Wisdom. I bet if you took all of the top 10 milkers and randomly placed them in other herds, with different management, they would not remain top 10. You not only BREED for extended lactations, you have to FEED for them!

    Ken
     
  16. Kaye White

    Kaye White New Member

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    :biggrin Absolutely, Ken! I consider feed management one of those EVERYDAY challenges. I figure if the genetics are there....push the right buttons and you get to see exactly what that doe is capable of. ;)

    Ok...so it's an obsessive compulsive disorder...but it can be a real challenge, too.
    Kaye
     
  17. Corky

    Corky New Member

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    Hey woman! Do I have to come down there and whoop up on you?

    Your first paragraph sounds like you are saying that we have long lactation milking because we may not be taking good care of our goats. I know you don't mean that but thats what I thought you were saying at first. Couldn't be though.

    AND...... That last crack about the lamancha having to live with an Alpine....WHAT IS THAT????
    Yep! I need to take you out behind the barn for a good talk! There is NOTHING wrong with my alpines attitude either. They are JUST like me..SWEET!!!! :biggrin
     
  18. Corky

    Corky New Member

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    Vicki! I had smilies all through my post but It would not let me post with them in there. :sigh
     
  19. DostThouHaveMilk

    DostThouHaveMilk New Member

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    I know my does are not pushed or fed to their genetic potential when it comes to milking.
    JayJay, the Alpine I am currently drying up has the potential to be a wonderfully heavy milker. I just don't have the discipline, nor the need, for all that milk.

    It is amazing how quickly milk production can drop if you are not consistent.
    I know better than I do. :D
     
  20. There was a study done by the Univ of Minn back in the 1960 with holstien cattle. They used the the top 20 bulls of the feb proof in 1960. Kept that line pure to those bulls(control group) and then used the top the bulls of the present time on the other group. After 40 years of breeding them that way, they just found that the amount of milk between the different groups was just under 100 pounds.

    All the cows was under the same managment and the only difference was the genetic make up of the cows. They was either present day bulls or they was the top bulls of the 1960 starting group. With this they found that really is was just about 15% genetic with the production of milk. With the other 85% coming from management. This study has been done at other Univ but never on this long of term...since the 1960 cows are about -3500 pounds of milk on the predigrees. But, are milking the same as the modern day cow.

    That is why you should look at the DHIA papers and see what the Herd Mate devation on the animal. That shows what she is milking compared to the others in the herd. The animal in question might have a big record but, does not mean anything if the herd average is high. As a rule of thumb...if they milk poorly in one herd they will milk poorly in another herd.

    ken