Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville
John T. Woeste, Dean for Extension
Bane Hars Jr. RoadL ihePadSrhVrl
Dar Scec Deatmn
Goats were among the earliest animals to be
domesticated. Most countries of the world have
used goats as a source of meat and milk since
the earliest days of recorded history. In America,
milk goats are found in every state, with Cali-
fornia, Texas and several Eastern States leading
in goat population. Florida is rapidly becoming
a popular state for dairy goat breeders and has
recently formed the, "Florida Dairy Goat Federa-
li. 1I, W
r rl ~
The Saanens are white or light cream in color
with white preferred. Black spots are allowed on
their skin, but not in the hair coat. They are
medium to large in size with rugged bone, plenty
of vigor yet feminine throughout.
Three entries being shown in a large Nubian kid class
at the Annual Sunshine State Dairy Goat Show.
Common Breeds of Dairy Goats
There are five principal breeds of dairy goats
in the United States. They are Alpine, American
La Mancha, Nubian, Saanen and Toggenburg.
Anyone interested in any particular breed is en-
couraged to contact the breed organizations or to
subscribe to the Dairy Goat Journal, P.O. Box
1908, Scottsdale, Arizona 85252.
The Alpine, Saanen and Toggenburg breeds
originated in the French and Swiss Alps and are
often referred to as the "Swiss" type breeds. They
are very similar in conformation, all having up-
right ears, straight or slightly dished faces and
an alert, graceful, deer-like appearance.
The Alpines are composed of several varieties
including the most popular French Alpine and
the less numerous British, Rock and Swiss Al-
pines. They are medium to large in size, with
color variations from pure white through shades
of fawn, gray, brown, black, red, buff and com-
binations of these colors in the same animal. The
French Alpines have several color patterns, three
of which are: cou blanc (white neck with black
hind quarters), cou noir (black neck with white
hind quarters), and sundgau (black with white
underbody, facial stripes and legs).
The Toggenburgs are medium in size, sturdy
and vigorous. They vary in color from light fawn
to dark chocolate with no preference for any
shade. Markings include white ears with dark
spots in the middle, two white stripes down the
face from above the eye to the muzzle, and white
on the legs and rump.
I. DAIRY GOAT PRODUCTION
The Nubians were developed in England by
crossing the native British dairy goats with im-
ported goats of the Indian Jumna Pari and Egyp-
tian Zariby type. They are characterized by long
drooping ears, a Roman nose and a short, glossy
hair coat. They are medium to large in size and
may be of any color or combination of colors
varying from red to tan or black, with or without
The American La Mancha was recently devel-
oped in this country from crossing a short-eared
goat of Spanish origin with purebreds of the
Swiss breeds. They are distinguished by very
short, or the total lack of, external ears. There
are two types of La Mancha ears; the "gopher"
ear and the "elf" ear. There is no preference for,
type in does, but bucks must have a "gopher ear"
to be eligible for registration. The American La
Mancha is medium in size with any color or com-
bination of colors and a short, glossy hair coat.
SIZE AND MILK PRODUCTION OF DAIRY GOAT BREEDS
Minimum Standards Average of Official Lactationa
of Does Records 1966-1976 All-Timeo
Milk Yield in 305 days Butterfat Records by Breed
Breed Height Weight (pounds) (gallons) b percent (as of 1977)
Alpine 30 in. 135 Ibs. 2019 24 3.5% 4880 Ibs.
Am. La Mancha 28 in. 130 Ibs. 1764 205 4.0% 4510 Ibs.
Nubian 30 in. 135 Ibs. 1658 192 4.5% 4420 lbs.
Saanen 30 in. 135 lbs. 2030 236 3.6% 5496 Ibs.
Toggenburg 26 in. 120 Ibs. 1936 225 3.3% 5750 Ibs.
aData from: Dickinsons, Frank and Gerald J. King. "Phenotypic parameters of dairy goat lactation records." J. Dairy Sci. 60 (Suppl. 1):
b8.6 Ibs. per gallon of milk.
