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Goat Holding Back Milk — The Grow Network Community
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Goat Holding Back Milk

AlisonAlison Posts: 149 ✭✭✭
edited October 2018 in Raising Livestock
Oh, I have also tried feeding her while in the stand also. It didn't help.


  • sherryosherryo Posts: 58
    edited October 2018
    Are you massaging her bag firmly?

    Watch the kids nursing - they are rather rough on mom, don't you think?  This prodding (not punching, don't hurt her) is a way for the kids to encourage letdown.   You don't want to be as rough as the kids but she definitely needs to be stimulated with a massage for her body to get the message.

    I usually do this when I'm washing her with nice warm water.
  • AlisonAlison Posts: 149 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2018
    Yes I've done the nudging; have been using that method for years when I started with milking sheep. I also use warm water with her each time to clean prior to milking.

    Today I changed to simply milking with her tethered up against a fence not far from where they normally sleep in their pen. I also separated the kids last night - though she did some damage to the pen...

    By the way, sheep milk is the nicest milk I have ever tasted. Very sweet and rich.
  • sherryosherryo Posts: 58
    edited October 2018
    How old are the kids?

    Did separating help?
  • AlisonAlison Posts: 149 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2018
    The kids are a week old, so I had put off separating at all for a few days. I wait til they've had a late evening feed and just before dark [when the kids are in the spot they sleep in], I move mum to an adjoining area where they can see each other.

    This morning I finally had more luck. Almost 2lt. I stopped as I wanted to make sure there was a lot left for the kids.

    I am milking in the yard not the stand at the moment, which she is less resistant to.

    Massaging with the warm cleaning cloth didn't work [suggested by someone else on another site]. I've been giving her extra treats/ bribes and after trying to milk for a while letting her go, waiting for the kids to feed and after a minute or so trying again - doing that a couple of times morning and evening. VERY time consuming for very little, but hopefully the tide has turned.
  • sherryosherryo Posts: 58
    edited October 2018
    Glad to hear it's getting better.  Are you saying you got 2 liters in one session?  I would consider that a lot of milk, especially for week one.

    One other thing I thought about is she may have mild mastitis.   It's fairly common in dairy animals.  It makes them feel bad and causes reluctance.  Mild cases aren't usually apparent by looking (but I wouldn't use the milk).  Are you strip testing her milk?
  • bmaverickbmaverick Posts: 141 ✭✭✭
    edited November 2018

    A hard thing to give advice on.  After the kids are born, we do milk, but it's only 1-cup at the most.  We let the kids nurse for the first 2-months.  From the 1st-week milking to the 2-months out, there are steps we take to increase our share of the milk being produced.  Hopefully you have that figured out already. :)  We only milk in the mornings anyway.  Thus, the kids are only separated in the next open stall for the night.  After the morning milking, the moma's and kids are with each other the rest of the day in their natural way.

    We always did a cup of alfalfa pellets and a sprinkle of BOSS over the top in the bowl while we milked.  When the does held back, we would added molasses or a little more BOSS.  As far as we know, BOSS is like chocolate to livestock.  They can't get enough of it.  Sort of like corn with cows.  But we do no grains at our place.

    While cleaning the udder, even on cold days, a nice really warm (near hot) soapy wash cloth scrub down works wonders to free up the milk.

    Now, some people will get milk held back confused with mastitis.  Mastitis is blocked milk ducts and much warm cloth rubs and messaging along with dry hand pumping is needed.  Hand milking tends to be the best solution overall to prevent mastitis.  New does with their first or second freshening tend to get this way.

    You sound seasoned in the goat raising.  You are personal with your girls.  Yes, a suborn girl can be a trip at times.  Just work it out all in love.   Your girl is more interested in her kids.  Make a routine that she will adjust and follow.  Livestock animals just love routine.  And if for some reason you break routine, they will let you know.  In good ways or otherwise. LOL

    Keep us all posted on your progress or two steps back.  We all have those times.
  • AlisonAlison Posts: 149 ✭✭✭
    edited November 2018

    Thankyou for your response, and the one previously from sherryo. It's taken ages to respond as it's spring here and we are 18 months into a horrific drought that is putting farmers out of business. Thank goodness I'm a small-timer. It is ridiculously busy though.

    She doesn't have mastitis. I do strip test and there has never been any indication of mastitis in any form. She is holding back for the kids and I can understand, but we let the kids feed a short while in the morning after having them in a pen right next to her where she can see them. They do get all the colostrum - though I do keep some in a glass jar in the freezer that I milk out on day one or two in case of emergencies. I only milk in the morning for the first few months also.

    I have developed a new routine that is working better, though she is still holding back. Frustrating, but just the way it is at the moment. We are getting enough for our needs so I am accepting it. It's hard when a large bale of hay is $400-$500 each [usually half the price before the drought. The U.S seems to have extremely cheap hay, not here in Australia].

    I do wash with the almost hot soapy water, even though it's warming up here, and I give her a liberal relaxed brush as well. I've heard that some people use natural products with peppermint oil in it to encourage a final let down. I think she will relent and let it down when she no has kids to feed. Selling the kids in a drought will take a while by the look of it. The boy can always go to freezer camp if necessary.

    I feed her Lucerne...what you call alfalfa.  I'm not sure what BOSS is - a google search sowed a similarly named product which was a multi vitamin for cows. I have a liquid multi for them which I'd put in their water, but they are getting homeopathy as their worm treatment this month.

    Molasses I have but the Lucerne is not in pellet form, can't seem to get it organically here. I've tried her on molasses before and she didn't seem to like it much. They do get a good spectrum of certified organic supplements added into copra meal which is available 24/7. It's non gmo and chemical free, high in protein, grain free, very affordable and the goats love it.

    I think I'll just have to stay the course.
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