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The Goat Cattle is a growing activity in the fields of different countries of the world, the goats are very advantageous animals in terms of the different types of grasses and vegetation that they consume, their size (they occupy less physical space than other herds) and the time of duration of pregnancy.


The milk of these animals is not far behind when it comes to offering its producer certain significant advantages, such as its higher content of fatty solids (compared to cow's milk), which allows a greater yield of the product at the time to make cheeses.


Likewise, goat's milk contains less lactose than cow's milk, so some people with Lactose Intolerance can consume it without problems; clarifying that this does not happen in all cases of people with Lactose Intolerance.


The correct accomplishment of the milking will allow us a good performance in the dairy production, as well as in generating young goats of good genetics (that will be the females that will expand our daily capacity of milk production). Applying the correct milking management during pregnancy and after delivery will also allow the goat to produce very efficient milk.


Certainly mechanized milking has enormous advantages in terms of time and people who need to dedicate to this work, but most likely when we start in this activity is that we do not have these advanced and expensive systems; For this reason, we will resort to Artisan Milking, which we will carry out with our own hands.

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Agronomic Recommendations: Dairy Goat Production

Ganado Caprino

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The recommendations that will be shared here apply both to those who apply artisanal milking methods and to those who have mechanized milking systems, since they are recommendations of general hygiene before milking and recommendations for milking during the gestation of the goat.


1. Milking During Pregnancy: 

To begin this point remember that the gestation of the goats lasts on average about 150 days (5 months), however this could vary according to the breed and climatic conditions. The goat will produce milk during pregnancy and will need to be milked, however it is recommended to "dry" the goat at 90 days (3 months) of the gestation period, that is, 60 days (2 months) before delivery.


It is important to say that when we use the term "dry" we mean to stop milking the goat, as it usually makes the udder hard and the amount of milk in it will decrease.

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This management, which consists of stopping milking the goat 2 months before the birth, is practiced to allow the fetus inside the goat to form correctly and avoid the abortion of the goat. Not drying the goat 60 days (approximately) before the birth could cause malformations in the future offspring; that could lead to low resistance to diseases, premature death and genetic weaknesses that could be transmitted (in the genes) from one generation to another.


Remember that to maintain a Goat Production Unit in a sustainable way, it is necessary that the goats that we will use for dairy production also obtain the replacement mothers, that is, the goats that will replace the goats we currently have in the future. production. Likewise, these female goats that we will obtain from the births will serve, as we mentioned previously, to increase the herd and therefore our productive capacity of milk.


A goat with genetic deficiencies will present multiple health problems that will surely affect its reproduction and milk production, so it will not be useful in our production unit.

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If during these 2 months the udder of the goat is loaded with a lot of milk, we can milk the goat and extract all the milk content in one go; This is done so that the animal is more comfortable, because when the udder is very loaded it can have difficulties to move and lie down.


After birth it is important that the newborn goat ingest the colostrum (food highly rich in protein and mineral salts, which is secreted by the mammary glands of the mammals a few months before the birth and a few days after it). If the young wants to suckle about 15 minutes after delivery is very beneficial for the same, although this usually does not always happen.


2. Milking after the birth and weaning of the young: 

After having given birth you should wait between 3 and 5 days to be able to milk the goats, because during these first days after childbirth the goat will continue to produce colostrum, food that will also give the young protection against diseases.


At this point it is also important to emphasize that the goat, like any other living being, needs to comply with its nature; which is why it is good to allow her to fulfill her role as mother. Well remember that these animals also have the ability to feel emotions, and these influence the production of certain hormones that can affect the production of milk.

After 5 days after the birth we can start the milking, taking into account that we must leave a portion of milk to the young for their feeding. This calculation can be complicated and the clearest recommendation in this regard we have found is to milk one udder and leave the other for the young.


Certainly the young will limit our milk production, so any capriculturist or capriculturist wants to hasten the day of the weaning, for which the following should be taken into account:


It is not the same to wean a goat that will be used as a stallion or a goat that will be used to produce milk, that wean a goat or a goat that will not be used for these purposes.


