Milk Goats every day?

emyers(8 SC)October 22, 2008

Do milk goats HAVE to be milked every day?

Is it possible to go away for the weekend leaving a goat or two unattended?

What happens if you don't milk the goats every day?

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If you don't milk them regularly they can develop mastitis.

Do you have some young kids (goat) that can suckle them? See if they will let them suckle and if they will only milk them part way each day and let the kids finish each day. This way it won't be a problem to leave them for a week end provided they have plenty of food and fresh water.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 12:14AM
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Hi emyers,

Google: do goats need to be milked everyday? click on Dairy goats: Anchoring your homestead with personality and Ice.

When I read this I thought I would pass it along - it may not answer your questions - but I got a real "kick" out of her how to on keeping goats and the milking routine! I thought you might get a good laugh.

I could just picture everything she was saying. Please do not take this post wrong - I just could not resist telling you about it - the humor was to good to pass up!

is that how it is with you? (her story)


    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 12:52AM
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emyers(8 SC)

I don't have any goats yet, but thinking about it (see below).
Am I understanding you/this correctly? Goats/mammals only produce the amount of milk that they are required to. So, when I milk a goat everyday, she's gonna give me everything she has and mastitis (is that where "tits" comes from) will not normally be a problem. However, if I don't milk on the weekend, then milk quantity will be reduced AND mastitis can become a problem. If however, I get some kids, both problems are eliminated because the kids will be milking (some) for me while we're away. Well, ok, if that's the case, it makes sense.

However, then I have 2 more animals that I need to take care of, plus, the kids grow up and eventually won't suckle, so then what do I do? Right now, I don't think I could slaughter/have slaughtered goats for meat etc, and I'm not currently interested in having numerous goats.

So, do I have any other options?

Any other ideas?

The most we would be gone is 2 days over the weekend, but there is a time of the year when we are gone about a week.... I could get a neighbor to check on them and feed them (trade horses for goats), but I'd be hard pressed to get them to milk my goats.

Is there anything I can do? FWIW, We really don't need a full gallon of milk a day. More like 2 gallons of milk a week (don't think my wife/myself is ready for making stuff like butter, cheese, yogurt etc YET so I can't factor that in. If it happens it happens and we'll work it in somehow).

From what I've read so far, it looks like I'll want 2 milking goats (no males) and to somehow work it so they come into milk on off cycles.

Oh, yeah, it was mentioned that goats hooves need to be trimmed in something I read. If they are allowed to range quite a bit, is this still required? We've had horses before, so I'm familiar with them but not with goats and their health requirements.

Any more thoughts?

That was definitely hilarious.
Well, no, it's not like at my place yet.
I haven't gotten the chickens yet that we have talked about in the past (different thread) but I do have my winter garden planted (if that counts, and a lot of space that could use some goats if it can make sense for me. I'm planning on getting my boys involved in 4H and saw that they have some programs revolving around goats, so thought this might be a good lead into it. Something I learned while reading your link was that only one person should milk the goat, so that complicates things somewhat (just trying to be realistic here).

Anyway, was just out looking around last night at cows, and realized they produced some ungodly amount of milk per day and goats were mentioned as about a gallon per day, and that goat milk was healthier, didn't need pastuerizing etc. so kept digging deeper and deeper and now I'm here.

My wife has shown interest in milking before (she was thinking a cow), but from what I'm reading, sounds like a goat could be more appropriate.

Just not so certain that she understands it would be an everday affair, and mornings are probably out of the question for her (at least in the winter because she's a teacher), but possibly in the evening if that can be worked.

We have PLENTY of space around here, so I guess the worst thing that could happen is the whole milking thing doesn't work out and we end up with a couple of goats, for cleaning up areas.

I really think my boys would enjoy having the goats around based on everything I've read so far.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 8:09AM
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The mastitis is when the utter becomes 'overfulled' and the milk begins to breakdown and cause an infection within the 'milk' ducts. You won't be able to use the milk until it clears up. If this condition develops they make a wonderful cream called Bag Balm for this condition. It is important to milk the utter dry several times a day to get the infection out.

The utter when milked each day to the maximum production level needs to be eased off if you want to dry-up the utter. Each day milking a little bit less, this may take a week to 10 days to do.

Have you though about getting neighbors that could take care of things while your gone. It is important to have an 'emergency/relief' support team that can step in at a moments notice to take care of the farm responsibilities when needed.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 9:29AM
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emyers(8 SC)

Yeah, I've thought about getting my neighbors involved, BUT, I'd rather not if there are ways around it. Sure, as mentioned one of my horse neighbors and I use to trade off chores but feeding and milking are really two different requests. If it's a responsibility to absolutely milk everyday, then maybe in reality, goats are just not an option for me. Really think I'd like to get a couple but I'm one of those people who doesn't like to ask for "favors". Besides that, didn't I read somewhere that goats won't let/don't like different people milking them?

