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Dairy all year round

 
Posts: 15
Location: Fajã d'Agua, Brava, Cabo Verde
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Yes, there I read it: "...If you're after dairy all year round, you might need to kid different does at different times of the year,..."

I am wondering if and how that would be possible.
So far -sharing my thoughts and wishes with other goat keepers- I heared things like: just possible with hormones, because goats are naturally in heat just in this after summer months.
I dare to doubt that, and besides I would never do such a thing: unnaturally mess around with healthy animals. So I would love advise on how to let my goats kid (naturally) at different times of the year.
My situation: I have two groups with in each 2 adult does, 1 first-time-mom and (since january/february) in each group 2 female offspring.
I was thinking to give the first-time-moms a break, and try to get them pregnant not earlier than January/February 2020. Together with the newborns of 2019.

Looking forward to advice and/or ideas, suggestions

 
Posts: 6
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I think (therefore I'm probably wrong) the two groups will have to be significantly separate, because they will all tend to go into heat about the same time if they are "together". I think this means more than a fence between them! (And experimenting to see just HOW MUCH separation will make a real contribution to goat science!)
 
Marijke Katsburg
Posts: 15
Location: Fajã d'Agua, Brava, Cabo Verde
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I love science!
The parameters: one group is living next to my house, about 5 m. The other group is living on the other side of the house, about 100 m. and a bit lower (5 m) They cannot see each other. They might hear each other, like they can hear the goats high in the mountains or the two or three at sealevel, 100 m in front of our place.
 
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Posts: 676
Location: Tasmania
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It would depend on the goat breed. Some are seasonal breeders, only able to breed in autumn/winter, others breed at different times of the year.

For pure dairy goats, you can usually get away with getting them in kid in alternate years, so each goat will kid only every second year. They have longer lactations than other breeds, and most of them will stay in milk for 2 years.

For seasonal breeders with shorter lactations, you could get one in kid very early in the season, and one very late. Here in Tasmania, that would mean we'd have one kidding in September and one in December.

For goats that aren't seasonal breeders it's much easier.

All of these options would mean keeping the buck separate from the does.
 
Posts: 52
Location: Lasqueti Island, British Columbia
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Right now i have 1 nubian who is about to kid, one sannen who kidded about 2 months ago and i am milking. and in about 2 more months i will have an alpine kid. The alpine i will keep in milk thru the winter as she does very well with this and is a breeze to milk. All of these goats live together. The sannen i took to the buck and the nubian i took her to the buck and the alpine i brought the buck to the goats. This is a lot easier in a small community where i can easily communicate with the goat owners because i know who they are.

So its defiantly possible to have varied milk supply. One goat is going into milk as one is coming out of milk. It all depends on your needs. I at the moment milk in the morning, and have to clean the milk dishes only once as apposed to milking twice a day which i have more time for in the winter a long with a lot more hot water due to the woodstove.

All of this was possible with not owning a buck. If i had a buck i would need to either keep him separate or have him with a buck apron.

what breed of goats do you own?
 
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I have oberhasli and french Alpine goats, and I don't like eating or selling goats. I currently have five, but have had as many as 10. I have no permanent fencing, to browse them naturally I have to build a day pen each morning using cattle panels and lots of baling twine. For 5 goats my pens last about 7 hours, thus the cap.

All this to say I was highly motivated to learn how to keep goats in milk for longer periods. Not peak milk, but milking. I milk once a day. I feed only about 1/2 cup of organic grain and 3/4 cup organic alfalfa pellets, the rest is hay and browse, and of course minerals and salt. So anyway I am more focused on the health of my animals, and the quality of the milk, than top milk production. In fact I find it strange how goat books give ideal milking amounts that seem unattainable without copious grain/goat chow. The precious MCTs in raw goat milk are abundant in browsing goats, and minimal otherwise. My approach is best health for all.

I milk all 5 goats. Three of them have been lactating for 3 years, consistently giving a quart each a day of very high quality milk, since probably the October immediately following their last kidding. One of them gives more like a pint, but she's not an abundant milker even right after kidding. Right now she is in year 4. The last one is a maiden milker I have been milking daily for 14 months, who has come up from 2 tablespoons to almost a quart. So every day I get about a gallon of milk.

At this stocking density I get so much benefit on our land, they are slowly transforming the landscape from poison ivy, Rose and mugwort into a diverse range of plants and habitats. They live in trailers we move every 6-8 months, and the old pens that were poison ivy jungles become tremendous gardens. This year in the Hudson valley of NY our corn was 13' tall.

I can't imagine putting all of us through the annual stress of breeding, kidding, dehorning, and then dealing with unwanted kids. I don't get half a gallon twice a day per goat. But I have more milk than I can always use, of the highest quality, with extremely happy and healthy goats in great condition.
 
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