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What goats are best at milking when on 100% forage?

 
Matt Powers
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When my nubian gets fresh cut scrub oak in her system, her veins bulk up and her milk comes much more rapidly.

I've put a branch in front of the milking stand and that works as well as a bucket of grain, but would 100% forage taste good? be enough? which is best?

Is Kinder still king on forage only?
 
Kurt Stailey
Posts: 36
Location: Indiana, zone 6
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We rotate our sables through several partially wooded/partially pastured paddocks all year, and feed grass hay through the winter. We consistently get 1/2 gallon per milking per doe per day. We normally milk once per day, but have milked twice a day (1 gallon per doe per day) but generally do not need that much milk. We have had several other breeds and just prefer the taste of the sable milk over the others we have tried. We use the milk at home for our personal consumption, barter the majority of it to some friends who make soap with it (free natural soap for us!!) and the remainder goes to the dog/cat/chickens/ducks/plants. The plants in particular really respond well to goats milk. Only issue we have run into is the soil in our area is notoriously low in selenium and thiamine, so we do supplement with a free choice mineral. But we have not fed grains for several years now. Well, sort of, we do grow buckwheat, we cover crop over winter with wheat, etc... which we let them eat. Not sure if this is a lot or not, but we can easily get 1 gallon a day from our ladies throughout the milking season. While on the stand we give them treats from the garden; sunflower seeds, turnip greens, herbal wormer, etc... and anything else they like to eat. Our goats are an integral part of our farm, they do as much work as any other critter or person here when it comes to clearing new garden space, cleaning up the garden after harvest, and maintaining the understory. Sorry for rambling, but we really like our goats Properly applied they are an outstanding tool.

--Kurt
 
Deborah Niemann
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When I was writing Raising Goats Naturally, I interviewed someone who has a herd of Nigerian dwarf goats in Oregon on a zero grain diet. What she found is that the kids born on her farm who never received grain will milk as well or better than those on grain. However, the goats she bought who had been consuming grain did not do well when switched to a grain-free diet. I'm not aware of any research into this area. I think the idea of a grain-free diet is still pretty new, and we are just starting to see some grassfed cow dairies, but in future years, I think we'll see a lot more people trying this. So, you're on the cutting edge!
 
C Brlecic
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I find it interesting that having milking animals on a forage diet is considered cutting edge.
Am I wrong or isn't that how they naturally ate since the dawn of time? lol
 
Kurt Stailey
Posts: 36
Location: Indiana, zone 6
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You are correct, everything comes full circle. A few years ago giant bag phones were cool, then everyone wanted a cell phone that fit in your pinky nail, now everyone lugs around suitcase size sheets of glass and talks into them.

From what I have seen, even when they have free choice wheat plants available, goats do not eat pounds of wheat berries per week.

--Kurt

 
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