Precocious milker-milk or leave alone? (Goats - Diary) : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

My yearling Alpine doe (from heavy milking lines) has never been bred. In the past few days I've noticed that her udder is showing some development. The development is very even, and today I decided to check things out. She is producing milk. She was in heat about a week ago, has been cycling regularly (I had intended to have her bred before this point but I found myself without transportation unexpectedly). Now I need to find out- should I milk her? Will this cause/prevent/have no effect on the possibility of mastitis developing? I didn't milk her out today, just did enough to see whether or not she is producing. Will she ultimately milk a substantial amount if we begin milking her twice daily? Since she started producing without kidding, will she dry up if I don't milk her? Sorry for so many questions but I'm very surprised by this and my breeder has no direct experience with it...

-- Skye Astara (, August 30, 2001


Coming in nice an even it is hormonally caused. Yes you can milk her now if you choose, I actually don't know of anyone who has done this to tell you what kind of production she will have. Even when "checking" to see if she had milk, make sure and do it cleanly, by expressing milk you have done away with the waxy plug that is in the end of the teat which keeps bacteria out. Yes as she is bred she will dry up if you leave her alone. Remember milking is all about hormones (oxytocin which is released from the brain for milk letdown) and if you take milk from the udder it will produce that much more. Percocious udder is actually much more common than most folks think. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, August 30, 2001.

I have a friend who was born and raised in Switzerland. She told me once that it isn't unusual for the goats there, mostly Alpines she said, to be precocious milkers and to stay in milk their whole lives without even seeing a buck. She said the production was adequate for the owners not to feel compelled to breed the goats, just used and enjoyed the milk. I don't know of anyone in this country who follows this practice.

-- marilyn (, August 30, 2001.

I had 2 Alpine yearlings that i bought 2 yrs ago that were from heavy milking lines. both had precousis udders. i didn't touch them but rather watched them for mastitis, etc. When they freshened they were heavy producers. The one milked in 265 days 1910 pounds of milk. this yr she is producing more, but we recently movved so we are not on test. Vicki gave some excellent advice and insights.

-- Bernice (, August 30, 2001.

A friend of mine milks her goats through, some of them she doesn't breed, just keeps milking. She says the production drops down from Sept. to Feb. but then picks back up as if she had kidded. She did this as an experiment to see if it would work, I think.

-- Cindy in Ok (, September 03, 2001.

We have a significant problem with two of our Nubian goats who are precocious milkers. Our goats are pets and we have never needed or wanted the milk. These goats have never been bred, one is 11 years old, the other 10, and both have been producing milk for 4 or 5 years. Currently, we milk both once every two days because they become full. We would like to cut this milking out altogether but cannot do so. Last winter one of these goats slowed her production and we had to milk her only once a week but over the last few months she has gone back to having to be milked every two days. Please, is there any medicine or anything we can do short of surgery (our vet suggested a mastectomy) to stop this milk production?

-- Carol Kominski (, October 04, 2001.

If I were your mentor I would have suggested about 5 years ago you just have a mastectomy done. Your does are way to old to even think about doing this now. The life expectency of your two does is realistically just 2 more years, when you loose the oldest doe, you will need to expect that the younger one will also loose will to live.

Letting them udder further than just the two days is the trick in drying. If you empty them every two days they will make that much more milk. Letting the udder fill tight with milk, just like you do to dry yourself when nursing, is what signals the brain to stop producing. You have kept these does producing by taking the milk out. Let them udder up, to the point of tightness, then only milk out enough milk from each side to barely releave them, like 2 cups. Then leave them alone. You do not want to be milking, ie. taking all the milk out, only releaveing them. You may want to infuse them with a dry cow infusion and let it sit up in the udder. Something with a label for staph would be what I would pick.

Congrats on your management to have such old stock. There are specific bloodlines of Nubians that do grow out to be these old gals like this, but not without a good home. Curious if you know their pedigree? Curious if you have had to have their teeth looked at. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, October 04, 2001.

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