Dairy Goats are goats raised for the purpose of milk production. Goat milk has long been a staple product for people who suffer from allergies, and in recent years the demand for additional goat products, including soaps, cheese and lotions has added to the market for dairy goat products.
Total goat milk per day is one quart or 7 gallons a month. Therefore if your doe is pregnant, then her milk will continue to dry up and at 10 months you should stop milking.
If your doe is not pregnant, she may continue to produce milk for up to 2 years. It really just depends on the individual goat.
Goat milk is used to make cheese, butter, ice cream, yogurt and body products. Goat milk is naturally emulsified.
Choosing the Right Breed of a Dairy Goat
The first step to raising dairy goats for milk production is to learn about the different standard dairy goat breeds. Although there are hundreds of goat breeds, only a handful are commonly used for dairy goats.
Alpines, Saanens, Oberhalsis, and Toggenburgs all originated in the Swiss mountains and are very adaptable to cooler climates and less-than-perfect conditions.
La Mancha and Nubian goats have more tropical origins and do well in hot summers.
Milking a goat is a fairly easy process, especially if you learn hands-on from an experienced farmer. Many feed grain to the does during milking time. It’s important to keep milking time consistent.
You’ll either milk once or twice a day, about 12 hours apart. Of course, you’ll need to make sure your milking equipment and area are clean, and that you are able to chill the milk as soon as you’ve milked the goat.
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Goat’s milk is naturally homogenized because the fat globules are smaller than those in cow’s milk. The cream will not separate in goat’s milk, making butter and cream difficult to make.
However, goat’s milk products are creamy and smooth because of these small fat globules.
Managing Milk of Goat Milk
Your does will need to be bred once a year. Does should be 8 months old or at least 80 pounds (unless a small breed) before being bred.
Typically, does are bred in the fall. Does come into heat for three days every 17 to 21 days. Keep does separated from your buck until they come into heat. And once bred, they should be separated again, or the milk may taste off.
Kidding, or giving birth, typically happens about 150 days after breeding. Does often have twins and sometimes triplets. After birth, the doe will freshen, or begin to produce milk. If she is continuously milked, she will lactate for up to 10 months.
Does should be allowed to dry up for at least two months after a run of milk production before being bred again.
Goats produce so much milk that you can allow the kids to nurse and still take what’s left over. Most goat farmers confine the kids overnight after they are 2 weeks old and milk in the morning. After the morning milking, the kids can nurse on demand.
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