If you raise goats for dairy, then there’s a good chance that milk production is one of your top priorities.
There will come a time when you need your goat to dry up (so she can be bred again) or there might be times when your goat starts drying up on her own, for no explicable reason. Why does this happen?
Goats dry up on their own when it’s been about six months since kidding. This period marks a natural decline in milk production since the kid is drinking less milk and eating mostly solid foods. However, other conditions can cause a dairy goat to dry up prematurely, too, like a poor diet or mastitis.
There are some easy solutions to help you identify and rectify these situations. Whether you’re interested in learning why a goat suddenly goes dry or you’re looking for tips on how to dry up a female goat quickly so she can be bred again, this post is for you!
Keep reading to learn more.
Let me start by telling you a personal story about my dairy goat. After all, homesteading and raising goats can sometimes be a bit of a trial and error experience – so I’d like to show you exactly what my learning experience looked like.
Here’s what happened…
The milk goat we had got a little over two weeks ago had dried up. I couldn’t figure it out! I’d gotten the hang of milking her and was confident (well, pretty sure) I was doing it right. We’d supplied the goats with all the fresh hay they could ask for, grains, and free forage…
What else was I missing? I’d tried to do everything right, and still the goat was giving less and less milk every day.
Yesterday, I got about 4 tablespoons of milk. No joke. I thought, “Great. She’s dried up. Now what do I do?”
So today I resorted to phase 2: Separate the kids from the other doe (affectionately named Smiley, ’cause she’s always showing her teeth), and try milking her once a day until we are able to completely wean her little ones.
I rounded up the little buckling and doeling, and put them in their own pen for the day. They didn’t like it, and called for their mama every so often, but eventually they settled in and enjoyed the fresh forage. Smiley had the entire day to build up a good supply of milk for me.
Tonight at milking time I milked both goats. I really hoped to get more milk than the few drops I’ve been getting over the past week.
Now, as I’ve mentioned before, Smiley has really small teats. Which makes it very difficult to milk her. (One of those things I should have paid attention to before buying her!)
I gave it my best, and she did good for her first time letting me milk, but most of what I got either ran down my arm or squirted in some random direction, completely missing the bowl. When you can’t get a good grasp on her it’s hard to do a thorough job.
I got a little out of her, but not as much as I would have liked. I didn’t sweat it, though, tonight. I’d be returning her kids to her soon and they could finish the job for me. I thanked her anyway, and she jumped down off of the stand.
But what surprised me was when Blondie (the dried up doe) jumped up on the milking stand… very noticeably engorged and ready to be relieved of all that milk!! I couldn’t believe it!
I prayed it wasn’t a cruel joke, and began to milk her. I milked, and I milked, and I milked! It just kept coming!
I ended up getting a full quart of milk out of her.
Granted, it’s not that much compared to what most goats give in a day, BUT compared to the 3/4 of a quart for two milkings I was getting in the beginning, and then the laughable dribbles I’ve been getting for the past several days, I felt like I’d hit gold!
Now, of course, we get a lot more milk than that from our goats. But at the time, it felt like a major victory. The next step was to figure out where we went wrong.
What the heck had happened? Why did she all of a sudden have milk overflowing, when just yesterday she was as dry as a sack of flour?
Maybe she’d just loosened up around me. Maybe the increased feed had finally kicked in. I didn’t know, but I was not going to complain about it.
Once I’d finished milking Blondie I took the milk back inside the house, let it strain, and then went back out to return the kids to their mama for the night.
But when the eager little ones got back into the larger pen with the does, I decided to stand by and watch to see if something I had been suspecting might possibly be going on.
And then my suspicions were confirmed. I could hardly control myself as I shouted, “I knew it!! I knew it!!”
The kids were nursing Blondie- NOT THEIR MAMA!
Ah-ha!! So THAT’S what’s been going on. That’s why Blondie was dry every time I tried to milk her. The little rascals were stealing my milk!
This is a common problem – but it’s not the only reason why your goats might dry up. In this post, I’ll walk you through some of the most common reasons for this phenomenon – and tell you how to fix them if they do arise.
When a goat dries up, it means she is not producing milk. This can be due to a number of reasons, including illness, low feed intake, or change in environment. Let’s take a closer look.
If you have a dairy goat, it’s important to maintain a regular milking schedule. Goats need to be milked at least twice a day, and more often if they are producing a large amount of milk.
When goats aren’t milked on a regular basis, they can “dry up.” This means that their milk production will decrease, and eventually stop entirely. There are several reasons why this happens.
First, the hormones that stimulate milk production are only released when the goat’s udder is full. If the goat isn’t being milked regularly, her udder will never get full, and she won’t produce as much milk.
Additionally, milk is produced on a “supply and demand” basis. The more milk that is removed from the udder, the more milk will be produced. So if you want your goat to produce a lot of milk, you need to milk her often!
Finally, milking helps to keep the udder clean and free from infection. If the udder isn’t being regularly cleaned, it can become infected, which can lead to mastitis (an inflammation of the udder). Mastitis can cause decreased milk production, and in severe cases it can even cause long term health problems.
