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How To Dry Off A Goat After Lactation

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!

When it's time to dry off a goat there are a couple methods to choose. Drying off is a good idea to give your goat time to rest before her next lactation.

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.

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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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Drey Khasky

Sunday 4th of October 2020

Should grain be stopped completely during a dog's pregnancy? If so, does this get tapered off, stop "cold turkey" after a few weeks, or do you keep doing it, but less frequent/less grain? Thanks in advance.


Monday 5th of October 2020

I like to taper off as I wean them off of milking.

James Thornton

Friday 5th of July 2019

Where do you get The Tomorrow?


Thursday 11th of July 2019

You can order on Amazon. Here's a link: https://amzn.to/2XEAySA

There's also a product called "Today", so you may want to compare the two and make sure you get the one most applicable to your goat.

Here's a link for "Today" https://amzn.to/2XHJWor


Friday 24th of May 2019

Hi Kathryn- your comments are so helpful! I have a Nigerian Dwarf goat who is 3 years old and never kidded. She is not pregnant as our male goat is castrated. She suddently grew a very large udder which turned hot and red and she was limping. We spoke to a friend who is a vet and he told us to milk her out completely and treat her with ToMorrow. She is much better in behavior and her udder is no longer red. However, she keeps filling up with milk and I want to dry her out. One side of her udder seems to have stopped producing because it doesnt really grow. The other side though gets very large so I have been milking her to relieve pressure, but I dont want to continue if not necessary. I am going to try sage, but is there anything i should watch out for. I am just worried because she had mastitis already and I know it can be chronic. Thank you for your Help


Wednesday 29th of May 2019

When you milk her out it's stimulating more milk production. The ToMorrow should help treat the mastitis and once that's cleared up try milking less often and checking to make sure the mastitis doesn't return.

Abdul Rafay

Friday 17th of May 2019

And yes her udder is also bagging up!


Saturday 14th of July 2018

I am on the Mountain rose website . . . is it white sage (leaves) that you mean?


Monday 16th of July 2018

Yes, white sage will work. As will anything that says common sage or Salvia officinalis.

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