Do you want to increase milk production in your goats? It is the ultimate desire of the dairy farm owners and household producers of milk from goats.
If you are one of them you must know that milk production depends on goat’s breeds, rations, age, health condition, environmental condition, and above all husbandry of them.
If you encounter little yields of milk from your goat with a good breed of goats, you need to focus on nutrition and husbandry.
In this article, I will discuss all these factors and will provide some proven tips. I am sure this article will be helpful to you. You will succeed with all of this.
So read carefully.
Factors Affecting Goat Milk Production (Low or High)
If you are into goat farming, especially in dairy production, it is essential to know what factors influences milk production.
If you are willing to increase goat milk production, let’s first take a deep look at the major factors that affect the production of goat milk. It will help you to make proper decisions for increasing milk yield from goats.
According to a research of ‘Penn State College of Agricultural Science’ the 6 most yielding goat breeds for milk production are-
- 1st position: Saanen with an average production of 2577 lbs. per lactating period.
- 2nd position: Alpine with 2266 lbs.
- 3rd position: Oberhasli with 2,146 lbs.
- 4th position: Toggenburg with 2,115 lbs.
- 5th position: LaMancha with 2,100 lbs.
- 6th position: Nubian with 1,820 lbs.
The interesting thing is the highest production recorded nearly double of this average production.
A doe must be at least 9 months old while mating so that it can fresh and give milk at nearly 15 months old. It ensures an increased production of milk compared to early mating (below 9 months). 5 to 7 years old does exist in the peak of production level. After that, the production decreases as it becomes very low at nearly 12 years old.
Food and nutrition:
Food with proper nutrition value ensures an increase in the milk production of goats. Details of food and nutrition will be discussed in further sections of this article.
When the health condition of the goats is not sound the production of milk decreases. Malnutrition, diseases, and attraction parasites cause bad health and body fitness. That’s why sound health is necessary for increasing milk production in goats.
2 times milking per day may help to increase the production of milk.
However, if goats kids are not getting milk after
If you do not collect milk properly from the udder of the does, the production will be decreased.
Housing and other environment conditions:
Clean and healthy housing and environment help to ensure a healthy does. So much cold and heat is not good for goats. Favorable weather helps to increase the milk yield of goats.
How to Make Goats Produce More Milk
Now, you may have good breeds of dairy goats and can ask the common question- Why is my goat producing less milk?
- Food and nutrition are very important factors that help a doe to produce enough milk.
- As a dairy goat supplies high milk yield compared to the size of their body, without proper nutrition you cannot expect an increased production.
- Besides, some diseases and attacks of parasites cause malnutrition and bad health conditions of the goats during the milking time. That also causes producing less milk in goats.
- Tissue mobilization occurs because of low body condition after the kidding. That also causes less production of milk in goats.
If you have quality dairy breeds of goat and encounter milk production is satisfactory follow the proven tips mentioned below.
Dry off Your Doe to Get Increased Yield in the Next Lactation
Dry periods ensure that the udder of the does get rest and can prepare for the next period. It increases the production of milk in the next lactation period. Besides, dairy goats achieve body fitness and weight at this time.
Follow proper milking procedures
Do you think that milking procedures have a great connection with the milk yield of goats? Yes, many people don’t follow proper milking procedures and face decreased yields and diseases. Keep reading to avoid mistakes.
When should you dry off your dairy goats?
It is normal to decrease milk production at the end of a lactation period. As different breeding of goats have different lengths of lactation periods, you should decide the dry-off period by your own experience. When milk production will be significantly decreased before freshening a pregnant doe it is the proper time to dray off her. You can dry off the lactating goat 6 to 8 weeks before she expected kidding.
How Should You Dry Off Dairy Goats?
- Plan the timing for dry-off by fixing a day.
- Start dry of the process 14 to 21 days before stopping milking. Reduce milking frequency to one-time milking only.
- Don’t suddenly stop making. It can cause Mastitis.
- Start controlling the food and nutrition value. Gradually reduce the supply of energy.
- For this, you must reduce the supply of Alfalfa, grain, and so on energy supply.
- Instead, you should supply fiber-enriched goat foods like grass hay.
When you find that the udder is healthy and it produces very little milk you can stop milking until the kidding.
Collect Milk Twice a Day
You should collect milk from you does twice a day. Various research has shown that collecting milk twice a day does increase the production level of milk.
You can use goat milking machine to make it easy and comfortable.
Here you can ask a question-
Can I Milk my Goat Once a Day?