If a goat doesn’t get enough of certain minerals, it can lead to problems like infertility and even a decrease in milk production. In extreme cases, a poor diet can cause a goat to “dry up” completely and stop producing milk altogether. This dry period can be problematic and occur once or with regular frequency.
While it can be challenging to keep goats well-fed, it’s important to do your best to provide them with a balanced diet. Otherwise, you may end up with some very unhappy (and unproductive) goats.
Mastitis is a common problem for dairy farmers, and it can cause a goat to dry up. The condition is caused by an infection of the udder, and is known to occur postpartum.
Mastitis is a serious problem because it can lead to decreased milk production, and it can also cause the udder to become hard and swollen.
In severe cases, mastitis can even cause death. Treatment for mastitis includes antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs, but the best way to prevent the condition is to practice good hygiene. Avoiding bacteria is the best way to reduce the likelihood of swelling and fever related to mastitis.
Farmers should wash their hands thoroughly after milking, and they should also clean and disinfect the udder before milking.
Any farmer will tell you that parasites are a constant threat to their animals.
These tiny creatures can cause a host of problems, from poor health and reduced productivity to even death. Goats are particularly susceptible to parasites, and infestation can quickly lead to a condition known as “drought.” This is when the goats stop producing milk, even though they may still have food and water available.
Parasites interfere with the goat’s digestive system, preventing them from properly digesting their food and absorbing nutrients. As a result, the goats become malnourished and their milk production suffers. In severe cases, drought can kill a goat. That’s why it’s so important to regularly check your goats for parasites and take steps to control them.
Goats are hardy creatures that can adapt to a variety of conditions, but they still need certain nutrients to stay healthy. One of the most important nutrients for goats is calcium. Calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth, and it also aids in muscle function and nerve transmission.
Without enough calcium, a goat’s health will quickly deteriorate. A lack of calcium can cause a goat to dry up, meaning that it will stop producing milk. This can be devastating for a farmer who relies on goats for their livelihood.
Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent this from happening. Adding calcium-rich foods to a goat’s diet, such as alfalfa or bone meal, can help to ensure that they get the nutrients they need.
Additionally, providing access to a free-choice mineral block or salt lick can help prevent health issues and prevent dried-up milk production.
If you have a goat that naturally has a shorter lactation cycle, it’s important to be aware that this can cause the goat to dry up.
The goat’s milk production will naturally decrease as the days go by, and eventually, the goat will stop producing milk altogether. This is because the demand for milk is simply not there anymore.
The drying off process involves gradually reducing the doe’s milk production until she is completely dry. There are a few different methods that can be used to accomplish this.
Drying off a dairy goat means stopping the flow of milk, typically about eight weeks before she gives birth. This allows the goat’s body to rest and recover from the demands of lactation, and it also helps to improve the quality of the milk.
There are a number of ways to dry off a dairy goat, including natural methods like decreasing feed and letting the goat’s udder dry up on its own.
When should you let your dairy goat’s milk dry up? It depends on several factors, including the amount of milk your goats are producing, the age of your goats, and whether or not you plan to breed them.
If your goats are producing a large amount of milk, you may need to dry them off sooner in order to prevent mastitis or other health problems. If your goats are young, you may want to extend their lactation period in order to maximize their milk production.
And if you are planning to breed your goats, you will need to dry them off for a few months before breeding so that they can produce healthier offspring. Ultimately, the decision of when to dry off your dairy goats depends on your individual herd’s needs.
There are a few different ways to dry off your goats so they stop producing milk. One way is to stop milking them for a period of time.
This can be done by either weaning the goat off gradually, or suddenly stopping altogether. However, if you do the latter, bear in mind that mastitis may become a problem for you.
Another way to dry off your goats is to change their feed. Goats that are on a higher quality feed will produce less milk than those on a lower quality feed.
Finally, you can also use herbal supplements to dry off your goats. Raspberry leaves or St. John’s Wort are two common herbs that are often used for this purpose.
Whichever method you choose, be sure to give your goats plenty of fresh water and grass hay to prevent them from becoming dehydrated. You can also give them a small amount of grain right before or during the breeding season to ensure good health.
If you’re trying to decrease a goat’s milk production, you shouldn’t put them on lush pastures. Doing so will have the opposite effect and actually increase their milk production.
Goats are able to udder more milk when they’re on lush pastures because of the nutrients in the plants. The plants also stimulate the goats’ appetite, causing them to eat more and produce more milk. So, if you want to decrease a goat’s milk production, keep them off of lush pastures.
Many factors play into the decision of when to breed a doe, but interval from kidding and body condition score may be the two most important. A doe in good body condition can rebreed as early as 60 days postpartum, while a doe that is too thin may not cycle until 150 days postpartum.
In general, dogs should be at least 75-80% of their ideal body weight before being bred. If a doe is not rebred within 10-12 months postpartum, her value as a productive member of the herd decreases.
Those that are not rebred in a timely manner may have difficulty conceiving and carrying a kid to term, and may also have lower milk production.
As such, it is important to monitor dogs closely and breed them at the appropriate time in order to maintain a healthy and productive herd.
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.