Selecting Family Milkers
The greatest number of goat owners in this
country keep goats for family milkers. A survey
conducted in 1971 showed that most owners had
less than five milkers. Most of the goats are un-
registered and seldom seen off the homestead. To
many, they fulfill a need that cannot be supplied
The selection of milk goats for commercial
dairy herds or breeding herds must be accom-
plished in terms of records, conformation, stami-
na, and longevity. They may or may not be regis-
tered, but must be able to produce milk over a
long period of time with a minimum of care.
Good herds frequently consist of goats having
herd averages of 2500 pounds of milk or more.
For beginners, start with two kids (three to
five weeks old) so they can get to know you and
you can have the enjoyment of watching them
grow. It is best that they be of the same sex,
preferably does if you plan to expand. If a buck
is preferred, have the breeder castrate and de-
horn the animal prior to taking it home.
The choice of breed is purely a personal one.
We recommend that one study a few pictures
and visit a goat dairy prior to making the final
decision on breed. Generally, the breed you start
with will end up being your preference.
The gestation period of a doe is 148-154 days,
but the expected kidding date may be simply cal-
culated by counting forward five months from the
date of service.
The breeding season for milk goats is usually
from late August through March. The young doe
may be bred at twelve months of age or earlier
if good growth has been obtained. During the
breeding season bucks have a strong odor and
should be kept in separate pens at all times. Also,
this will aid you in being able to get the does
bred over an extended period of time in order
that milk will be available over a 12-month period.
Does usually remain in heat (estrus) from one
to two days. The period between estrus is from
17 to 21 days. Milk goats are good breeders.
The signs of heat are usually easily detected:
Frequent and insistent "talking," tail wagging, and
pink color and swelling in the external genital
region-sometimes with a discharge. A milker will
usually drop in her milk production. The highest
conception rate occurs during the middle of the
Maintain good records and record all heat
periods. Breed to the best buck available if you
plan to retain the kids. Any notes of her behavior
may help in out-of-season breeding or in detect-
ing estrus early in the next heat period.
The Dry Period
The doe should be bred to freshen once each
year with a dry period of two months. The dry
period allows the mammary system time to repair
and regenerate and to gain new stimulation for
lactation as a result of parturition (giving birth).
The greater her production the more likely that
her body has been depleted of the nutrients used
in milk secretion and the longer the dry period
required to replenish the losses and store adequate
reserves for the next lactation.
Grain consumption should be reduced or re-
moved near the time that the dairy goat is turned
dry. Also, substitute fair quality hay for good
quality hay. The dairy goat should be down to
about three pounds of milk per day or less. Her
milk flow will be reduced quicker if you change
her routine at the same time you discontinue
milking. After about a week, check her udder
and milk her out, if needed. A certain amount of
pressure is needed in the udder in order to stop
milk secretion and flow. If the doe has had mas-
titis during her lactation, this is the ideal time to
treat her with a dry cow mastitis treatment.
Treating for internal parasites at the time of
drying-off is a recommended practice. Thiben-
zole or another suitable preparation may be used
to rid the doe of worms. Spray for lice with rec-
ommended pesticide, if needed.
The dairy goat should be maintained in good
condition during the dry period so she will
freshen in a healthy state and have every oppor-
tunity to produce more milk in the next lactation.
A good mineral mixture should be available. A
commercial mineral mixture or a combination of
defluorinated phosphate and trace mineral salt
may be used. A purchased mineral should contain
from 12 'to 18% calcium, 8 to 10% phosphorus
and 25 to 40% salt, with trace minerals.
During the last 3 to 4 weeks of gestation, nu-
trition becomes more important to the doe. She
should receive a good quality hay and about the
same type of ration she will receive after kidding.
If the doe's udder fills too tightly with milk before
kidding, milk her out and save the colostrum.
