Feeding for maximum quality/quantity of milk

Discussion in 'Dairy Diaries' started by milkmaid, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. milkmaid

    milkmaid I'm not addicted - I'm in love!

    There may already be a topic on this, but I couldn't find any, so...
    What should dairy goats be fed for highest production and best tasting milk?
     
  2. JessaLynn

    JessaLynn New Member

    Aug 29, 2009
    NW Ohio
    I do good quality 3rd cutting alfalfa free choice and sweet grain I think it's 16-18% Kalmbach goat feed.I feed mine about 3-4lbs of grain a day milking twice a day.
     

  3. Coyote Night Acres

    Coyote Night Acres New Member

    498
    Dec 26, 2010
    Missouri
    I've heard that mollasses doesn't make good tasting milk, so we feed a pelleted milking feed 18% protein if you need a bit more to the grain you can add calf manna and what really gets the milk coming on is good alfalfa hay a few flakes of that in the evening and the girls are just bursting in the morning. Our milk is so nice and sweet with the dairy pellets we feed (it's made by kent) Sometimes we add some alfalfa pellets with the milker pellets, but we are very happy with it.
     
  4. JessaLynn

    JessaLynn New Member

    Aug 29, 2009
    NW Ohio
    I've never had a problem with the taste of our milk so not sure if that's entirely true or not.We did the reg pelleted before and there was no difference in taste.
     
  5. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    I use a sweet feed for mine and always have had great tasting milk.
    I use Blue Seal Caprine Challenger 18% with pellets as well as a small amount of crimped corn and oats, Calf Manna and BOSS, they get Alfalfa hay in the am and a grass/clover mix in the pm. I will be adding alfalfa pellets here soon though as my A hay is dwindling.
     
  6. FunnyRiverFarm

    FunnyRiverFarm New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Hudson, MI
    Dairy quality alfalfa hay or 17% protein alfalfa pellets and whole grains. I, personally, am able to taste a difference in the milk when my girls eat feed with molasses and the flavor that comes through is awful to me. I feed a mixture of plain oats, barley, and BOSS instead of sweet feed and am much happier with the milk.
     
  7. Amos

    Amos New Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Minnesota
    I'm jealous Angela.. YOU HAVE BARLEY. I can't tell you how long I've been looking for some. Can't find any growers up here!
     
  8. milk and honey

    milk and honey Senior Member

    Oct 30, 2010
    Everett, WA
    I feed third cut alfalfa free choice.. and some Nutrena Goat feed which is a sweet feed.. as well as BOSS... FunnyRiver.. do you just use equal parts of oats, barley and BOSS?
    My goats (and chickens) REALLY go after the BOSS... it's like being Mobbed out in the animal yard when the bucket of seeds comes out!! I also use ACV and a dash of Molasses in their water.. I just thought it would taste better - like sweet and sour.. ha ha Maybe i'll try cutting that out?
     
  9. FunnyRiverFarm

    FunnyRiverFarm New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Hudson, MI
    That seems really odd because barley is a northern crop--I can find most of what I need from local farmers but a lot of of the barley for sale here is grown in Canada! It's a great mystery.
     
  10. FunnyRiverFarm

    FunnyRiverFarm New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Hudson, MI
    I use equal parts of oats and barley--sometimes heavier on the oats because they are less expensive--and about 20-25% of the total mixture is BOSS. So, for example, about 75% oats/barely and 25% BOSS. Nothing fancy :)
     
  11. Coyote Night Acres

    Coyote Night Acres New Member

    498
    Dec 26, 2010
    Missouri
    I've never done the taste test by switching to a sweet feed for a while, because we have no reason to really. We love our milker pellets and we get amazing tasting milk from them (From the goats He he he). So yeah I don't personally know how true it is, but when I was researching this very thing thats what I kept reading. I will say however that last year we were using some sweet feed at one point our own mix at another point and even adding alfalfa chops (molasses) and I compared our milk to the taste of 2% cows milk. This year I would never dream of comparing it to cows milk at all, it's way sweeter than the crap milk you can buy at the store and it's richer this year too, I'm down to 5 bales of alfalfa so I haven't been feeding it saving for the second swing of kidding to start in april. I really like these pellets and the best part to me is not having to mix in any extras, It was always so hard to get the 18% protein level when mixing my own grain and at one time I added soy bean mill (Not good for milk taste) the goats didn't even really like it either.
     
  12. milkmaid

    milkmaid I'm not addicted - I'm in love!

    Thanks everyone! I'm doing grass hay and sweet all-stock feed. I think I'll switch over to a dairy pellet (maybe alfalfa too) and see how it goes.
     
  13. milkmaid

    milkmaid I'm not addicted - I'm in love!

    I thought I'd bump this topic since I'll be milking again soon.
    Pat Coleby says to not let protein get over 14%, that high carbohydrates is what you want for high milk - and she said her friends couldn't believe the high yield from her milkers with that diet.
    Yet everywhere else I read that grain should be 16-18% protein. :? :shrug:
     
  14. JessaLynn

    JessaLynn New Member

    Aug 29, 2009
    NW Ohio
    Not sure on that..interesting.I think protein levels are more to do with keeping good body condition since it takes alot out of them when in milk.Just like humans. All in all I feel that feeding alfalfa is the most important thing and also fresh water all the time.
     
  15. JessaLynn

    JessaLynn New Member

    Aug 29, 2009
    NW Ohio
    Also wanted to add...no matter what you do or feed them...genetics and how many kids born plays a big role in milk production.So you could be feeding all the right things and they still will produce what their meant to :)
     
  16. GotmygoatMTJ

    GotmygoatMTJ New Member

    Goats need ATLEAST 14% DIGESTABLE protein. With a 14% grain they may only digest 11% of the protein, which is not enough. That's why I feed an 18% grain, they are atleast getting 15% digestable protein from it.
     
  17. milkmaid

    milkmaid I'm not addicted - I'm in love!

    Ah! That's interesting.
    I've been thinking about mixing my own feed from whole grains. Would improved health and milk yield cover the increase in cost?
     
  18. keren

    keren owned by goats

    Oct 26, 2008
    Australia
    I'm coming into this conversation late but the general rule with feeding for milk production is

    grain = quantity
    roughage (hay or fodder) = quality
     
  19. LoneStarChic

    LoneStarChic New Member

    172
    Jan 19, 2012
    Protein is one of the priciest parts of a feed ration. Feed too much protein & the excess is just excreted it urine.

    I feed free choice 17% Alfalfa pellets, good quality coastal/sudan hay, Right Now Onyx minerals & a milk stand grain that is 12%-13% protein. It's a mix of Purina Strategy Healthy Edge (high fat, high forage, low protein pelleted horse feed), whole oats, beet pulp shreds & I top dress with rice bran pellets (used to use BOSS until the price skyrocketed).

    My Alpine milked 11 months, 14-15lbs of milk per day on this feeding and only consumed 2 1/2 lbs of grain per day (often not even finishing her grain) & maintained condition beautifully. This was after bringing her home pregnant, and in very poor condition.

    My FF, 3rd generation miniature Alpine averaged 6lbs per day, eating no more than 1 1/2lbs of grain per day (also one who rarely ate everything).

    For my herd, a diet that revolves around alfalfa, good minerals, and the best hay I can afford works great for us. Alfalfa/forage fuels milk production. Grain is used for the carbs/calories to keep the doe in good weight, and I never use heavy sweet feeds (copper deficentcy is an issue & the high iron in mollasses inhibits copper absorption).

    Lots of folks think I'm nuts feeding this way, until they see how nice my goats look & produce ;)