Well we've been talking about getting some goats this summer on our farm and my question is, does anyone know how many goats it would take to make enough milk for a family of 5? Approx 2-4 gallons I think. We're switching from cows milk to goats milk. Any help would be great.
depends on what kind of goats you are getting and how old they will be when you get them. It also depends on what kind of genetics your goats will have. If you buy from an established milking herd -- you may need 4-5 does if not more to get what you are looking for year round. You need to give your does an off season from milking. You will need to invest in a good milking stand or two, buckets and sanitizer as well as some udder cream and halters with leads for your goats. Good grass and feed is always nessecary as well.
I used to raise & show Nubian goats ( i love em cant wait till we can buy some land to get some more) I have also had La Manchas, Aplines, Olberhasi, Toggenberg and Saanan. All of my dairy goats (breeds listed above) were all milk/.show goats. I also had Boers,pygmies and brush (mutt) goats too. They were all great companions and tons of fun.
i have dealt with dairy goats most of my life, and used to sell milk to local people. i usually kept 7 to 10 head fresh (in milk) i also did alot of showing at fairs, and yogurt and ice cream making. at one point in time i had over 50 head.
for some wierd reason the Toggenburg breed generaly produces more milk, but no matter what they are fed, the milk generaly will have a "weedy" taste.
i once had a Saanen that gave almost half a gallon per milking(amazing). just like cows, the milk production depends on the animal, and the feed ( i fed dairy grain plus cotton seed in the lint). no matter what breed you decide on, you want them to have a big barrel (belly), a deep heart girth (area in the rib/shoulders), and fairly straight down the top line (the back when looking from the side, from shoulder to hip), the udder should be well proportioned and soft, the median suspensery ligament (part that attaches udder to body between teats) should be high and strong holding the udder up close to the body.
becareful when buying, there are several that are crossed with meat goats. do some reading up on dairy goats, it will help you be able to recognize them.
keep in mind that when you do stat milking, that unlike cows milk, the butter fat does not seperate much...there will only be a thin layer on the top after it has set. goat milk has been called naturaly homoginized. also, keeping them away from smelly weeds, wild garlic/onions...or the milk will end up tasting/smelling like it. i also recommend milking into glass or stainless steel...plastic is ok as long as milk is the only thing that has ever been in it...milk will absorb smells/tastes from other things easily. i always stored mine in glass jars also.
i hope this helps. i wish you best of luck!
***Edited By: bon on 2/18/2006 11:05:30 AM*** Reason: add
I really have no idea, all I know is goats are awesome creatures. Our neighbor has a black lab and 3 goats as pets. They run around like they are dogs and chase him around. Then they call all 4 animals and they all go running in the house lol. It's adorable.
We had goats when I was a kid. Mind you, that was a long time ago...but what I remember most about them is, they are very adept at jumping up on car hoods, and they are particularly fond of flowers (to eat them-NOT to look at them!)
lol...yeah, they will eat flowers and jump on car hoods if they aren't fenced well. i had one that got out of the fence and was found standing on top of my brothers semi truck roof, boy was he mad!....i guess she was playing a game "how high can you climb"...lol.
i started using electeric fencing along the top and the bottom of my fences to keep them in.
they are very teachable tho...i had one i trained to shake hands/hoofs.
Bon - That's exactly what I want to do, make icecream and yogurt out of it, and eventually cheese too.
Thanks everyone for all the info, it's very helpful to know the do's and dont's. I appreciate it. :)
I guess I'll have to do some research and figure out what kind of goats we'll want. It's funny, I never thought there were so many varieties of them. Is there ever such thing as a "bad" goat? Maybe a type of goat you would not recommend for milking?
My aunt use to have a little goat, I think they are miniture or dwarf.??? But, anyway it was so cute. It would slide down the kid's slide on the swing set with them. They eventually had to give him to the zoo and my aunt cryed until she said never again, she got to attached to him. They went to the zoo to visit him and he was very happy with some of his own kind.
nubian goats produce the best tasting milk ever, in my opinion. my mother-in-law raises and shows them. when ever we go and visit her we can't wait to have a big, cold glass of milk. we always tell people if you like whole cows milk, than you'll love nubian goat milk. the funny thing is everybody is leary of drinking it because they have heard that goats milk is horrible. well yes back in the day, but a lot has changed and different goats have been chosen for producing milk comparible to the cow. it makes great butter, whipped cream, yogurt, and last but not least soap. not to mention that nubians make great pets. they are very sweet and loving creatures, next best to dogs i think. they are a bigger goat though. they can get about hip high(on a 5'3"frame like mine that is). well i don't know if this will help any, this is just my experience. good luck with your endevour.
YES!!! they come in all breeds...just like any other animal used for production...look for QUALITY to avoid the bad ones. beefy looking milk goats (short stalky) can lead to low milk production...so can small, frail looking adults (alot of these small ones are crossed with pigmy goats). look for the large, lean, clean cut goats...they will look very feminine. keep in mind that if they are heavy milkers at peak production, they may look kind of skinny, (with a back bone poking up) they should have a sleek glossy coat. they may look under fed, (some may be) but most of the time, just like dairy cows, they are putting everything they eat into milk production.
when you do start milking, keep a routine...milking times should be set every 12 hours for maximum production. i always used 6am and 6pm. once a routine is established you won't have to call them up to be milked...they will already be there waiting on you, as if they know what time it is.
another tip...goats get lice and worms regularly (seems like) i had the best luck alternating wormers between panacure and ivermectin (ivermectin gets parasites internal and external)
goats also have the highest body temperature of any mammal at 103 degrees F.
aslo, you can raise almost any baby animal on goat milk, i have raised calves, puppies, pigs, deer, rabbits, squirrels, gerbils(pinkys), possums...too many to list.
alot of people who can not digest cows milk, can drink goat milk with no problems as it is easier to digest.
the gestation of pregnancy in goats is 5 months. i usually bred mine in november thru december to have april-may kids. it is not uncommon for goats to have twins or triplets. i let them have 3 days worth of colostrum (bottle feeding) before i switch them over to milk replacer.
you should also vaccinate for blackleg (Clostridium chauvoei) it can wipe out a herd in matter of days. it's not just a cow/sheep disease...goats get it too.i had a friend who lost 1/2 of a herd before finding out what was happening.
I can honestly say that I don't know much about goats. My BIL used to have some...just as pets. I bought him a cute little pygmy for his B-day one year and can you believe it; she had 4 kids a few years after that!! Quadruplets, pretty cool. There is nothing cuter than a baby goat...hands down!!
I did have a long-time goat milker tell me that you want to keep your Breeding Billy downwind from your does when they are lactating. Their stout odor can flavor the milk. And that's one thing I can say I have experienced first hand. The smell of a lovely Billy during mating time. ICK!