Failure to milk her out may result in udder dam-
age to the supporting tissues.
Raising the Kids
It is important that the kid receive colostrum
as soon as possible after birth and for the first 2
days. Colostrum is important because it provides
antibodies which gives the kid resistance to dis-
eases. In addition to providing antibodies, colostrum
acts as a mild laxative which aids in cleaning
the digestive residue from the newborn kid. Colo-
strum is also high in nutrient value, especially
vitamin A, B-vitamins, proteins, and minerals.
The protein content of colostrum is about 20%
as compared to 3.5% for normal milk.
Overfeeding colostrum or other milk to kids
can cause loose bowels and possibly scours. The
extra colostrum should be placed in the refrigera-
tor and fed later at about body temperature. The
kid must be handled gently and not forced to
drink. After a few hours, the hungry kid will
drink readily. The kid may be changed to goat's
milk, cow's milk or powdered milk after a few
days on colostrum. The kid should receive 2 to 3
pints of milk each day in 3 to 4 feedings the first
3 to 5 days and twice per day thereafter.
At birth, the kid weighs approximately 7 to 9
pounds, heart girth 14 to 15 inches, and height
at withers 14 to 15 inches. The kid must be
treated as a simple stomach animal such as the
dog or cat. That is, a milk diet is needed for the
first few weeks of life. A small amount of grain
such as a calf starter or goat chow may be intro-
duced to the kid at 2 to 3 weeks of age. In gen-
eral, the grain should contain about 14 to 15 %
crude protein with added minerals and vitamins.
As soon as the kid starts eating, the rumen
starts developing and eventually the kid will start
chewing its cud. This is an indication that all
four compartments (rumen, reticulum, omasum
and abomasum) are fully developed. Animals hav-
ing four-compartment stomachs are referred to
Clean, fresh water and salt blocks should be
available at all times and especially as the kid is
weaned from receiving milk at 8 to 12 weeks of
age. Start the kids drinking from a bucket as you
discontinue milk feeding. Also, be sure the kid
has started eating some grain and hay.
All kids should be dehorned at 2 days to 1 week
of age, except those that are naturally hornless.
Electric dehorners are frequently used with ex-
cellent success. Instructions may be received from
your County Extension Agent or a local dairy-
man. The process appears painful but is rather
short and causes no harm. An ointment may be
applied to the burned area. Dehorning may also
be done by a veterinarian under anesthesia. This
allows for a more accurate operation with no
pain to the kid.
Goats are energetic, inquisitive and versatile in
their feeding habits. An area near the barn that
provides some browse materials (trees, leaves,
bushes, twigs, etc.) appears to be advantageous and
enjoyed by dairy goats. The importance of such
materials toward the nutritional requirements of
lactating dairy goats is probably quite small, espec-
cially where a fairly large number of dairy goats are
Good quality hay and a balanced grain appears
to be the best approach in maintaining high levels
of milk production. Fiber in the total ration is
needed to maintain a normal milk-fat test. Too
much poor quality fiber, however, will lead to low-
ered levels of milk production. Rations contain-
ing some cottonseed hulls or other fibers may be
included in the grain where hay or other rough-
ages are not readily available.
Feeding Dairy Goats
Dairy goats do well on good pasture. Perma-
nent pastures may consist of several varieties of
grasses including Bermuda, Bahia, and Pangola-
grass. Pangolagrass is palatable, high quality and
responds well to nitrogen fertilization. Pangola
will not tolerate close grazing and is susceptible
to sugarcane aphid and spittle bug injury.
Summer annual grasses include several vari-
eties of Pearlmillet and sorghum-sudangrass.
Both are erect, tall-growing, high-producing an-
nuals. Sorghum-sudangrass is adapted to drier
soils than millet.
Winter annual grasses include rye, oats, wheat,
barley, and ryegrass. Excellent grazing may be
obtained from winter grasses under conditions
suitable for growing them.
