Now that the goat kids are being weaned and we’re getting milk, it’s important to keep milk production records for each of the does. These records give valuable information on how much we can expect each girl to produce (it should increase each year as they get older – to a point), what the lactation curve looks like for each doe (the amount they give varies throughout the lactation – usually peaking a couple of months in and tapering off after that), whether they’re good candidates for milk production testing, what the effects of changes in feed are, give an indication if they’re having any health issues, and provide a good indicator of how much milk their offspring would produce (this is the kind of information to ask for if you’re buying does or kids – you want to know what kind of production to expect).
I’m sure there are spreadsheets already out there for tracking milk production, but I quickly designed an Excel spreadsheet to track production for us (it will probably change as we use it, but it’s a start). Since we’re weighing the milk, there are columns for the AM and PM weights for each doe, but the spreadsheet also calculates the total amount in pounds and cups – since most folks are used to talking about cups rather than pounds. As time goes on, I can generate graphs from the information to show each does lactation curve and production capacity – I’m so excited to finally have milk producing does!
So far, Tinker Bell is the heaviest producer, her kids are now completely weaned and she’s giving us between 5 and 6 cups per day. Jewel Box’s kids are half weaned (we milk her at night, put the kids in with her, take them out for the day, and then milk again at night) and she giving between 2 and 3 cups per day. Honey’s kids are still with her continually, so we don’t have an idea yet for her. One thing’s for sure, these Nigerians are young and little – but they’re mighty milkers for their size!