If the kids depend on the mother’s milk, you can collect milk once a day.
That will not decrease the milk of your goat as the kids will suck the milk and the milk gland will reproduce to the response of demand.
Maintain Same Time and Position for Milking
Choosing the morning and evening for collecting milk may be perfect. You can maintain a 12 hours interval by milking at these periods. Irregular milking increases the risk of mastitis.
Maintaining a similar milking position helps to keep the goat calm. If possible, the same person should always collect milk. That makes the doe friendly and used to.
Allow kids to suck the teat after milking
The maximum dairy farm rears the kids of dairy goats with milk replacer. In that case, the kids must be allowed to suck the teat after milking.
If kids of your farm depend on the milk of the dow, you already allow the kids to suck the teat to drink milk. That ensures proper emptying of the canal of doe’s teats.
Keep Lactating Goats in a Properly Built Goat House
You must provide intensive care to your lactating goats and kids. If the house is not suitable for the goats the milk yield will decrease. Ensure the following things-
- House can save lactating goats from rainwater, heavy winds, too much sun or direct heat, cold, and so on.
- Have enough space in the house. Ensure 1.5 meters by 1 meter of space for each lactating goat.
- Prevent the floor from being damp or wet. The area is dry and clean.
- Available water and food besides the goats so that they can take while necessary.
NB. electric fences are great for goats. If you are straggling to keep them inside the gazing area read our review on best electric fence for goats.
Feed Doe Properly with different Grasses and Shrub Browses
Though the milking capacity of a goat depends on genetics, the nutrition they consume influences much on the milk yield.
When you find that milk production of goats is not satisfactory or production has decreased significantly you should look at the nutritious value of the food.
So, I should answer the big question-
What to Feed Goats to Increase Milk Production?
If you consider what goats eat? then you will findout that they consume mosty grass and hay.
To get optimum yield from yours you must provide them with nutritious food. Here is a nutrition checklist required for milking goats. Let’s check it-
Do you know, goat milk contains 80 to 90% of water? That’s why you must supply enough water to your milking goats. An average-sized dairy goat needs 4 to 6 liters of water per day.
An interesting matter is that goats take 30 to 50% of water within the first hour of milking. So you should provide enough freshwater after the milking.
Goats also get water from green grass. You should keep enough freshwater beside her so that she can take water according to her wish.
2. Energetic Feed
Energy works as a fuel for the body. Like other animals of the world, goats need the energy to move on, performing actions of different internal and external organs, and so on.
Goats need extra energy for producing milk. As a result, the demand for energy sources increased in the lactating period of a doe.
If goats take an extra amount of energy, these extra energies are stored in their body. So, a small fluctuation in the energetic food supply may not cause a significant decrease in milk production.
Major sources of energy: Rice bran, oats, barley, corn, wheat barn, nuts, beet pulp, sugar beets, milo, sweet cassava etc.
Protein is one of the important components in blood coagulation, oxygen transport, enzymes, antibodies, hormones and muscle contractions.
Proteins are not stored in the bodies of the goats. So, you need to supply the required amount of protein to the goat regularly.
Sources of protein: Alfalfa, Legume leaves, soybean meals, peas, cottonseed cake, palm nuts, clover, sunflower seeds are good sources of protein supply for goats.
Though vitamins are required in a small quantity they have a significant influence on the health factors of a lactating doe. A goat needs vitamin A, B complex, C, D, E, and K.
Your goats can get vitamin A and B from green and leafy forages. D when grazing in sunlight or taking sun-cured forages.
Oil seeds, cereal grain and seed germ supply vitamin E.
If you feed only dried food and concentrate, your gats can face the deficiency of vitamin A. Besides, always keeping them indoor can cause a deficiency of vitamin D.
5. Salt & minerals
Salt and minerals are inorganic materials that need to develop various engines and hormones of the goats. Iron,
Root crops, citrus pulp, legumes, elephant grass, alfalfa etc. are sources of the mineral. If you want an appropriate mixture and ratio of minerals you also can use commercial feed concentrates, supplements and mineral mixtures.
Perfect Dairy Goat Feed Recipe to Increase Milk Production
Milk giving doe can consume food 5 to 7% of its body weight. A proper recipe contains 4 to 6 litters of water; 2.8 to 4.6% of dry matter; 16 to 20% of crude protein and 65% of total digestible nutrition.
Dry matters are the elements of food except for water. For example, in green Napier grass there exist nearly 10% dry matters.
You should supply 60 to 70% of green fodder. For this, you can use Maize, Oat, Pearl Millet, Guar, Cowpea, Napier grass, Guinea grass, and so on.