Legumes are frequently used for grazing with
varying degrees of success. Winter legumes can
be seeded with permanent grass pastures for use
during late winter and spring months. Legumes
are especially adapted to naturally moist soils that
are not flooded for extended periods. Clovers that
work well for this type of grazing include white,
sweet, red, crimson and others that may be suit-
able in your area.
Legumes make excellent hay and are superior to
most other hay crops. They are the richest of all
common forages in protein, minerals and vitamins.
Alfalfa hay that has a good green color, is cured
without rain, has little shattering of leaves and is
reasonably early cut (one-half in bloom) usually is
higher in quality. Hay cut too early may cause it
to be too laxative and hay cut too late is low in
protein and high in fiber. Other legume hays are
alyce clover and aeschynomene.
Most grass hay available in Florida is only
average quality and unless a balanced grain is fed
in addition to the roughage, dairy goats will be-
come poor producers. Also, lactating dairy goats
should receive some grain in addition to pasture.
The exact amount needed will vary with pasture
quality and variety.
Dairy goats are good eaters and can consume
from 4 to 7% dry matter (DM) per 100 lbs body
weight as compared to 3-4 % DM consumption for
dairy cows. This high level of intake allows the
dairy goat to have an abundance of nutrients
readily available for the synthesis of milk. Over-
all though, the efficiency of milk production by
the dairy goat is quite similar to that of the dairy
Important factors to consider when selecting
grain rations for dairy goats is quality of forage
or roughage being fed as well as the kind of for-
age. With most grasses and silages in Florida, an
18-20% protein grain mixture is needed to sup-
plement the forage since corn and/or sorghum
silage and average quality grass hays are low in
digestible protein. With good quality hay (15-20 %
protein) or the use of small grain pastures such
as oat, rye, and ryegrass, a 14-16% protein grain
mix is generally adequate.
It is important that the lactating dairy goat
receive a good balanced ration, otherwise a high
level of milk production cannot be maintained.
Dairy goats in early lactation should produce
from 1-2 gallons of milk per day.
A complete feed contains both roughage and
grain. The composition of a complete feed for
dairy goats should be about 14% crude protein,
11% digestible protein, 63-64% TDN, 16-18%
fiber, 0.6-1.0% calcium, 0.4-0.5% phosphorus, 6
to 10 million units of vitamin A per ton, and 0.5-
1.0% salt with added trace materials. A dairy
goat producing 1 gal. of milk per day would need
about 7 lbs. of complete feed per day.
In general, good producing dairy goats on ex-
cellent pasture will need from 1 to 2 pounds of
concentrate or grain per day. The concentrate
mixture should contain about 16-18% protein.
The total nutrient requirements for dairy goats
are shown in Table 1.
TABLE 1. COMBINED REQUIREMENTS FOR MAINTENANCE AND
MILK PRODUCTION AT VARIOUS LEVELS FOR DAIRY GOATS OF
THREE DIFFERENT SIZES PRODUCING 3.5% MILK FAT.
Lbs. Body Wt. CP TDN Ca. Phos.
Milk (Ibs) (Ibs) (Ibs) (gms) (gms)
2.5 130 .54 2.45 8 6
160 .60 2.72 9 7
190 .66 2.99 9 7
5 130 .73 3.18 10 8
160 .79 3.45 11 9
190 .85 3.72 12 10
10 130 1.08 4.71 16 12
160 1.14 4.98 17 13
190 1.20 5.25 18 14
15 130 1.47 6.23 22 17
160 1.53 6.50 23 18
190 1.59 6.77 24 19
20 130 1.84 7.76 28 21
160 1.90 8.03 29 22
190 1.96 8.30 30 23
1 pound=454 grams
Since goats require such a small amount of
grain, added minerals should be supplied in the
pasture. Trace mineral salt and defluorinated
phosphate mixed in equal quantities make a suit-
able mineral mixture or a commercial mineral
mixture may be purchased.
