So what is an acceptable amount of milk?

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by Kalne, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. Kalne

    Kalne New Member

    Reading the rising grain thread and I agree, we should be looking at culling the low producers and looking for/keeping the better milkers. So just what is a good producer? 12 pounds per day? But how long is that 12 pounds sustainable? If they only peak there and end up at 6 lbs for the long haul then are they good enough? I know our herd needs improvement in this area. Just wondering what we should be striving for.
  2. LMonty

    LMonty New Member

    great question! I wonder about that too, what it is I should be striving for.

    I assume there are breed differences as well as size differences- and that FF may have different expectations than a mature doe.

    Ive been thinking about the subject a bit myself, considering how I'd want I judge my minimum acceptable production if I was using production as a criteria for culling. My own first goal is to get the quality of milker that can earn a star. I would bet that many here have girls that exceed those expectations quite a bit, but that would be my guess as to what we who are building our herds might consider a good baseline.

    I'm guessing that for most dairy goats, theres a point of diminishing returns- where you can feed and push a bit more but you get a much lower percentage back for it. Thats one thing Ive never quite understood how to figure out. Is there any formula that you experienced folks use to judge this?

  3. Bella Star

    Bella Star New Member

    I am answering here in pitchers rather than pounds as it's easier for me ,cause I dont weigh mine but I do have my pitchers. My 4yr. old LaMancha doe easily gives 1 gal.+ a day and her daughter doe gives almost 1 gal. of wonderful milk :D
  4. whimmididdle

    whimmididdle Guest

    I had a conversation with Kaye last year about this. Since I milk ND's , it was hard for me to compare amounts when it comes to goat size. Here is what Kaye sent to me.; This should help you as you do the numbers individually.

    Not complicated. The milk/feed ratio is figured on goats at 1# of grain for
    every 3#'s of milk.
    You also take into account the freshening date. When they are at 2/2 and
    starting to get's time to decrease the grain amount. Milking tissue
    in the udder is replaced by fat when it shows on the outside of body. When I
    get a doe that's getting 2#'s of grain and I'm not getting 6#'s of milk(one
    milking)...I start looking at drying her off. Seldom do I let a doe get down
    to 1# of grain...It's not worth my time to run her through the milk line.
    Off feed and dried off.
    Swiss breeds for example should peak at about 3-4 mo. then SLOWLY start
    declining,whereas Nubians (Most) will have a fast peak and a fast drop off.

    Does that make any sense?
  5. Patty13637

    Patty13637 New Member

    Thanks , Whim.

    Now for me my girls better be close to a gallon a day. But then my Saanens are all kinda different. The newly fresh one is only about 140 , at 3 weeks fresh she is giving a little over 1 gallon

    . I have some close to 200 pounds. Now if that 200lber only gives 3/4 she might go . Alot more goat to feed and house so I expect more milk .

    Whim ....By the way I noticed your thread on the yahoo group. I have a Roseofsharin{spelling} doe bred to one of her bucks here for a few months. Depending on what she has i migh keep a baby or 2.

  6. New Member

    A milk star amount is very minimal, it's perhaps a good start in Nubians, but certainly isn't in swiss breeds, unless you are going for more of an alternative management, pasture only etc..

    Something I am playing with since I have older does who are fat, is I am going to see how much lactation I can get out of them with no grain. Alfalfa pellets, minerals, water, hay in the barn, and browze...I also improved pastures this last fall.

    Here it's more towards 1 pound of grain for 3 to 4 pounds milked, more towards the 4 in older does and the 3 in younger does. I cut all sorts of slack on the amount a young FF milkes but not on how long she milks it or the quality of her udder.

    I do hope with the crashing economy we don't start thinking more milk to the detriment of that high and tight udder. Vicki
  7. SherrieC

    SherrieC Active Member

    Wow, I don't think I'm feed ing Capulet enough grain at all then I've been feeding her 1 1/2 lbs morning and night and she's milking 6lbs morning and night. she's 3 beautiful this year!
  8. Tricia

    Tricia New Member

    My rule of thumb for FF: I like to be getting 6#-8# in early October (kiddings here are late March - April) and don't want them dipping much below 6# during estrus or the depth of winter. (Extended lactations here.)
  9. Jo@LaudoDeumFarm

    [email protected] New Member

    Something we have done with our little goats over the last few years is to give only a minimal amount of grain to the animals. We don't feed nearly as much grain as other folks around here. It's been mostly alfalfa hay, grass hay, alfy pellets and this year we got some teff hay to try as well. So my Kinder's and Niggies really only get a cup, and at the most a cup and a half of grain a day when they are milking. (About a cup when they are pregnant.) They milk well for us and I keep mine milking as long as possible on a diet that is mostly forage.

    We dropped grain for a while completely (a few years back), but then added it back again because it seemed like they needed the carbs.

    I think the alfalfa is the important part of the diet for the milkers, especially the heavy milkers. I wonder of the animals can adapt to having much less grain in thier diet. what would happen? Would they make slightly less milk? loose body condition? Or are there serious health consequences to having less carbs?

    Ultimately, with grain and hay going up so much I'm concentrating on does who give enough milk, but that aren't requiring lots of expensive feeds.
  10. ecftoggs

    ecftoggs New Member

    If I wanted to improve the amount of milk per doe, my first move would be to cull the bottom 10-20% milkers from my milking string. Consistently doing that would help me to select from my higher producers. Since we are also a show herd and there are qualities that we do not want to lose, we could still select proper type from the higher producers.
  11. Aja-Sammati

    Aja-Sammati Active Member

    Unless you are a great milker here, you don't get more than 1# per milking. Free choice alfalfa/grass hay. I want does that will at least earn their milk star on just that much grain. My girls don't milk as much as I would like, yet...if I fed them more grain?, but they do have high components, and milk a pretty good lactation curve. Peak at about 3 months and then slope off. We are really watching a second freshener this year that stayed steady almost her whole lactation last year- we'll see what her daughter is like this year.

    My problem is that I don't like the daughters from my best milker- they just aren't my kind of doe. :lol
  12. coso

    coso Guest

    What I like to see is a ff giving 6-8 lb a day at peak and still giving 3 to 6, 10 months later. Older does giving 10-12 lbs a day and at the end of 10 months still giving 7-9 lb a day. I agree with Vicki that we have to keep attachments and conformation first and foremost, but I also hate to go to a show and see a doe win that looks like she only gives 4lb a day. MHO
  13. mill-valley

    mill-valley New Member

    I really don't have expectations on FF's, especially yearlings. Reason being I've seen some freshen with a single, milk 4-6#/day the first year, and the next year freshen with twins or triplets and make 10-14#/day. Has happened with two in 3 years in my experience. I like to see 10-12#/day on my adult does but I do have one that's 4 yr old, 4th freshener, barely going 7#, freshened with twins and probably weighs 200#. She's first on my cull list.