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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone ever heard of using hormones to trigger a goat to start milking? I read about someone who did it on a heifer using AI protocol. I'm sure there's a reason it's not common practice, but is it plausible? My heart baby can't be bred safely due to an accident but having the extra production would be really useful (and help her earn her keep!) I mainly raise for meat these days and my does don't usually have any to spare, and I have to buy it from the store if I have bottle babies.

I will be consulting my vet but haven't heard back yet.
 

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I have never heard of a AI protocol causing a animal to start making milk. I don’t think there is a hormone that makes them make milk. Other then having kids the only time they make milk is during a false pregnancy (although not always milk) or if they are from heavy milking lines they will make a small udder with milk. But you can’t force those things to happen.
BUT if I am mistaken please let me know!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I suspect it is possible. Lactation in brought about by hormones produced at the end of pregnancy. I speculate that lactation could be produced artificially. Whether much research has been done on goats is another matter.

The cost of any treatment is probably prohibitive.
Hormones aren't though. I have lute and oxytocin - CIDRs probably cost a bit more if that's required, but not too much since people use them regularly. But like I said there's gotta be some reason it's not done often or dairy people would be all over it 🤔🤷‍♀️ I was hoping someone might know something - it may be out of my vet's wheelhouse too. I'm still waiting to hear back from a university specialist regarding tubal ligation for her.
 

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Hormonal Control of Mammary Growth and Lactation in the Goat

Summary
Mammary growth and lactation were induced in kids and mature goats by weekly injections of macrocrystalline stilbestrol alone, or of macrocrystalline progesterone and stilbestrol in combination at ratios of 40:1, 80.1, and 1.000:1. Sexually mature goats were distinctly more responsive to the treatments than 8-mo.-old goats. Although all groups reached approximately the same peak production 7 mo. from the start of the experiment, a more rapid onset of lactation was noted in those groups where progesterone and stilbestrol were combined in the treatment. Two goats approached closely the level of production recorded in the subsequent normal lactation. However, most of them were considerably below this level. No clear-cut indications were found for an optimum ratio between progesterone and estrogen for the induction of mammary growth and lactation in the goat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hormonal Control of Mammary Growth and Lactation in the Goat

Summary
Mammary growth and lactation were induced in kids and mature goats by weekly injections of macrocrystalline stilbestrol alone, or of macrocrystalline progesterone and stilbestrol in combination at ratios of 40:1, 80.1, and 1.000:1. Sexually mature goats were distinctly more responsive to the treatments than 8-mo.-old goats. Although all groups reached approximately the same peak production 7 mo. from the start of the experiment, a more rapid onset of lactation was noted in those groups where progesterone and stilbestrol were combined in the treatment. Two goats approached closely the level of production recorded in the subsequent normal lactation. However, most of them were considerably below this level. No clear-cut indications were found for an optimum ratio between progesterone and estrogen for the induction of mammary growth and lactation in the goat.
Thank you! If they can't achieve the same volume that would explain why it's not practical for dairies, but in her case anything would be better than nothing. She's a year and a half old (the others her age just got bred) and I wouldn't do it until spring. Her dam was high production dairy but dad is BoKi so it's a toss up on what she'd give in any case 🤷‍♀️

Does that study mention anything about safety or side effects?
 

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Like you, I just read the summary, so I don't know any more. I do get the impression that it takes months of treatment, so that would start to get costly especially when adding labour costs.
I don't know, but artificial lactation may not be permitted in commercial production or may require a vet.
 

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I can't see lute or cidr working when you think about why you use them. I've never seen oxytocin work beyond the first 12 hours after a birth with a doe who didn't fill. Long term use would just mess up the doe hormonally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I can't see lute or cidr working when you think about why you use them. I've never seen oxytocin work beyond the first 12 hours after a birth with a doe who didn't fill. Long term use would just mess up the doe hormonally.
Well, that's not really a concern since she won't be bred, provided it doesn't cause other health complications. But yeah, using normal hormonal treatment did sound a bit too easy. That study protocol makes more sense.

Like you, I just read the summary, so I don't know any more. I do get the impression that it takes months of treatment, so that would start to get costly especially when adding labour costs.
I don't know, but artificial lactation may not be permitted in commercial production or may require a vet.
Oops, I missed the part about "weekly". I can give them myself so that part isn't an issue, but I have no idea how expensive things like that might be. I suppose I could see if Valley Vet has them.
Do you have a link for that study? I can send it over to my vet for some light reading, lol. There might be more research available about cattle too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ah - CIDRs are progesterone, so maybe the lady I talked to used that for part of the protocol to reduce injections and only added the stilbestrol on top of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quick Google shows it's definitely been done successfully in cows, using estradiol rather than stilbestrol. Reasonably successful but per the studies I browsed briefly it is less reliable than actually calving. It was recommended that a more standardized treatment should be developed and submitted to FDA for the sake of inducing high value cows with low fertility rather than replacing them.

Long story short I think it's going to come down to how willing my vet is to experiment. I'll run it by the university vets too since they may have more knowledge and be able to advise her.
 

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Oops, I missed the part about "weekly". I can give them myself so that part isn't an issue, but I have no idea how expensive things like that might be. I suppose I could see if Valley Vet has them.
Do you have a link for that study? I can send it over to my vet for some light reading, lol. There might be more research available about cattle too.
No link. Just google the title.
I think I just googled "inducing lactation in goats" or something like that and found it. Yes, I would think most research would have been done on cows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well good luck. Do keep us up to date on what you learn. Interesting topic.
I'm really hoping! She's got a home for life regardless but any production would be a definite help. Her dam had such a lovely udder; even with the meat cross hers should be pretty nice. I like the higher fat crossing brings too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Vertebrate Working animal Temple Mammal Goat


Said girly on a recent field trip to TSC. I've started taking to her feed and pet stores instead of my dog and she's a big hit! (Gotta find her some diapers though, she kept pottying everywhere last time 🤦‍♀️)
 

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I know that using stimulation and hormones they can make a human male lactate, so maybe there is a way to get a female goat to do so?
 
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