Both dairy goats and dairy cows are ruminant
animals and can therefore eat the same kind of
ration. Common ingredients used in Florida are
citrus pulp, corn meal, oats, hominy feed, mo-
lasses, cottonseed hulls, brewers' grain, cotton-
seed meal, soybean meal, wheat bran, soybran
flakes and peanut meal. A list of ingredients and
their composition is given in Table 6.
Calculating Grain or Feed Needs
The dairy goat may consume 20-30 lbs of lush
pasture daily and perhaps more where little to
no grain is being fed. Less pasture will be con-
sumed when adequate grain is made available to
the lactating dairy goat.
As an example in determining the feed needed
by a dairy goat, consider the information in Table
1 on a 130 lb. dairy goat producing 10 lbs. of
3.5% milk per day.
1. Requirements (Table 1) 1.08 4.71
2. Roughage supplied (Table 2)
2.5 Ibs. of Bermuda hay .20 1.00
3. Nutrients needed from concentrates 0.88 3.71
CALCULATION OF AMOUNT OF GRAIN
NEEDED TO SUPPLY 3.71 POUNDS TDN:
To estimate the pounds of grain needed to ob-
tain the amount of TDN required from the above
grain mixture, use the following procedures: as-
sume the dairy concentrate to contain 70 percent
TDN (since most mixtures composed of grain
will contain approximately this amount). Divide
the pounds of TDN (3.71) needed to be supplied
with concentrate by 70% TDN or 0.70.
EXAMPLE: The 3.71 divided by 0.70=5.3
pounds of grain required to sup-
ply the needed TDN.
CALCULATIONS OF PERCENT OF PROTEIN
NEEDED IN THE GRAIN MIXTURE:
TABLE 2: HIGH FIBER INGREDIENTS (ROUGHAGE)
CP TDN Ca Phos Fiber
(%) (%) (%) (%) (%)
Bermuda hay 8.0 40 .30 .15 28
Bahia, Pangola, etc. (hay) 7.0 40 .30 .15 29
Cottonseed hulls 3.5 43 .14 .10 43
Legume hay, Alfalfa, etc. 15.0 45 1.00 .20 27
Silage, Corn (30% DM) 2.5 20 .08 .06 8
Silage, Sorghu.n (30% DM) 3.0 15 .07 .05 7
To calculate the crude protein that the concen-
trate mixture should have, divide the amount of
protein required (0.88) by the number of pounds
of concentrates needed to supply 0.88 pounds of
protein. Therefore, 0.88 divided by 5.3 x 100=
16.6 percent crude protein needed in the grain
mixture. (These figures may now be filled in to
complete the foregoing daily ration per goat.)
If more than one kind of roughage is fed-
such as pasture and hay-subtract from require-
ments and continue as in above example.
Table 2 contains a list of some common dry
roughages that are available in Florida.
Pasture consumption is usually difficult to esti-
mate. Even so, dairy goats should consume 25 or
more pounds of good pasture per day. The com-
position values in Table 3 will help you in select-
ing a dairy feed.
TABLE 3. AVERAGE COMPOSITION OF VARIOUS PASTURES (as fed)
CP TDN Ca Phos
(%) (%) (%) (%)
Bahia, Bermuda, Pangola, etc. 2.0 14 .10 .15
Millet, Sudax, etc. 1.5 9 .10 .05
Rye, Oats, Ryegrass 3.0 12 .10 .10
Grass-Legume combination 3.5 14 .15 .07
Dairy goats should be provided good and ade- eral content of the total ration frequently leads
quate amounts of fresh water at all times. This is to lowered levels of milk production and increased
especially true for lactating dairy goats producing disease and reproductive problems. Likewise, too
1 to 2 gallons of milk per day. great an emphasis on mineral supplements fre-
quently finds one using a variety of costly supple-
Minerals and Vitamins ments for no apparent justifications. Table 4
Proper mineral nutrition and supplementation shows the levels of minerals recommended for
is essential to animal health and high levels of dairy goat rations.
