How to Dry Off Your Dairy Goat

How to dry off your dairy goat.

Most goat owners keep their dairy goats in milk for approximately 9-10 months. Once a goat is bred, she should be dried off (allowed to stop producing milk) 2-3 months before she kids again, so that she can put her body's energy into growing her kids.

Most of my first herd of goats would be just about finished lactating in the fall. By November they would be producing a cup of milk or even less daily.

My current goats are much better milkers. Although Ziva was the only one I was still milking when autumn rolled around last year, she didn't seem eager to quit.

Normally I would continue to milk until we hit the "2-3 months before kidding" point, which would be December or January, but since I was planning to take a trip out of state to visit my new grandson, it was time to stop milking. Hubby feeds everyone when I'm gone, but he doesn't milk goats. I wanted to be sure Ziva was dried off and comfortable before I left town.

So, how do you dry off a dairy goat?

How to dry off your dairy goat

The first step to dry off your dairy goat

On my homestead, the first step in drying off a goat - allowing her body to stop producing milk - is to cut out the evening milking and only milk once a day.

I usually do this when it gets really hot in August, but that year I continued to milk Ziva twice a day through September, just because she was producing so well.

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So I stopped milking in the evening. Since I feed my does on the milkstand while I'm milking, I also cut Ziva's daily grain ration in half by cutting out the evening milking. Decreasing the amount of grain you feed your doe slows down her milk production.

You could, of course, cut out the morning milking and only milk in the evening if that suits your schedule better. You're in charge here, do what works best for you.

How to stop milking your dairy goat.

The second step

A couple of weeks later, my next step is to not milk her out completely when I milk in the morning. Leaving a bit of milk in the udder tells the doe's body that her milk isn't needed in the same quantity, so she starts producing less.

Don't rush the process. Give the doe's body plenty of time to respond to each change. I prefer to allow at least a week, preferably more, to each step.

You should stop milking a dairy goat 2-3 months before she kids again.

The third step

Then I milk every other morning. This is another way of decreasing the demand on her body, and she should produce even less milk.

How to dry off a dairy goat.

Over time I'll leave even more milk "unmilked." As the amount I'm milking decreases, I'll continue to decrease her ration of grain which in turn should also decrease the amount she produces.

The final step to drying off a goat

Then I'll milk every three days, and finally I'll stop altogether, still keeping an eye on her udder to be sure she isn't engorged and uncomfortable. I don't want her to develop mastitis.

The steps to take to stop milking a dairy goat and prevent mastitis.

And then we'll be milk-less until March. By then I'll really be missing milking. I enjoy it. It's a peaceful, contemplative time of day for me - unless the goat is acting up, but I'll have forgotten all about that by March.

How to dry off (stop milking) your goat.

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