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Newbie Goat owner Q/A

 
Nathan Paris
Posts: 80
Location: http://projectecogrid.com/
tiny house transportation woodworking
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We are new goat owners that recently had a kid. We just got the mother a week ago and she just had the baby yesterday. We have no idea any information about the goat as she was given to us. My question is when can we start getting milk for our consumption? As well as how much can I take from her? I appreciate your help and look forward to more Q/A on Newbie Goat Owners!
 
Karen Walk
Posts: 122
Location: VT, USA Zone 4/5
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Not an expert here, but a backyard goat owner. If your goat had only one kid she will probably have extra milk very soon. Goats usually have two, sometimes three kids. That said, the amount of milk she has will depend very much on her overall health ane the quality of food she has available.

Last year I acquired a goat and her three kids. The previous owner was already milking her. I waited until the kids started eating grass and then milked just once a day.

As a new goat owner, do yourself a favor and check for worms. They can really put a dent in goat health and will be persistent on your property for months even after (if) you manage to get the animals healthy again.
 
Nathan Paris
Posts: 80
Location: http://projectecogrid.com/
tiny house transportation woodworking
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Thanks for the reply Karen!

I think her health is fine so far, although she does seem to have a runny nose from time to time and she gets "sleepies" in her eyes (as does the newborn) but aside from that her health seems to be okay as far as I can tell. I have been giving her a little bit of DE (we just call it earth around here) on her feed to help eliminate/prevent worm infestations, were hoping that will solve any unseen issues.

We give her all kinds of feed. I cut fresh grass for her in the morning and afternoon, she has access to good quality pellet feed and timothy hay all day, and there is a little salt lick in there for her. From what I understand so far she might benefit from some alfalfa in her diet for milk production.

With all that in mind, how much milk should I be milking her per day? I want to make sure there is plenty left for the little guy! (we did find out that she is a pygmy goat)

Is it okay to milk her for human consumption so soon after giving birth? If not then how soon after giving birth can I start milking her?

What is the best way to clean/sanitize the teat before milking?

Thanks for all your help!
 
Alder Burns
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Location: northern California
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A healthy goat of a good dairy breed, with only one kid, and on abundant feed, should produce some surplus milk from the start. Just start milking her out morning and night, and start out with the baby having unrestricted access. That way, the kid will get what he needs and you get the surplus. When you see the kid starting to eat other stuff, perhaps in a month or so, then you can start separating them for the day, or the night, letting them come together the other half of the 24 hours. You'll probably get about the same amount of milk, since the kid will drink more, being bigger, even though it drinks for less of the day. This is the stage where it would really help to have a couple of kids, or another goat, to keep with the kid since it will bawl for its mother, especially if you have them separated during the day (as opposed to at night, when they sleep. You can let this stage last as long as you like, but eventually the kid won't really need to nurse, but might need to be separated for a while so that mom will not let him at it when you put them back together again. The other way people do it, which seems like a lot of trouble to me, is to separate them from the beginning and then bottle feed the baby. One advantage to bottle babies I've heard is that they make for tamer goats....
 
L. Zell
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Location: Missouri
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What I do with my goats is to keep an eye on things for the first week or two. If mom seems to have a big udder, I milk her out twice a day from the beginning, and give the kid unrestricted access. After the first week, if the little one is doing good, I lock the kid up (wire dog crates work well, so they can sleep next to each other) at night and milk in the morning. The kid is with mom all day. I continue this until weaning for the buck kids (7-10 weeks) and until I dry up the does in the fall for any keeper doe kids. This is the fourth year I've done this, and I'm really happy with the results.
 
Nathan Paris
Posts: 80
Location: http://projectecogrid.com/
tiny house transportation woodworking
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Lots of good information, thank you everyone!!

So I found a great way to clean off her teats before I milk her, Usnea. I had never heard of it before until someone on permies posted something about it on another thread but apparently its great stuff!! I found a few trees with small amounts growing on it in our yard so hopefully ill be able to get some made soon!

I was able to milk the momma for the first time and it went okay so that was good. Its a little time consuming but Im sure thats because its my first time milking lol. The milk tasted like one of those little packs of coffee creamer, I wasnt expecting that, but it was great to be able to drink raw milk for the first time in my life!!!

 
Karen Walk
Posts: 122
Location: VT, USA Zone 4/5
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Congratulations! I found that the milk was delicious straight out of the goat, but that once I waiteda little while it developed an off flavor. A dairy gal just told me that goat milk needs to be refrigerated almost immediately to prevent this so... If you find that your milk is developing an off flavor, get it refrigerated right away and then enjoy it for days!
 
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