After you breed your goat, you will need to dry her off 6-8 weeks before she has her babies. This gives her a chance to rest and regain nutritional stores. Plus, this gives you a break from milking, and can be an excellent time to plan a vacation. (Just saying. Finding relief milkers can be difficult in the city.) The first time I had to dry off a goat I wasn’t sure how to do it. With a bit of research I soon realized that drying off a lactating goat is one of the less complicated things about goat keeping. Thank goodness!
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Why Dry Off?
It takes a lot of energy to produce milk and giving your does a chance to rest during the end of the pregnancy will help her have a better lactation period the next time. It’s good to plan to dry off the goat 6-8 weeks before her due date to give her enough time to focus on building the babies without putting too much stress on her body. You want to keep your goats healthy, thriving, and in good condition.
How To Dry Off A Goat
There are several ways to dry off a goat. One way is cold turkey. This method is recommended by Oregon State University. Just stop milking them and their milk production will quickly decline. Before an abrupt dry off you should decrease their grain about two weeks before the chosen day. If you choose this method, watch for signs of mastitis such as heat, pain, redness, or swelling of the udder, or fever, depression or poor appetite in your goat. If you suspect your goat might have mastitis, you can easily test for it using a mastitis test.
I personally chose to dry off the way described by Fiasco Farms. This takes longer, but it seemed to be less uncomfortable. First cut back on grain and go from milking twice a day to once a day. After two weeks decrease from once a day milking to every other day milking also for about two weeks. The first time I did this, my goat wasn’t producing much milk. This was all I did before abruptly stopping, but you can go from every other day to every three days for about one more week if needed.
So many things about keeping goats can be complicated, but thankfully this is NOT one of them!
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