The Milk Pail
When we decided to raise Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats, we looked at their milking ability as a whole. Nigerian Dwarf's milk has the highest butterfat levels which makes their milk so creamy people often prefer the taste of their milk over cow’s milk.
Nigerian Dwarf milk has approximately 5% – 10% butterfat, as opposed to approximately 2% – 6% for other breeds. It is the butterfat that gives milk its sweet flavor. Nigerian Dwarf's produce the sweetest, richest milk of all the dairy goat breeds. Their milk makes fabulous cheeses, caramel sauce, fudge, candies, custards, ice creams, butter and is delicious to drink.
In 2019, according to ADGA, the Nigerian Breed averages for a Nigerian Dwarf Doe at 3 years 6 months old produced 795 pounds of milk. The Butter Fat % by pound was 6.4% per 51 lbs. and protein was 4.4% per 35lbs.
We began milk testing in 2020 to monitor our goats milk quality. Our Nigerian Dwarf's that are producing milk have their milk sampled monthly and is sent to the lab to be tested for butterfat, protein and somatic cells.
With Nigerian Dwarfs being so small, about 20" in height and around 70 pounds, they produce a lot of milk for their size. Nigerian Dwarfs are more cost effective to feed and house compared to larger breeds of dairy goats or a cow.
With the data we obtain from milk testing and participating in ADGA's DHIR program, we can objectively look at our herd to objectively evaluate does based on:
Values for each milking doe & our total herd
Completed & projected records of each doe and the herd
Customized features including reproduction, health records, & young stock programs
Somatic cell counts
Interface with type scores
Sire/dam/doe genetic values
Being on milk test adds value to our breeding program and our herd. Based upon our first year milk test, we milked for a very short period of time - 180 days through 136 days in milk. Our does were required to be officially measured and all were under the height requirement for the breed standard.
From our milk records, we were able to see that out of our 5 does on milk test, we had one doe receive her 4*M (Quianna Quinn) 2 were rated Top Does (A) and had we milked for 275 - 305 days, would have received better records. We will be on milk test again in 2021 and hope to complete the milk lactation period for our herd. It's a learning curve to say the least!
Milk Room before remodeling
Remodeling in Progress
Our Goat Milking Parlor
We have been working to improve our milk room to better accommodate milking and to provide a more comfortable, sanitary milk room. A better organized area for milking the does, sampling, weighing and recording the milk test information.
We put up fiberglass wall board for ease of cleaning, added more LED lighting, 2 additional milk stands, stainless steel shelving, cabinetry and an 8' countertop for easy sanitizing, with plenty of room for record keeping and sampling.
We are looking forward to the 2021 DHI testing season for our herd.
We've been busy moving all of the feed and supplements into a 5 1/2' by 6' stall since work began on the milk room. It seems a little crowded but once we mix the new batch of feed and get it into the bins, the area will not be so crowded. We had more storage for buying extra feed bags in the milk room so we probably will simply buy the 600 pounds we mix to fill the cans from now on.