Dairy Goats

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Dairy goats are considered to be premium livestock in a farm mainly because dairy goat production is known to be an alternative livestock enterprise ideal for part-time livestock operations or small scale farmers. Dairy goats, or goats in general, are considered to be a hardy species that are generally easy to raise. They just forage on basically any pasture and are inexpensive to keep and maintain.

 Aside from being smaller than cows, goats are also easier to handle and said to be highly-intelligent, friendly animals. Additionally, dairy goats are curious by nature, so they can also provide entertainment for kids and kids-at-heart.

Cow’s milk may be the most common reference to “drinking milk”, but currently, goat’s milk is starting to enjoy a niche market with a bulk of potential consumers, most of them health buffs and allergic to cow’s milk. To date, goat milk is considered to be one of the primary milk sources for humans. It is also highly sought after because of its health benefits and unique taste.

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Dairy Goat Breeds

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row column_structure=”3_5,2_5″ module_class=”custom_row” _builder_version=”4.4.5″][et_pb_column type=”3_5″ module_class=”second-on-mobile” _builder_version=”4.4.5″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”4.4.5″ text_text_color=”#ffffff” header_2_text_color=”#ffffff” header_2_font_size=”36px” custom_margin_tablet=”” custom_margin_phone=”30px||||false|false” custom_margin_last_edited=”on|phone”]The potential of dairy goats have developed throughout the years, as farmers and breeders slowly learn and uncover the importance and versatility of dairy goats. Breeders who take care of a herd of dairy goats have long been enjoying the potential of selling its milk to processors, which are usually on a regional basis.

Aside from enjoying the abundant production of the dairy goat breed, dairy goat producers can also consider the potential for selling the goats to American youth and hobbyists involved in vocational agriculture and livestock projects.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”2_5″ module_class=”first-on-mobile” _builder_version=”4.4.5″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_image src=”https://allaboutgoats.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/dairy-goat-pic2-1.png” title_text=”dairy-goat-pic2″ align=”center” force_fullwidth=”on” _builder_version=”4.4.5″ border_radii=”on|10px|10px|10px|10px”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”Section color and e. t. c.” module_id=”gout-contnet-bottom-page” _builder_version=”4.4.5″ background_color=”#ffffff” custom_padding=”35px|0px|35px|0px|true|false” hover_enabled=”0″][et_pb_row admin_label=”Type of Goat” module_class=”custom_row” _builder_version=”4.4.5″ custom_padding=”||||false|false”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ module_class=”second-on-mobile” _builder_version=”4.4.5″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”4.4.5″ header_2_font_size=”36px”]

Dairy Goat Milk

Health buffs have long been raving about the benefits of goat milk, which can be seen in their online reviews in YouTube or in a published health and wellness book. Aside from its unique taste, goat milk also has significant differences in its protein structure than that of cow’s milk.

That being said, individuals who are allergic to cow milk can still enjoy milky, nutritious goodness thanks to the existence of dairy goats. The fat globules in the milk of dairy goats stay in suspension longer, which results in the perception of natural homogenization.

In the U.S., there are known dairy goat farms in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania that produce quality dairy goat products such as goat cheese, goat yogurt, etc. However, in most states and cities, including Pennsylvania, it is against the law to sell or market raw milk that has not undergone inspection by state milk inspectors.

Dairy Goats and Milking Time

Many farmers ensure feeding the does grain during milking time to make it produce more milk. It’s very important to keep the schedule of milking time consistent – meaning, one has to milk the goat once or twice a day, at least 12 hours apart.
To milk a dairy goat, make sure that the milking equipments are all prepared and the milking area must also be clean and sanitized. As soon as the milking process is done, make sure to chill the milk to avoid spoiling.

Dairy Goats Can Produce Unique Specialty Products

Herds of dairy goats are considered to be good browsers, which allows them to learn the area they are in where they can familiarize and consume plants that have aromatic or flavor compounds that can contribute to the flavor or smell of the cheese or milk that they produce.

This feature of dairy goats is greatly beneficial and strategic to breeders, especially those who are pushing for unique, specialty products. There is a rich target market for this niche or business, including health buffs who are actively sharing information and their unique health finds to their online audience.

Dairy Goats Production

There are six known breeds of dairy goats – Alpine, Oberhasli, LaMancha, Nubian, Toggenburg and Saanen. The lactation period of dairy goats goes on an average of 284 days, with a peak in production happening every 4 to 6 weeks after kidding.

