Making the Switch to Once-A-Day Milking


Tracy HouptMy milk goat and I have been transitioning to once-a-day (OAD) milking this past week. I was nervous about it, but we’re six days into the process, and it seems to be going well. Of course if you could get Focus’s opinion, she might disagree. She’s getting less grain and carrying a heavier load in her udder! Here’s why I decided to do this, and how I’ve approached it.

The reasons:

1. Focus is a highly productive Sable Saanen dairy doe, and with twice a day milkings, she gives a bit more than a gallon a day. We drink some, I use it for baking and cooking, I make ricotta cheese, and I have lots in the freezer for making soap. Even with that, the chickens, cats, and dogs were still sharing a half gallon every day.

2. No matter how much I enjoy my farm chores, it was starting to feel a bit restrictive to know that I had to be here every evening by 7 p.m. Even farmers need a social life!

3. A dairy goat eats quite a bit of grain while she’s on the milkstand, to support the demands of lactation. OAD milking cuts down some on that expense.


2/11/2016 2:24:12 AM

Switching to once a day milking when production drops below half the peak production worked for us when we had cut back to one or two milkers. When milking 20 it wasn't practical except to start the process of starting to dry a doe up before her next birthing. Something to consider about letting the kids nurse is the type and sturdiness of the does udder. A high firm udder with well formed teats will usually fare better but a long pendulous udder may suffer when the kids get older and rougher about butting the udder to get more milk. When they get too rough is usually when the doe will inforce weaning them and this my shorten the length of her lactation. When you are raising the kids that is going to take half the milk which cuts back on the surplus. It is easy to start kids drinking from a pan when they are newborn just start them sucking on on your finger and bring it down into the milk and gradually work your finger out of their mouth. We never had a failure starting them on a pan. It is wise to start with a shallow depth so that they do not dive in and get milk in there lungs. they will soon learn to drink with their nostrils above the surface. We found it an advantage that they would want to drink milk out of a bucket when adults but a big problem when they would try to nurse as adults. When we would have them at the fair there we could only drink so much ourselves but the rest we could feed back to the does which reduced there stress from travel and the crowds. I am 75 now and do not have any goats now but I started reading your blog for the memories. I hope sharing my experience will help you prosper.

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