How to Know When to Stop Milking Your Goat? (Don’t Miss the Signs)

By Dairy Farming Hut


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Dairy goats have a longer lactation than meat goats. They usually lactate for two hundred and eighty-four days to three hundred days. However, each goat is unique; therefore, the duration of lactation can vary among them. 

Due to the variations, it is important for the dairy farmer to know his goats and their characteristics.

Examining the milk will give an idea to the farmer when it is the correct time to stop milking. Generally, a goat approaching the end of their lactation period will begin producing less milk. Gradually the quantity of milk declines, and this is a good indication that milking should be stopped.

Another sign is that the quality of the milk produced by the goat declines. Towards the end of the lactation period, the milk becomes watery, and the fat content decreases. As a result, the milk is often unsuitable for commercial use, cheese making, or other processing.

If these signs are noted, the farmer should stop milking the goat. Some farmers make decisions to stop milking the goats from prescribed dates. For example, a farmer may decide to only milk until day three hundred of the lactation cycle. This is especially common in larger commercial goat dairies, where the farmer does not have time to monitor each goat closely.

Why Should You Stop Milking Goats?

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People unfamiliar with dairy may wonder why it is important to stop milking dairy goats. There are some compelling biological reasons to stop milking goats.

Dairy goats, like other mammals, do not continuously produce milk endlessly after giving birth to a baby. It is necessary for the goat doe to be pregnant and give birth again before she produces more good quality milk.

The doe must be dried off to produce colostrum with high nutrition and antibodies. Most farmers aim to dry the goat off forty-five to sixty days before the next kids are born.

Goats that do not have a drying-off period produce lower milk volumes in subsequent lactations. Less milk negatively affects kids' survival, and the commercial sales of milk will drop.

Goats need a resting time for their udders. The non-productive time allows a goat's udder to regenerate old alveoli, the cells responsible for producing milk. New alveoli will also be produced in the first five lactations, adding to the goat's ability to produce milk.

Alveoli regeneration and production are governed by pregnancy hormones but do not occur if lactation is ongoing.

Continuing to milk a goat late into pregnancy can trigger premature labor. Kids born too early seldom survive. Premature kids require an enormous amount of time and effort from the farmer. They are prone to issues such as failure to thrive and pneumonia.

Kids born too early are weak and need constant care. They cannot keep up with their mothers, which can significantly distress the doe. Stressed goats produce less milk, and the overall quantities can be severely diminished.

Pregnancy, lactation, and birth are stressful for a goat's body. The rest period provided by drying the goat off allows them to recuperate. During the time the goat is not milked, she can gain weight and condition. This is critical for her health and the viability of the in-utero kids.

Final Thought

Management of dairy goats necessitates an understanding of the biology of goat reproduction and care. Producing healthy kids and good quality milk requires a period where the doe is not milked.

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