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Goats/7 year old Pygmy goat

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QUESTION: I have a 7 year old female, non pregnant Pygmy goat who I just found out is full of milk. I have 2 other Pygmy goats, one is a fixed male. Her diet consists of hay and 2 cups of a 12% sweet feed a day. What could be the reason for the milk?

ANSWER: A change/increase in hormones or too high of protein in their diet can be causes of a "precocious" udder - and this is sometimes not full milk but only a liquid that looks a bit like milk.  The change in hormones can come from becoming more mature in age.  The 2 cups of sweet feed with 12% protein may be too much for her system to handle and have caused her mammary system to think it needs to produce milk.  I generally advise not giving grain for a maintenance diet for most goats.  Does she seem overweight?  Have you checked her lumbar score? Is the other Pygmy goat a female, and if so what age? There is also the possibility that if that doe is coming into heat the hormones may have excited the 7-year old doe's reproductive system.  Do hope this helps - let me know - Donna

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QUESTION: The other Pygmy goat is female and same age. The goat in question is heavier since I got her from my sister in law end of last summer. The goat is getting about same amount of grain but more hay here.... My next question is do I need to do anything for her?

ANSWER: Thanks for the update.  Being heavier can cause hormone balance to be off.  Is the hay just a grass hay?  If it is alfalfa, then definitely the protein amount is too high for her and it has caused the udder to develop.  Once an udder has started producing milk or milk like liquid the only way to stop it from producing is to dry her up and to dry her up she must be on a very low protein diet, which generally means grass hay and no grain.  Hope this helps - let me know - Donna

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QUESTION: I was wondering if you had any idea how long it would take for her milk to dry up? I took all my goats off the grain right after our last message. I think the goat with the udder full of milk, Teeni, actually looks a little bigger. If you have any other advice, I would love to hear it. Thanks for your time.

Answer
How are you drying her off?  I usually stop all protein so that means no grain and no alfalfa hay while drying off the doe.  I then milk the doe out, let her go two days without milking, then milk out again, and by 5 days out the mammary system usually will shut off.  Hope that helps - Donna

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Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres

Expertise

All goat health care, nutrition, judging questions about all goats - packgoats, dairy goats, pygmy goats, meat goats, fleece goats.

Experience

27 years health care/nutrition of all types of goats, 17 years experience in packgoats, 20 years experience in 4H goat projects as leader, superintendent and judge. 20 years experience in putting on goat care/nutrition seminars.

Organizations
NAPgA, The Evergreen Packgoat Club, 4H, ADGA.

Publications
Hobby Farm, many newspapers, 4H newsletters, Packgoat Manuals (youth and general), judging information pamphlets, seminar handouts about health care and nutrition.

Education/Credentials
4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

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