Raising goats for milk is rewarding, but it is no easy feat! It is quite labor-intensive as the goats require daily milking, a specialized diet, and breeding for high-quality milk production. There are great benefits, including raw milk, goat cheese, and making goat milk soap!
If you are committing to raising dairy goats, then you need a nutritional feed for your herds. New Heritage Feed Co. is a locally sourced product with all-natural ingredients. They created their product with the consumer, community, and the animal in mind!
In this article, we will provide you, the hobby farmer, with a guide to raising goats for milk.
Determine the Legalities for Raising Goats for Milk in Your Community
You may already be raising other animals on your farm or perhaps already own goats! That may not mean you have permission to raise goats for milk. It is essential to check with local zoning and homeowner regulation if raising goats for milk is permitted.
Additionally, there could be limitations on the number of goats allowed. You likely will want to breed the animals, so it is important to know what is permitted before you begin your journey.
Goats are very social animals, so you are going to want at least to. If you have two, does you can stagger breeding them to produce milk year-round. To maintain milk production, they will need to have kids (baby goats) at least every 1-3 years.
Consider When You are Going to Breed
Most goat breeds are seasonal breeders, so they tend to be fertile in the fall and winter, having their baby goats in the spring. If you are going to raise goats for milk, you may want to consider mini-breeds that can breed year-round.
One such breed is the Nigerian Dwarf goat. Also, crosses with mini-breeds may breed year-round. Goats breed successfully when in heat, so it is necessary to have a buck waiting, so the opportunity does not pass.
Most doelings (female goats) breed when they are 8-12 months old. Experts recommend waiting until they are at least 80% of their adult weight. Does can continue to be bred regularly so long as they are healthy and have regular heat.
Have Proper Shelter and Equipment to Raise Goats
Goat owners understand a tight fence is key for goat herds. Goats are excellent escape artists and can climb through just about any enclosure. If you have a tight fence in place, your herd may stay put!
Most dairy farmers have a separate enclosure for milking goats. It may be a stall in a barn, a separate building, or a covered outdoor area that is not near the goatherds. You will likely want a place that is easy to clean with concrete floors.
If you have a small hobby farm, any comfortable space adequate for year-round milking will be sufficient. To keep the room clean, it is best to leave the goats out of the area when not in use, so it stays clean. Sweep up droppings after storing milk, so there is no risk of contamination.
Have a Plan for Feeding Your Goats For Milk Production
Because of their high milk production, the goats will need a better nutrition program than raising meat goats. A proper mix feed, hay, and supplements should all be available for your goat herds.
If raising goats for milk, they will need access to pasture and a grain mix feed with 14-16% protein. If the goat has just delivered a kid, they should have access to free feed as much grain as they like.
Once their bodies have recovered, give 1 pound of food for every 3-5 pounds of milk. They should also have free access to hay whenever not in the pasture. Since they will need more calcium, it is great to add legume hay!
Consider adding supplements such as alfalfa pellets to the grain mix if they do not access legumes. Supplements will give them an added calcium boost. Free choice minerals are also required when raising goats for milk to be in the best health for milk production and breeding.
Decide If You Can Commit to the Milking Process
You must understand that raising goats for milk is going to take dedication. If you cannot milk every day, you need to find someone who can help when you are unavailable.
You’ll get more milk if you milk two times a day versus once daily. Some farmers optimize production by milking three times per day!
You are probably doing to have a lot of milk with time. Do you have a plan on what to do with the milk? There are several options but likely you are going to produce for yourself and others so predict what will work for your farm and make sure you have the right supplies on hand.
A healthy doe will produce up to a gallon and a half a day soon after giving birth. Production dwindles to about a quart or less 9 to 10 months after. To best predict outcomes, research the doe’s mother and grandmother and how successful they were with milk production.
Are you prepared with supplies? You are going to need plenty of containers to store milk and will need storage. Many who raise goats also prefer a milk machine versus milking by hand.
Also, you are going to need cleaning supplies. You’ll need to clean the goat’s udders, so you minimize the chances of debris getting into your milk. It is ideal to use an udder wash; however, a washcloth and warm, soapy water will work just fine.
Supplies to clean the floor and your milk stand will be needed. Hoses, buckets, and tools are all useful.
New Heritage Feed Has the Natural Feed For Your Goat Dairy Herds
New Heritage Feed Co. has a complete goat ration pellet (16%) feed. The natural feed contains the nutrients that goats need, with natural essential oils.
The complete goat ration pellet is versatile, enabling optimal milk production and flavorful meat.
New Heritage Feed Co.gives you only the best for all your hobby and farm herds!