Can a goat be milked before she kids? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I have a goat that has "uddered up" and hasn't had her babies yet. I know that she hasn't aborted them or had them secretly. She is starting to look uncomfortable with her udder so full. Can they be milked BEFORE they kid? Or does this screw up the colostrum? Or the udder? I really don't HAVE to milk her I was just curious. Thanks for the info!!

-- Gailann Schrader (, April 11, 2001


It is best NOT to milk her at all, so that you don't lose the colostrum. If it gets to the point that she starts dripping then you can milk her a bit, to relieve the pressure, but SAVE THE COLOSTRUM in a sterilized container (preferably glass). Can be frozen and then heated to be fed to the kids. Vickie, and other suggestions?

-- Deborah (, April 11, 2001.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I've always thought that a goat (or any other animal) does not produce colostrum milk til she goes into labor. The release of hormones at the time of delivery triggers the production of colostrum. But I wouldn't milk her out too much if you can possibly help it.

-- Marcia (, April 11, 2001.

Marcia is right about the colostrum not coming in until she gives birth.If the doe is really distressed then milk her out.I would not use this milk.It will probably be thin,watery milk and definately not colostrum.We had a doe do this a couple of years ago.Huge udder and obviously needing to be milked.I listened to all the well meaning "don't milk" advice and the doe freshened with a huge rock hard udder.She never was quite right again and had to be culled.From then on,I milk if the udder is too full.

-- JT (, April 11, 2001.

I have told this story before but here goes. We sold colostrum to the local zoo, they were having some problems with their antelope population. They came to the farm and ran tests on our colostrum. This is the story usually about how they wouldn't even take the colostrum from our first fresheners (nearly 2 year old does having their first kids), it had such a low specific gravity it would not boost the antibodies of their babies. This changed my management also, I don't use 1st fresheners colostrum. My now 11 year old doe was very uddered up and I always milked her early, she would get edema if I didn't. Upon milking her out I asked this guy about the colostrum, since like many things in goats you hear lots of stuff that folks think. We tested it an it was fine. It had always looked fine in the past, thick and yellow. I do know over on the Diary forums, folks still will say that even though this looks like colostrum that antibody formation doesn't happen until during labor. what happens to all the colostrum the doe produces in that big full udder before delivery, somehow labor triggers it to change? Certainly not. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, April 11, 2001.

Thanks for all the info! I went ahead and milked her out. I could barely get my hand around her one teat!

-- Gailann Schrader (, April 12, 2001.

Gailann don't keep us in suspense.Did you get colostrum or something much thinner that obviously wasn't colostrum.I would like to know in case it happens to me again.We have several different ideas here and I think I will milk,if it happens again,regardless.Just one more good reason to keep some frozen colostrum on hand. And first fresheners don't have proper colostrum.Hmmmm.Yeah right.

-- JT (, April 13, 2001.

Sorry, didn't mean to not tell you! The milk looked like thick, yellowish custard. Not mastitis-like, just like good custardy soft-serve (before it's frozen). I didn't take a clean bucket with me to milk into or I would have saved it. If she swells up again before kidding (due the end of this month) I will save it. She is a second-time freshener so it should be good stuff. The dog liked it "VERY WELL, THANK YOU" (Dog talking here). Really beautiful colostrum milk. This is from a goat that aborted last year in with a huge herd so I'm hoping she will kid ok this year. I got a gallon a day of milk from her last year! Goat cheese, goat's milk soap, ICE CREAM (the Boy is begging for some already), and whatever else I could make. I even froze some because she got so ahead of us. Frozen milk makes perfect cheese & ice cream. Anyway, thanks for all the info. Next time I will use a clean bucket and freeze it. Smiles to all.

-- Gailann Schrader (, April 13, 2001.

JT, know anything about cattle? What is the reason that cattlemen don't keep ANY heifer's calfs for replacement? Because of the their milk supply or because of the poor quality of their colostrum, growing out calves who simply never make the grade, even though the genetics are there?