milk production. A lack of attention to the min-
TABLE 4. MINERAL CONTENT RECOMMENDED IN RATIONS FOR HIGH PRODUCING DAIRY GOATS (Air-Dry Basis)
MAJOR CONTENT DESIRABLE IN MINOR CONCENTRATION
MINERAL RATIONS I%) MINERAL (Air-Dry Basis)
Calcium 0.60-0.85 Iron 50 ppm
Phosphorus 0.38-0.45 Manganese 20-25 ppm
Magnesium 0.10-0.20 Copper 7-10 ppm
Potassium 0.70-0.90 Zinc 40-50 ppm
Sulfur 0.18-0.25 Cobalt .1-.15 ppm
Sodium Chloride (Salt) 0.50-1.00 Iodine .4 ppm
Selenium .1 ppm
All animals require a dietary source of vitamin
A. The vitamin does not occur as vitamin A in
grasses or legumes but rather as its precursor,
carotene. The grain mix should be formulated to
provide the adult doe with 3-5000 units of vita-
min A per day.
One of the more important roles of vitamin A
in the body is maintaining healthy tissues-the
integrity of epithelial tissues. In the young, de-
ficiency symptoms usually start with watery eyes,
mild symptoms of respiratory problems such as
nasal discharges, often accompanied by a cough,
and scours or diarrhea. If this condition is al-
lowed to persist, pneumonia usually follows.
Night blindness is a common symptom of vitamin
A deficiency and may be observed when animals
are moved about in a dim light. A lack of vitamin
A reduces the animal's protection against invad-
ing organisms, making animals more susceptible
to infections. Increased infections in the repro-
ductive tract would quickly lead to reduced breed-
The minerals that cause concern in formulating
rations are calcium, phosphorus, and salt. De-
ficiency symptoms may be encountered if any are
deleted or imbalanced in the ration. Information
in Table 5 shows the typical nutritional symptoms
encountered from certain deficiencies.
TABLE 5: CLINICAL SIGNS OF DIETARY DEFICIENCIES
Slow Reduced Impaired Weak Lowered Other
Growth Appetite Reproduction Offspring Milk Effects
Energy + -+ + Reduced Condition
Protein + + + + + Poor Feed Efficiency
Calcium + + + + + Milk Fever
Phosphorus + + + + + Milk Fever, Poor Feed Efficiency
Magnesium + + Tetany, Milk Fever
Selenium +- White Muscle Disease
Potassium ++- + Poor Consumption
Sulfur + +- Weakness, Dullness
Salt + + + + Rough Haircoot
Iron + + + Anemia
Copper + Anemia
Cobalt + Anemia
Zinc + + -- + Dermotosis
Manganese + + + Irregular Estrus
Iodine -- + Goiter
TABLE 6: COMMON INGREDIENTS USED IN DAIRY RATIONS
CP DP FAT NE TDN Ca PHOS FIBER
% % % Mcal % % % %
Brewers' Grain 25.0 21.0 6.7 60 65 0.28 0.48 14.0
Corn Gluten Feed 25.3 22.0 2.0 75 73 0.46 0.77 7.5
Corn Meal 9.0 6.8 3.9 80 80 0.02 0.30 2.0
Cottonseed, meal 41.0 33.0 4.5 70 72 0.20 1.00 12.0
Distillers Dried Grains 27.0 21.0 7.5 82 80 0.05 0.35 12.0
Hominy Feed 10.6 7.2 5.0 82 82 0.05 0.55 4.5
Milo, ground 11.0 8.6 2.8 75 75 0.03 0.28 2.3
Peanut Meal 50.0 44.0 2.0 72 74 0.20 0.60 6.0
Soybean Meal 44.0 41.0 1.4 76 76 0.30 0.65 6.0
Soybeans, whole 36.8 33.1 18.0 85 85 0.25 0.60 5.0
Wheat (average) 14.0 11.0 2.0 82 78 0.05 0.40 3.0
Wheat Middlings 16.5 13.0 5.3 80 76 0.15 0.90 7.0
Barley (average) 11.0 8.5 1.5 75 73 0.08 0.42 6.0
Beet Pulp, dried 8.9 4.1 0.6 63 65 0.65 0.10 20.0
Citrus Pulp 6.2 2.7 3.7 70 72 1.50 0.12 12.0
Corn & Cob Meal 7.4 4.5 3.0 70 71 0.04 0.22 8.0
Molasses, cane (muck) 8.0 5.0 0.1 70 68 1.00 0.08 0.0