Below is a table showing the average milk production by dairy goat breeds based on 2003 DHIR data.

Breed Average production (lbs/lactation) Production range (lbs/lactation) Milk fat (%) Milk protein (%)
Toggenburg 2,115 940-4,380 3.2 2.7
Alpine 2,266 790-5,470 3.4 2.9
Saanen 2,577 610-5,490 3.3 2.9
LaMancha 2,100 740-4,320 4.0 3.2
Oberhasli 2,146 930-4,450 3.9 2.9
Nubian 1,820 560-4,270 4.9 3.7

It is worth noting that the composition and volume of the dairy goat milk is greatly controlled by the genetics of the goat breeds, its youth and the diet consumed by the animal.

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Which Dairy Goat Produces The Most Milk?

Basing on the chart above, the Saanen goat breed is the most productive goat in terms of milk production. Originating from Switzerland, the Saanen dairy goats have an average milk yield of 838 kg in a lactation period of 264 days. The milk of Saanen dairy goats have an average of 2.7-2.9% of protein and 3.2-3.3% of milk fat.

Nigerian Dwarf Goats

One dairy goat breed not mentioned in the chart above is the Nigerian Dwarf goat. Dating back to the 1950s, these miniature goats were brought to the United States and have been used not only for companionship but for their awesome milk production as well.

Taking from its name, the Nigerian Dwarf goats are known for their small body weight. These animals are known to be loving, gentle and even-tempered, perfect for petting zoos and families with children because of its playful personality.

What makes Nigerian Dwarf goats attractive and beautiful is because they are compact but can produce an impressive amount of milk. For a miniature goat breed, Nigerian Dwarf goats can produce a surprising amount of milk, approximately three to four lbs of 6 to 10% of butterfat milk per day. The high percentage of butterfat this dairy goat breed produces gives their milk a rich, sweet, decadent smell and flavor.

Ensuring Productivity of Dairy Goats

Taking care of goats is not just a part-time thing; it requires time, effort and dedication. A background or interest in agriculture is also a plus. To ensure that the dairy goats you are raising are productive in terms of meat, cheese, milk, etc., you need to take note of the following recommendations below:

  1. Encourage freshening of the does and give the animal the widest span of time as possible. This is good for your domestic market because you will be able to provide a regular source of milk all year round. Aside from selling milk to customers, breeders can be sure that their family will also have a steady source of milk from dairy goats.
  2. Manage the health of young does to reap the benefits in the long run. Make sure to get them ready for breeding around 7 months of age because this will help increase the total lifetime herd production of meat and milk. This technique also reduces the number of non-producing animals in the goat herd.
  3. Eliminate producers by culling animals. Breeders can definitely reap the benefits of this technique because culled animals are expected to increase the herd productivity.

Dairy Goats Nutrition

To ensure that dairy goats are producing stable and high-quality milk, these animals need to be fed with a healthy,balanced diet with vitamins, energy, minerals and protein as required by the National Research Council.

For breeders who are wary on purchasing goat feed, forages such as silage, hay and pasture can constitute a majority of a dairy goat’s daily diet. Simply supplementing the diet of dairy goats with simple grain mixes will lower the cost and expenses of goat breeders.

Do Dairy Goats Produce Milk All Year?

Typically, does give birth during spring and after 8 weeks, breeders can start enjoying milk for almost an entire year. It is highly advisable to re-breed a female goat sometime in fall so her milk production will freshen up again by spring.

Housing and Equipment for Dairy Goats

There are lots of farm land and communities that are housing dairy goats. Below are 4 requirements to ensure efficient dairy goat housing:

  1. Make sure that the building has adequate ventilation and that the overall structure (ceilings and walls) should be condensation-free.
  2. Bedded areas for dairy goats should be clean and dry.
  3. Watering devices and feeders must be located in an area where the feed and water are not inefficiently wasted and not easily contaminated with animal wastes.
  4. The structure for the housing of dairy goats must be strategically arranged to ensure that minimum amount of time and labor will be needed to maintain the cleanliness of the area.

Dairy Goat Shows

The purpose of a dairy goat show is simply not for the sake of showing off the goats. The actual purpose of a dairy goat show is to select animals which come closest to the ideal of productive, sound type.

Just like a pageant, there are judges who are competent in the industry of goat breeding. The publicity and awards gained during dairy goat shows give breeders the much-deserved recognition for the time, sincere effort and loving work spent in the barn. Winning in a dairy goat show can also be like a commercial for breeders, where the bred animals are placed in the spotlight for everyone to see.