Dry fodder should be 20 to 30%. Sources of dry fodder are different hay like alfalfa hay, soybean hay, Cottonseed hulls, and Sudan grass.
Concentrate: For increasing milk production concentrate foods are important. Keep them 5 to 10% of the total food supply. You can prepare a good concentrate using-
- 30 to 40% of soybean/ maize
- 30 to 40% of husk
- 20 to 30% of oil cake
- 1 to 2% Slat and mineral mixture
How Much Grain to Feed a Goat to Increase Milk Production?
Though grain is not mandatory for goats, supplementing them enhances the health condition and increases the milk production of goats.
You can feed 200 to 350 grams of grain to the lactating goats. That will help to increase milk production. But keep in mind that grain overload is harmful to goats.
Consuming large amounts of grain can slow down the gut, causing dehydration and acidosis. So, never exceed feeding 10% or 0.7kg of grains per feeding.
The most common grains that are used as a feed of lactating goats are- Wheat, Barley, Milo, Oats, Molasses, Rice bran, Cotton Seeds and so on.
Herbs to Increase Milk production in Goats
This herb is very familiar worldwide because of its power of lowering blood sugar, boosting milk production. Both the seeds and leaves of fenugreek help increase milk production.
Though this herb is used by breastfeeding mothers of different locations of the world to increase their breast milk, you can feed them to your goats.
Different research supports that feeding 30 grams of Fenugreek daily to lactating does boost feed intake and milk production without any effect on milk composition.
You may know Alfalfa as a general grass, but it is actually a herb. You must be astonished by knowing the benefits of this herb. It is an affluent source of Protein, Vitamin A, C, E and K! It also contains calcium, phosphorus, iron and potassium.
You should feed this herb to your lactating does. Not only I, but hundreds of agronomists and researchers are also promising you that it will help to increase the milk of your goats.
3. Marshmallow Root
Marshmallow root is a well-known herb and it is available in all seasons as it is a perennial plant. They will help to improve the digestive system of your goat and increase milk production.
Fennel is a kitchen staff and used as human food. It has numerous nutritious values. It contains fiber, vitamin C, and many useful minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, and magnesium.
This herb contains estrogen-like compounds that stimulate the milk yield of goats.
A group of scientists claim that they actually have no effect on the natural milk supply.
That means these herbs can be used as the food of goats but they will only help to produce an average level of milk. So, if you encounter a below-average rate of production, you can feed this herb to your lactating goats.
Protect them from Parasites & Diseases to Ensure Greater Milk Production
There are so many external and internal parasites that attack goats.
Liver flukes, stomach worms, lungworms are some internal parasites. On the other hand Flies, mites, lice, ticks, and so on are external parasites. Attacks of parasites cause malnutrition and weakness in goats.
If your lactating goat is attacked by parasites the milk production will be decreased.
Mastitis is a common disease of dairy goats and bacterial attack causes this disease. You must be careful to prevent mastitis as it can decrease by nearly 10% of the milk production of a goat.
It also has a bad impact on the body fitness of dairy goats and kids. You will find clots or serum in the milk. Besides, the udder is swollen and hot.
If you find the symptoms you should communicate with a veterinary doctor.
To prevent the attack of bacteria keep in mind the following things-
- Clean hand or milking machine properly before milking
- Dip the teat and udder after milking
- Keep the house, pen, and milking shades clean.
High producing dairy goats may be attacked by this disease before or after kids.
You may find that your goat has lost appetite and it becomes nervous, weak and shuffles on its hind feet.
At this time you must not feed them legume hay like alfalfa, soybean, cowpea etc.
Other common diseases of goats like Enterotoxaemia, Diarrheas, Pneumonia, Coccidiosis, etc., and any other disease can reduce the production of milk. So, if you notice any unusual symptoms, you should consult a professional veterinary doctor.
Though this process has no direct connection with the production of milk in the goat, it has significant indirect relation.
When you keep a proper record of age, supplied food varieties, amount of the food supplied, milk yield of each time, diseases and treatments, and so on, you can make a correlation of your supplied food and milk yield from your dairy goats.
You can increase the production of milk by providing suitable foods and good husbandry. Keep a close look at the food you supply to the lactating goats. Ensure that all required nutrition value is fulfilled by the feeds.
Don’t force the goats to increase their production, as it is a gradual process. Besides, don’t make sudden drastic changes to the feed rather change it slowly, in case required. Milk twice a day and keep an eye on their health condition.