Goats have been domesticated by humans longer than cattle or sheep, and gain in popularity among all types of farmers, from the backyard hobbyist to large-scale commercial goat farmers. Goats require less space, feed and care than cattle, and goat milk is well known for its health benefits. Before taking on goat rearing and production, consider how much time you have for milking, to help you select which goat is best.
Females (does) need to be bred no more than once a year, and no less than once every two years, to maintain good milk production. Does generally produce milk for about 10 months after they give birth, and require milking every 12 hours. However; during high milk production seasons, milking every 8 hours is not uncommon. Before milking, wash the doe's udders and the milking equipment with warm soapy water and rinse well. If using the old fashion method, hands and stainless-steel milk pail, an organic soap also works.
High Milk Producers
The Swiss goat breeds are among the highest in milk production. Swiss goats produce an average of 3 liters of milk per day, which is 1 liter more milk per day than medium milk producing goats. While this is considered a normal milk production for such breeds as the Swiss Saanen and French Alpine, milking every eight hours results in more comfortable does. And, because milk production slows down with full udders, more milk is produced each time the udders are emptied.
Medium Milk Producers
While Swiss goats are capable of producing up to 4 liters of milk a day, medium milk producers like the Indian and Nubian, only produce 2 liters of milk a day. These goats are ideal for backyard farmers because they only produce a few gallons of milk a week and are quality meat producers. For smaller farms that butcher culled goats, medium milk producers are versatile and do not produce more milk than can be used or preserved as products such as cheese, yogurt and ice-cream.
Good nutrition and optimal natural environments are more likely to produce consistent, quality milking conditions. While goats tend to waste a great deal of the hay, they do require it for optimal milk production. Placing mangers from higher vantage points can reduce boredom browsers from emptying a manger onto the ground. Blueprints and construction ideas for organic mangers can be purchased over the Internet.