Goat milk is a byproduct of raising goats many enjoy from their herd.
However, don’t just milk an animal to get delicious goat milk whenever you crave the creamy taste.
You need to consider how much milk they make daily and how often you need to milk them.
The average goat produces six to eight pounds of milk every day. In liquid measurements, this is a yield of about three to five quarts. However, the exact amount of milk a specific goat produces can depend on the health status, age, and breed of the goat.
If you want to know what to expect from goat dairies or even a small backyard farm, keep reading!
We’ll cover all your questions about milk production in goats.
Can You Milk a Goat Once a Day?
Considering that a domestic goat can produce six to eight pounds of milk daily, goat raisers may wonder if it’s safe or responsible to milk goats this frequently.
It’s recommended to milk these animals twice daily on a 12-hour cycle.
However, some goat raisers do work on a once-a-day routine for milking.
It’s important to wait until it’s appropriate to milk a goat who has just given birth.
During the first part of their life, their kid goats need this nourishment more than the farm.
Most farm owners don’t wait until the kid goats have weaned but rather until about four to six weeks to resume milking.
With this method, farms milk the doe during the day and give her the space at night to feed her kids.
On the average farm, the kids are typically weaned off their mother’s milk at around six to eight weeks of age.
Related Reading: Goats with milk and NOT pregnant
Factors Affecting Goat Milk Yield and Production
While the average milking goat will offer about three to five quarts of milk per day, a few factors may slow or halt milk production in an animal or affect milk quality.
There are a few reasons your goat may produce more or less milk.
One thing potentially affecting yield more than production is the technique you use to milk the animal.
In particular, if you tug rather than pinch the goat’s teat, you’ll see a small yield even if you’re goat has plenty of milk to offer.
This can potentially lead to concern with dairy goats and their production levels when, in reality, the milk is there; it just isn’t being accessed correctly.
Related Reading: Goat milk prices and cost
Body Condition and Age
Of course, a healthy goat will offer more milk than sick animals.
For the best results, it’s a good idea to commit to regular animal care.
If you start noticing any signs of illness or injury, treating the problem as quickly as possible is best.
Sometimes, you’ll find working with a veterinarian familiar with goats is helpful here.
It also helps to ensure your goats have all their dietary requirements and other wellness needs met regularly.
Age is an important factor as well.
Remember, pregnancy is harder on the body of an older goat, so dairy goats need to be retired at some point to avoid causing harm with further pregnancies.
Most goat dairies retire their does after a maximum of 10 years as, past this point, there’s a greater concern for goat health as pregnancy poses a greater health risk as goats move into seniority.
Further Reading: How long do goats keep making milk?
Size and Breed of Goat
It’s important to highlight that some goats produce more milk than others because of their breed and size.
For example, larger goats with higher average body weight, like Nubian goats, tend to produce more milk than smaller goats simply due to their size and how much their body reserves can hold.
You’ll almost always see higher milk yields from breeds like Nubian goats than animals with smaller bodies like Nigerian dwarf goats.
Timing Around Pregnancy
Different breeds of dairy goats can differ, but a common quality means there’s a window of time your dairy goat is milked when her body produces more milk than other times.
A doe’s body may produce milk for up to two years after she gives birth, but the peak production period falls about eight weeks after giving birth.
This is around the same time the kids are weaning.
However, production doesn’t stay strong the entire time.
Pregnant goats will start to produce the most milk during this peak production period.
On the other hand, the further away you get from the gestation period, the fewer gallons of milk you’ll see from your doe.
Can You Drink Milk Straight From the Goat?
Many people turn to goat milk for its creamy taste and many uses, from cheeses to ice cream.
Who could say no to an aged cheese made with goat’s milk?
On the contrary, can you skip these steps and drink goat milk right after you milk your doe?
Will it have the same qualities?
Technically, it’s possible to use milk straight from the goat, just like some people opt for fresh cow milk.
This is commonly referred to as “raw” milk.
However, it’s crucial to understand some drawbacks of goat milk (or milk from any other animal) when consumed raw.
Pasteurization offers a variety of crucial qualities to your goat milk.
When you buy milk at the store, it’s gone through a process known as pasteurization.
Namely, the FDA has highlighted a greater risk for foodborne illness thanks to the higher presence of bacteria, including bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, and Campylobacter, just to name a few.
The good news is pasteurization boils down to properly heating your milk before consumption.
The proper heat will work to kill this harmful bacteria, and you’re ready to go.
For backyard goat keepers, it’s possible to complete this pasteurization process at home, although it’ll need to get a little hotter than your standard glass of warm milk.
Another concept to consider when milking a backyard goat is environmental factors.
Even if you’ve done everything possible to stay sanitary, you’ll want to strain fresh goat milk to remove any insects, hair, or other debris affecting milk quality.
How Long Does Fresh Goat Milk Last?
For the best flavor and to take advantage of all of the nutrients goat’s milk is a source of, you need to make sure you drink it before it turns.
Otherwise, this distinctive flavor can quickly turn into a bad flavor you wish you hadn’t taken a swig of.
So, how long does goat milk last once you’ve obtained it?
If you refrigerate your goat milk, expect it to last between three and 10 days.
If the milk is pasteurized, it’s likely to have a longer shelf life.
To save your milk even longer, freeze it!
Yet, this is only an option if your milk is pasteurized.
Freezing pasteurized goat milk can help it last up to six months.