Is there anyway that I could "time" when a particular goat goes out of milk and another goat comes into milk to work with our annual week long vacation? I know this is probably a stretch but I was reading something about timing as it related to you need two goats to get milk production year round.

You also mention "milking to the maximum production". As stated before, I don't need a gallon of milk per day. What if I DIDN'T milk to the full production each day, would this accomplish anything?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 10:08AM
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Emyers, I would suggest you find someone who has goats and go and see their set up and what is entailed with dairy goats. Milking usually is done twice daily, morning and night. You can't let them go a weekend without milking, it is very painful for the goat and it isn't healthy for their mammary system. I have owned and milked dairy goats for 11 years and it is a great way to have your own milk available, but it is a BIG responsiblity as it is with owning any farm animal. Also, unless a goat is feeding its own kids, it is very hard to get a goat to accept other kids and let them nurse. If you don't milk a goat's udder empty at each milking, the goat will begin to produce less and less and will eventually dry themselves off.

Buy a good book on dairy goats and visit some farms.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 3:40PM
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emyers(8 SC)

Thanks & good advice I'm sure but if there is no way around milking them everyday, then realistically, milk goats are probably not going to work for my family unfortunately. I certainly don't want to cause the goats any unnecessary pain or discomfort.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 4:23PM
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nhsuzanne(z5 SW-NH)

emyers, The suffix-itis is typically used to denote an inflammation. i.e., mastitis, bronchitis, tendonitis, etc.

Do you want goats for milk or pets?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 4:50PM
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emyers(8 SC)

What if they weren't milked for only one day of the weekend?
Say I milk the goat Friday evening before leaving.
Saturday, the goat stays by itself but doesn't get milked at all.
We arrive Sunday and milk the goat Sunday evening at arrival.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 4:52PM
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emyers(8 SC)

We must have been writing at the same time...
Anyway, are you an english major? Just couldn't think of anyone else who would have that info handy (both my parents were english majors but it didn't wear off on me very well).

I really wanted them (the goats) for milk. Was a little easier for me to rationalize/justify.
However, down the road if I can't get the whole milking thing worked out, I may consider a couple for "pets" I suppose. Primarily so my boys can grow up around them.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 11:04PM
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nhsuzanne(z5 SW-NH)


No, I am not an English major but I do have many of the itis' mentioned above!! Arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis and on occasion bronchitis!! LOL My DH calls me a broken down old horsewoman! Lovingly of course.

I have two Pygmy goats as pets. They are some of the most charming animals! Capricious and very clever. I have a brother and sister. I have never had goats before but I will never be without them again. They are very bright, don't cost much to keep either. My little doe does not get milk. I assume it's because she has never been bred but I don't really know. In any event, I have never had to think about milking her. They make great companions for my donkeys who get lonely when I take the horses away. Anyway, they would make great pets.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 3:19PM
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emyers(8 SC)

thanks for the input and funny about the itisis.
We have plenty of room for them so it's not out of the question.
Hopefully some one is gonna come on here and give me a magical solution to the milking everyday requirement.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 5:52PM
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mxbarbie(pnw BC 5)

emyers, I just have to ask... Did your wife breastfeed your boys?
If she did, she ought to know all about how it feels to miss a feeding (or a milking in otherwords!) LOL

I have a milk producing animal on my wish list but at the moment we don't have enough land. It's definatley a HUGE commitment. I have close neighbours I could keep a cow or goat at their place but I know that I would have a hard time getting over there to milk twice a day (which is usually at 5am and 5pm) with my 2 little ones in tow.

I think I read somewhere also, that Goats like to have companions. If you just get one it would be lonely.

Maybe you could look into Farmsitters. They are an organization of persons for hire that look after farms and livestock. They advertise in some of the homesteading magazines I read.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 2:37AM
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emyers(8 SC)

Yeah, my wife breast fed both our boys and while it's beyond me (as a male I suppose) she actually enjoyed it. That's PART of the reason I think she'd adapt well to the goats. So, yeah, I feel my goats pain. Two is not a problem and had counted on that.

Farmsitters is an intersting possibility, but how do you get beyond the goats not liking but one person to milk them?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 8:22AM
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Hi emyers..I currently own goats. I have seven girls and four boys. In order for your goat(doe)to produce milk she will have to be bred to a buck and produce babies(kids)..Once the babies are born you should milk her twice a day. You can also leave the kids in with the mother to have them nurse. We have raised lots of kids and I have hand milked a couple of goats at a time. We always milked the goats and then bottle fed the babies. That way the babies are very friendly when they grow up. We never had a problem with either myself or my husband milking them.
Once the babies were weaned I usually continued to milk the moms for another couple of months. If you don't milk them regularly they will begin to produce less and less milk. When you want them to stop producing milk you gradually decrease the frequency of your milking and dry them off.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2008 at 2:43AM
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emyers(8 SC)

After a goat has kids, how long until they are weaned?
Then, after they are weaned, how long can you expect to continue getting milk from them?