Same thing in goats. A first freshener at most farms is around 1 year old, has received 2 CD&T shots, and has had only 12 months to build antibodies? Much different than a 5 year old, who has built over time natural resitance to worms, cocci etc. When you (not you personally JT) have had a chance to freshen large numbers of first fresheners and then freshen them again as much older mothers, you will see very quickly the quality of her colostrum and of her kids change as the doe matures. We do milk out and freeze first fresheners colostrum, but it simply gives us a better result in feeding these kids colostrum from other older does. When we raised Boer goats we did the same thing, with them nursing the colostrum from their mom, we simply tubed them with 8 ounces of good quality colostrum from our older dairy stock as soon as they were born.

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, April 13, 2001.

Vicki,I was raised on a cattle ranch.I don't know what kind of cattle you are talking about but ranchers certainly do keep heifer calves for replacement.Of course,I understand that maybe in your part of the country ranchers sell their heifer calves then buy them back from the suckers after they have had one calf.How ridiculous can you get.This is even worse than your references to mysterious "university studies". What you have done is worry new goat owners needlessly that their first time fresheners won't have"proper"colostrum.Of course they will. The damage here is to the new-comers to the goat world.Those of us who have a little experience no better than to listen to that kind of advice.We all appreciate your help with problems concerning disease.Obviously you have more experience with that than all the rest of us put together but how about leaving off the "ego posts". Or better yet,why not try posting this on NubianTalk.That bunch knows goats and will laugh you off the list and you know it.

-- JT (, April 13, 2001.

I didn't say Heifer calves, I said Heifer's calves. I happen to be a regular on Nubian Talk and some of my best friends are on that list.

I certainly don't understand your problem with me, just simply don't read my posts! I don't make up anything that I post, and I also don't post what so and so has said works. I post what has worked for me in the past. If you aren't interested in what Texas A&M has to say than don't read about it. Your nasty little comments in the past have always been off hand petty nonsense, if you don't want me to post on the goat threads, than you give the folks the answers! JT you have just got to be a guy! I seem to have more run-ins with guys whose names start with J!

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, April 13, 2001.

Come on, y'all: Be nice! Don't slash each other with your keyboards and don't rise to any baiting -- rise above it!

-- snoozy (, April 14, 2001.

Since I've dam raised nearly all our kids for years and have a lot of first fresheners every year I'll throw in my opinion. One of the biggest, strongest does in my herd was born to an 11 month old doe, she was one of twins, the other was born dead so she was raised as a single. I have noticed that most kids from first fresheners tend to be smaller at birth and will stay that way if they are not given a little extra attention. I think this is due to several factors: the amount of room for the kid in the uterus of a doe who is not even a year old yet, the low status of the kid's mother resulting in less feed than the doe would like to eat, less milk in a first freshener, and an inexperienced mother who is still learning what to do with these fuzzy little things that scream all the time! When the kids are given the same advantages as the others and fed grain they grow to the same size as the other kids, even when they are bred to kid at a year old. If they are neglected and left to fend for themselves then yes they will be small and are likely to stay that way. There is definitely less colostrum from a little yearling milker but the kids do not seem to be more disease prone or sickly, just a little smaller for awhile.

-- Chamoisee (, April 14, 2001.

I have never experienced anything like the above discribed first freshener colostrum in my considerable years of goat keeping, nor has my friend who has been keeping goats for even longer than me. Regional thing maybe?? My top show doe was the daughter of a first freshener, who was the daughter of a first freshener. 3 years ago my wethers took grand and reserve grand in 3 different counties and 4 of them were from first fresheners. I wonder if Ken keeps his heifer calves from first fresheners?? Interesting concept though, just never heard of it.

-- diane (, April 14, 2001.

Vicki,Please accept my apology.I really didn't mean to ruffle your feathers THAT much. :>)I read and appreciate your posts' just as everyone else does.Just don't always agree.Again,sorry if I upset you. I won't comment on your answers again.

-- JT (, April 15, 2001.

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