Raising goats is rewarding both emotionally and fiscally. Goat milk is in high demand all around the world, and raising goats for milk is well known to be a lucrative venture. Goats can produce a significant amount of milk during their milking period, which generally pays off the cost of raising the goats and then some.
The amount of milk that goats produce depends greatly on the breed of the goat, the season, and the quality of care they receive. That said, during peak season with a breed of goat that is specifically meant for milk production, you can expect to get over a liter or quart of milk in the morning and at night, making for a total of anywhere from ½ to ¾ of a gallon of milk per day (1.9 to 2.8 liters).
With these daily values, you’re sure to make a profit off your goat’s milk. In fact, while the United States has a preference for cow's milk, did you know that goat milk is actually far more popular worldwide?
Did your appetite for some more information on goat milking sharpen up after reading all about that delicious goat milk? If your answer is yes, keep reading so you can find out all you need to know about the goat milking process and the best breeds to buy for milk production.
How Much Milk do Goats Produce?
In order to get the most comprehensive explanation of how much milk goats can produce, we’ve got to get into the nitty-gritty. While the aforementioned value reflects how much an average milking goat produces per day, different factors can affect the milk output of your goat. Generally, your goat’s milk output will depend on these three factors.
The first thing to know is that larger goats produce more milk.
A regular-sized, healthy doe might give you the aforementioned milk output per day. However, if you own a Nigerian dwarf goat, for instance, you won’t get as much milk. This is because Nigerian dwarf goats are about half the size of a regular goat, meaning their smaller udders can’t hold as much milk as their bigger counterparts.
This is a good rule of thumb, but there can be exceptions, so do your research on your specific breed ahead of time.
Do you Know?
There are about 200 breeds of domestic goats, and size can vary greatly according to breed.
How much milk you can get from your goat also depends on what time period of her pregnancy your doe is in. Every breed goat has its own individual milking window, too.
Peak production season begins once your doe’s babies can be weaned off their mother’s milk, at around 8 weeks. This is when your goat will produce the most milk.
Following peak production, your goat’s milk output will gradually begin to decrease. For example, after about half a year, your goat may only produce anywhere from ½ to ¾ of its original milk output.
So how long until she finally runs out, you ask? Your doe may keep producing milk for up to two years after her pregnancy. If you breed her again, the process starts all over again.
Proper Milking Technique
If you don’t have the proper milking technique, you could end up not getting any milk at all, even if your doe has some available- leaving you to think there is something wrong with you or your goat. Thankfully, this is usually due to a simple and common mistake- pulling on the teat.
Contrary to popular belief, when milking your goat, you don’t actually pull or tug at the teat at all. You use your thumb and forefinger to gently pinch the teat at the root, and use the rest of your fingers to apply pressure which will coax the trapped milk out of the teat and into your bucket.
It’s as simple as that!
What are the Best Goat Breeds for Milking?
Just like dogs, different goat breeds have different characteristics. Not every goat breed is meant for milk production; in fact, there are specific breeds that are good for dairy production, meat production, and having as companions.
What makes a goat good for milking depends on several factors, including the length of their milking window, their average milk output, the flavor of their milk, and their temperament (to make the milking process easier).
There are lots of good milking goat breeds that people prefer for different reasons.
Produces tasty milk with a popular, strong flavor
Nigerian dwarf goats
Good size for smaller farms; has the sweetest milk out of the breeds
Produce less milk, but have high butterfat content for a creamy taste
Very high supply of milk per day, milder flavor
High supply of milk per day, most variation in milk taste
Friendly temperament makes the milking process easy, creamy, and sweet tasting milk
High supply of milk per day; high milk fat percentage
Friendly temperament, reliable source of sweet milk
Smaller milking window but great flavor due to high butterfat
The most popular dairy goat breed is the Swiss Saanen breed, as they produce the most milk out of all dairy goats (they can produce up to three gallons or 11.3 liters of milk a day!) Alpine goats also supply a lot of milk per day, averaging at 1 gallon or 3.8 liters per day. Following closely behind these two are Nubians, Toggenburgs, and Oberhaslis, and Sables.
Unlike the Swiss dairy breeds, LaMancha goats are from North America. While they don’t produce as much milk as the Swiss dairy goat breeds (LaMancha goats usually output ⅘ a gallon or 3 liters a day), their milk is very sweet and is a favorite of many goat farmers.
Boer goats are huge and originally bred for meat production, but many lovers of goat's milk are fans of the creamy, buttery taste of Boer milk. On the other hand, Nigerian dwarf goats maybe half the size of a regular goat, but they produce a decent amount of very sweet milk for their size (up to ½ a gallon a day or 1.9 liters). This makes them the perfect choice for smaller farms.
Feel free to refer to the list above when choosing the right dairy goat for your farm. All of them are great for different reasons, but above all else, treat your goat with lots of care and love; the taste of your goat milk will show it. Happy farming!