In the case of the goats that will be used as replacement mothers, they are weaned between 3 and 4 months of age, to allow them a good Breastfeeding and ensure a good development of them.


On the other hand, male goats that will not be destined to become stallions and female goats that will not be used for milk production, are usually weaned at 1 month of age. 

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It is said that the youngs that are weaned before their first month of life do not usually survive, however in "Sembrando un País" we had the opportunity to meet a Goat Producer who weans the youngs with only 1 week of age (we mentioned as a curious fact), however in this publication we adhere to the standard recommendations and therefore recommend that weaning of these youngs be done after 1 month.


Generally these youngs are sold to Production Units that will raise those who have better characteristics as stallions, the rest is usually destined to the production of meat for which they are applied as castration, and they are supplied with food to guarantee a good fattening

After weaning, both udders of the goat are milked at a recommended frequency of 2 times a day, preferably at regular intervals of 12 hours. In other words, if you milk your goats at 6:00 in the morning, it is recommended to do the second milking of the day at 6:00 in the afternoon.


Goats will become accustomed to the milking time and place assigned to them, which is why it is highly recommended that they be kept at the chosen times to carry out this activity. In each of the milkings of the day all the milk containing the udder or the milked udders will be extracted, remembering that during the lactation period of the young goat we will only milk one udder in the 2 daily milkings.

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3. Hygienic Recommendations for Before, During and After Milking:

The first thing that those who are going to carry out the milking should do is to wash the udders of the goats to be milked, which can be done with water. Then with a clean cloth dry the udders, which should not be wet, as they would hinder milking.


Also the hands of those who will perform the milking should be washed (with soap and water), and of course the utensils (such as containers, buckets or cans) that will be used to contain the milk obtained.


If the milk of a goat presents any problem (such as: blood content, color or strange smell, among others), it is best not to use the milk either for consumption or for animal consumption. In these cases the goat must also be milked, since the milk should not remain for more than 24 hours in the udder of the goat, due to the fact that inflammations or mastitis may occur.


After milking it is advisable to wash the goat's nipples with water (and preferably with soap).

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If you do not have a milking parlor, or with a suitable place to carry out this activity, you can milk in the same corrals where the goats are or move them to a specific pen where this activity is carried out. The important thing is that it is a clean place free of infectious insects, such as flies, that can contaminate the milk or the utensils where we will contain it.

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4. Hygienic Recommendations in the Beds of the Corral:

The lack of hygiene in the beds where our goats lie down can also affect in a very considerable way their daily dairy production, since in beds or pens where humidity, urine and faeces are accumulated that are properly removed, as well as in pens that do not clean themselves constantly, female goats have a high chance of suffering from mastitis.


When a goat has an infection that produces an inflammation in the mammary tissues, it is not recommended under any circumstances to consume its milk.

For this reason corrals and clean beds diminish the losses in the goat production units, to form these beds it is common for the Capriculturist to use chips of some type of wood that is obtained in their locality, it should be noted that in this aspect the Raised Floor Pens can offer a very considerable advantage, since they are easier to clean and allow less contact between the goats and their organic waste.

5. Duration of the Milk Production and New Gestations:

A goat can last between 210 days (7 months) and 300 days (10 months) in milk production, this is another aspect that can vary according to the breed. Daily production can range between 3 and 4 liters of milk per goat per day, and there may be breeds with higher daily production capacities.


The feeding during this period is also of great importance, for which the Caprine Producers usually accompany the feeding that is obtained through the grazing with concentrated foods or pastures that are offered to the goats in the corrals.


It should be noted that after the Milk Production period, it is advisable to let the goats rest for at least 60 days (2 months) before carrying out the montage for a new gestation. In view of this it is possible to average that a goat can have a childbirth a year, it is also good to know that the peaks of milk production will be reached between the 3rd and 4th parturition, while from the 5th birth the milk production of the goat will begin to decrease.

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