Oats, crimped or ground 11.5 9.0 5.0 72 70 0.10 0.35 12.0
Rice Bran (old process) 12.4 8.4 14.0 65 60 0.08 1.30 11.0
Soybean Hulls 11.0 7.0 2.5 60 65 0.50 0.15 33.0 (15)'
Wheat Bran 15.0 12.5 3.9 62 64 0.10 1.10 10.0
A small barn or shed is needed to reduce the ex-
posure of goats to wind, rain or the hot sun. The
type of housing needed will vary with the number
of goats owned and the convenience preferred.
A stanchion or box stall with built-in feeder may
be advantageous for milking.
Does are usually milked on a stand 12 to 18
inches high or higher, if preferred. The stand
should be long enough for the doe to stand com-
fortably and about 18 to 20 inches in width. The
stanchion should be placed at the front of the
stand in order to fasten the doe's head. A small
runway may be constructed to the stand to reduce
possible udder injury. It is best to construct in an
area that can be cleaned easily.
Internal and External Parasites
Internal Parasites-It is important that your
dairy goats live in a clean environment. Even so,
after a few weeks parasites will begin to build-
up on closely eaten grassy areas near the barn.
Pastures and lots remain contaminated for long
periods and goats may pick up the parasites.
Inside the animal, they can interfere with nu-
trients, cause diarrhea, or result in an unthrifty
condition. A good worming program is a necessity
for successful dairy goat farming in Florida.
External Parasites--External parasites includ-
ing lice, ticks, horn flies, houseflies, stable flies,
horse flies, deer flies and mosquitoes, present seri-
ous problems during the year. These pests are
most prevalent during the spring and summer
months. Many are a problem throughout the en-
tire year in Florida.
Lice, both biting and sucking, may present a
real problem if not controlled. Since insecticides
are frequently changed and taken off the market,
contact your local County Extension Agent about
Common Diseases Occurring in Dairy Animals
A number of common diseases occur frequently
in dairy animals. Most of these diseases are well
documented and information is readily available
at the University of Florida. While the following
information will be brief, it may help you detect
possible problems and obtain more detailed in-
Mastitis-Mastitis is simply an inflammation
of the udder. It may be rather acute or chronic.
Most cases are caused by streptococcus or staphy-
The udder may appear hot, painful, hard and
tense. A wide spectrum antibiotic may be needed
or simply penicillin may be effective. The disease
can be cured if treated early.
Sanitation during milking is important in the
control of mastitis and the making of a clean
wholesome dairy product. Many mastitis-causing
organisms are present in the environment and can
find their way into the udder and milk pail if
good sanitation is not maintained. Manure should
be removed from the milking areas as frequently
If milking machines are used, the teat cups
should be kept clean and dipped into clean water
and then a sanitizing solution between goats. Teat
cup liners should be free of cracks, milkstone, and
ballooning. Machines should be properly cleaned,
sanitized, and stored after each milking. Clean
equipment will reduce chances of mastitis and
lower bacteria counts in milk.
