Cant get my doe to let down milk!!!

Discussion in 'Dairy Diaries' started by milk and honey, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. milk and honey

    milk and honey Senior Member

    Oct 30, 2010
    Everett, WA
    it's getting better in the mornings...after 10 or so hours with little buck separated... but I've tried to milk 2 more times today... and mom JUST WILL NOT LET DOWN MILK!!! I massage, try milking, massage, try to milk.... etc.. Even put the little buck on and then try again imediately after.
    NO MILK. Any more advice??? Tricks??
    Thanks so much
  2. Bellafire Farm

    Bellafire Farm New Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    NW Oregon
    OMG, I finally have a FF doe that is doing the same thing... :GAAH:
    Have actually never experienced a milk-down-refusal so didn't know what was wrong. Thought my wonderful little non-electric milker was broken, have completely torn it apart MULTIPLE times,

    My little FF is getting better, kinda catching on... but still goes thru phases of refusal to let down, even w/hand milking... very odd... have tried all things mentioned above in your post too....hasn't helped too much.

    Had a note in my "book" of goat studies stuff about Parsley (I believe it was Parsley)... dont remember if it was for clearing out fleshy udders or for let-down though... will have to check on it again...

    I'll be interested to see what others say....

  3. FunnyRiverFarm

    FunnyRiverFarm New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Hudson, MI
    I always use dr. bronners peppermint soap and very warm water to wash their udders prior to milking and have never had an issue with a doe not letting down. I think the combination really increases blood flow to the udder and seems to make let down almost involuntary. This method also helps get rid of udder conjestion.
  4. Coyote Night Acres

    Coyote Night Acres New Member

    Dec 26, 2010
    ??Would tea tree oil work the same as the peppermint?? I use tea tree oil for lots of things acne,mold killer,disinfectant, etc..... I had a fellow breeder say she used to massage it on the udder of a doe that was trying to come down with mastitis. I never asked what the purpose was, but I'm wondering if it wasn't to rid the udder conjestion also.
  5. ohiogoatgirl

    ohiogoatgirl New Member

    Jan 31, 2010
    i've heard alot of stories of grumpy does refusing to let down milk. what i would do is seperate the kids from the doe. what it sounds like to me is that she has realized you want milk, and if you take milk she doesnt have it all for her baby. so she is withholding milk from you, which works fine for her if you are putting her back in with her babies because then they get milk and you still dont.
    so if it was me, i would seperate mom from kids full time. then she will have to let you milk her after a few days because she cant withhold forever. good luck!
  6. milk and honey

    milk and honey Senior Member

    Oct 30, 2010
    Everett, WA
    Thanks for the advice girls... I'm going to get some peppermint oil and put a little in the warm soapy water... and keep trying... if it doesn't get better, maybe I'll have to switch to a bottle for the little guy.
    (Although that sure sounds like a lot more work!)
  7. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    I put my girls on the stand as soon as they are strong enough after delivery to hop up for feed...I usually wait a few days. I rub and massage their udders while they eat and will milk a little from each side daily, I don't empty them because theyir babies are still new. With Bailey, she's my "with holder", she won't let down at all til she's almost finished with her grain and I can literally feel the let down as I milk, her boy is now 2 weeks old and she readily lets me milk her as long as she can see him. Binkey is no problem...she lets it fly as long as she has food in front of her and Penny is still learning manners on the stand...she's my ADHD goat, she'll feed her 4 week old kids only if they're right in front of her or stalled with her otherwise if they're out of sight she could care less.
    Massage, bumping and mimicking the kids movement while nursing helps, as does persistance...are you milking by hand?
  8. smlovig

    smlovig Member

    Apr 19, 2017
    Upper Michigan
    My Alpine was the most productive milker last year. This year she is being a stinker. She rejected one of her twins on day two! In order to get him fed, I put her on the milk stand with a bit of grain every 3-4 hours and let him nurse- but she’s decided she really doesn’t like it. She kicks endlessly if I don’t strap her hind legs down, and she won’t let down her milk - for him or for me. Her teats empty out quickly, and no matter how long he butts/nurses or I massage/milk, her udder stays full. Yet as soon as she’s back in the pen, she calls her girl over to nurse - and the girl is thriving.

    The twins will be 5 days old tomorrow. She is snuggling and nursing the girl through the night, but won’t let touch the boy. Is it better to separate the kids overnight at this age than to let her continue withholding milk from him and me?

    If I let this go on until the two-week mark, when I usually begin separating the kids at night, will she loose production capacity?


    The above entries encouraged me. Stubbornness I know can deal with.

  9. Trollmor

    Trollmor Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Goatless in Sweden
    Let us all remember who actually owns the milk! That is the mother, who produces it for her own offspring. To make sure the right individual is getting the Juice of Life, she makes an ID check, sniffing on the kid's butt, which is usually willingly presented. If another kid tries to steal her milk, a doe normally will try not to give down the milk. Then she will butt, bite, and kick also. A kid who steals, usually does so from behind, to avoid ID check and butting.

    The goat is, as we know, a very social species, and it is easy to become a member of her flock, even replace her kids - to milk. Generally, she gives us this big gift willingly, because she is a friendly being. To enable ID checking, we can milk her from the side. Those of us who do so very often feel a friendly nose on our back - we are being ID checked!

    Sometimes a mother does not "recognize" her offspring, as is described by smlovig. (Welcome; I do not think I have seen you before!)

    My favourite trick to be able to "steal" some milk ;) is to put the accepted kid, in Susan's case the doeling, under the mother's nose, between her front legs. If she is fooled to believe her darling is suckling, she might give down the milk.

    Since the doeling is allowed to suckle, I believe there is no soreness in the udder, which I of course otherwise instantly suspect. She suckles both teats?

    And of course a nice "crossword for goats" at the milk stand! ;)
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
    Damfino, wifeof1, Dwarf Dad and 2 others like this.
  10. smlovig

    smlovig Member

    Apr 19, 2017
    Upper Michigan
    Yes - the doeling (Honeysuckle) nurses freely from both sides with no discomfort for the mama. I will have a helper snuggle her with her backside to Mama in the morning while I let her son nurse. I sensed the mama goat relaxing a bit today, so with this extra nudge, I see hope!

    Thank you for your time and words. I have been listening and watching to this site, but I am a silent student (it is hard to learn when you are talking). I did post an urgent question last year, when my doe had been laboring for two days and there was no third baby to be found. The advice given helped me save her life (how to go deep and find the dead kid inside - we were iced in and no vet could get to us). That experience helped me again this year when two of her triplets could not have been born without intervention (this time, a massive snowstorm had us locked in, but I was a bit more prepared). Those two babes need extra loving care for the first 24 hours, but we were able to reunite the family on Day 2. Now, on Day 5, she and all three babies are doing wonderfully in the barn together (although I still check on them every 4 hours and help the weakest one nurse).
    GoofyGoat, Damfino and Dwarf Dad like this.
  11. Trollmor

    Trollmor Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Goatless in Sweden
    Honeysuckle ... I just learnt that this plant is what in my language is called 'kaprifol', which inspired one Swedish goat lover to use the nick caprifool. :)

    Wonderful that you could get help here to get the courage to help your doe!

    Soon you will be able to help us learn something new as well! This is really a mutual forum!
    GoofyGoat and Dwarf Dad like this.