FWIW, purchased some condensed goat milk from the grocery store to try and get a handle on whether or not we would like it. NASTY!

Can I expect the real stuff to taste ANYTHING like that? If so, I'm wasting my time thinking about goats for milk.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2008 at 1:15PM
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The kids are fed milk for at least the first two weeks..then you start introducing grain and free choice feed them water and hay between the ages of two weeks and six weeks..and continue lessening the milk from six weeks to eight start weaning them at approximately two months..we usually had ours weaned by three months..Since we have always bottle fed them weaning is a lot easier..They don't have access to their mother to nurse..We separate the kids from the does until they get a bit bigger. I have milked the mom's two-five more months after the babies were weaned..I am sure you could milk them longer I just never did..the milk if properly treated taste the same as whole cow's milk..but since I am used to 1 or 2 taste too rich for me..I did make soft cheese from it and really enjoyed that. I also used it in recipes calling for milk.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 2:51AM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

Condensed goat's milk has the same relationship to "real" goat's milk as condensed cow's milk has to "real" cow's milk - both have been evaporated and heat processed/canned, which changes the taste. Your local health food store may have pasturized goat's milk in the dairy case, which has also been minimally heat processed in the pasturization, but since that's required to sell it.... It at least tastes more like "real"..., and any cow's milk you buy from a store has also been pasturized...

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 9:44AM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

Maybe a good way to relate to not milking on weekends would be to think of it as having dinner on Friday, then being locked in your room with absolutely nothing to eat until Sunday evening. Won't kill you, but certainly not pleasant and no way to treat an animal.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 1:34AM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

I was thinking a better comparison would be to give you lots of drinks, then refuse to allow use of the bathroom. How full do YOU feel? Does the feeling improve with time, like 24 hours?

Not milking a goat who is used to being milked twice a day is cruel, and will damage the udder over time. Maybe a very short time. I don't think Bag Balm will fix mastitis. We always had to use real medicine, injected into the bad teat, on dairy cattle. That teat had to then be hand milked for the healing time, milk disposed up with medication in it.

You can breed the goats to kid and plan your time to milk them. Plan your vacations, allow enough time to dry up the milkers, go on vacation, then have the new kids appear after you return. Do add extra time on expected delivery time, in case they kid early.

Milk from goats does taste differently than cow's milk. Cow milk tastes different than mare's milk which is sweet but watery. Each animal produces milk to grow THEIR baby best, calves need lots of fat, so cow's milk is fat. That people can drink it too was not a consideration to Mother Nature.

Good dairy goats need high quality feed, to produce quantity and quality in milk. Just like dairy cattle need rich feed for good milk. Trash feed, grazing, makes for poor milk in taste and quantity. Still goat milk flavor can be an acquired taste, like soy milk.

You will need a plan, before getting into goats. The books recommended will give you good information. They do NEED to be followed to make good homes for the goats, with reasonable care and attention. Safe fencing, clean milking conditions and proper handling, along with vaccinations, hoof trimming, proper feed, are extremely important over the management of goats.

What are the plans for resulting kid goats? Market, meat, pets, needs to be considered before breeding. You get no milk without having kids, yet keeping all will get the farm overrun with goats. You need to castrate any male kids born. You need to locate a Billy for breeding. They stink and can be difficult to handle, would not own one myself.

I think it unreasonable to plan on owning any milking goat, then be gone over a couple days and ignore it. Plan breeding to kid and milk when you won't be gone. If you travel in summer, then leave the goats dry at that time, easy for neighbors to just feed. Breed for fall kids, so you will be home to milk DAILY over winter season. If you want a milking goat, YOU need to be available to care for it, not dumping on wife.

I remember NOW! You are the one who posted about letting your goats free-range instead of fencing them in!! Also don't keep your dog at home because he likes to wander around.

Sure glad NOT to live anywhere around you. You want to have stuff, pretend you are "rural or farmer", yet only do a half-a$$ job caring for them. On days it is CONVENIENT for you! Dang, I need to quit reading ANY of your posts, makes me too mad.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 8:47PM
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I believe emyers is trying to find the easiest way to achieve several different projects-sort of fact finding. Looking for something that will fit his life style without much change. Have animals and even a veggie garden will require life style changes just as having children changed the way one lives. Once he gets his feet wet he'll either LOVE it or HATE it. If he loves it he'll willingly make the correct life style changes.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 11:59PM
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We raise Alpines and milk once a day. We separate doe and kids at nite and milk in the morning. Then we leave the kids with the doe all day. Although we don't leave often during milking season we can go for one or two nights and just leave the kids with the doe. But pretty much if you want milk goats you'll have to adapt your life to fit their cycles. This year our doe averaged 6# milk a day on one milking and the twin bucks dressed out at 75# hanging weight each. Tom

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 3:08PM
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