Caseous Lymphadenitis (Abscesses)-This is a
common chronic disease of adult goats where ab-
scesses arise from the lymph nodes, particularly
about the head, neck and shoulder. This disease
may eventually cause emaciation and death of the
affected animal due to internal abscesses inter-
fering with the vital organs.
The abscesses should be lanced after becoming
sufficiently organized near the surface of the skin
and the pus carefully collected and disposed of.
Four daily shots of penicillin and flushing of the
wound with an antiseptic solution until healed
should follow. During treatment, the animal
should be isolated and the area around the wound
washed and dried before returning her to the
Eradication of caseous lymphadenitis from a
herd can only be done through a planned program
of raising offspring in separate facilities and then
disposing of the infected animals. The use of an
autogenous bacterin prepared by a laboratory
is thought to be helpful in reducing the incidence
of disease. No commercial vaccine is presently
Contageous Ecthyma (sore-mouth) Sore-
mouth is caused by a resistant virus which pro-
duces scabs about the lips and gums. Transmis-
sion is through the virus which is contained in
the scabby material, which may remain viable in
the soil for a long period of time. This disease in
kids is more serious as it prevents normal eating
due to the sensitive areas and if nursing, the in-
fection may spread to the teats of the does. Im-
munity is developed after the initial infection. A
vaccination program is valuable in preventing the
Treatment is aimed at preventing a secondary
bacterial infection. Gently remove the scabby ma-
terial with hydrogen peroxide and gauze, then
cover the area with zinc oxide or similar oint-
ment. Plastic gloves should be worn as it is trans-
missible to humans.
Enterotoxemia (over-eating disease) Entero-
toxemia is caused by a sudden change in feed or
over eating by very hungry animals, where the
causative bacteria undergoes rapid growth and
releases a toxin in the intestines. Regular feeding
and vaccinating with Clostridium perfringens,
type C and type D toxoid will prevent this dis-
ease. Adult animals may show depression, intoxi-
cation and incoordination whereas in kids, it
often just shows up as sudden death.
Foot Rot-Foot rot can best be prevented by
housing your goats in a relatively dry area. The
germ which causes foot rot thrives in wet muddy
areas where air is poorly circulated.
Symptoms include a greyish cheesy discharge
and foul odor with lameness and intense pain.
Treat by carefully trimming away the rotten area
and treating the infected area with 10 to 30%
copper sulfate, a suitable ointment, or other treat-
ment as prescribed by your veterinarian. Proper
trimming of the feet will help to reduce infection
by the organism.
Ring Worm-Skin infections such as ring worm
require treatment. Treatment includes using a
solution of glycerine or tincture of iodine. Daily
treatment or applications of a mixture of equal
parts tincture of iodine and glycerin or a 20%
solution of sodium caprylate to the lesion until
it disappears often is effective. The antifungal
activity of thiabendazole may provide a useful
II. GOAT'S MILK
The composition of goat's milk varies both with-
in and between breeds. Various values have been
reported for each of the nutrients. This has un-
doubtedly resulted from analyzing milk from a
single breed, a single herd, or the analytical
Table 7 contains the average composition of
the milk from several species. Although these
values do not necessarily reflect the composition
of an individual milk sample they closely repre-
sent the average milk composition for a species.
Goat's milk closely approximates the composition
of cow's milk. The percent water, protein, and
total solids are nearly identical. Goat's milk con-
tains more fat and ash than cow's milk, but has
Generally, the composition of goat's milk can
be expected to fall within a specified range for
each milk component. Fat, the most variable com-
ponent, will usually fall between 3.0 to 6.0% in
herd samples. However, values outside this range
are not uncommon for individual samples. The
ranges that can be expected for total solids, pro-
tein, lactose, and ash are 12416, 3-4, 3.8-4.8, and
TABLE 7: AVERAGE COMPOSITION OF MILKS OF VARIOUS MAMMALS"
Species Water Fat Protein Lactose Ash Solids Solids
% .... ...... ......... ... ................. .. .......... ..... ...
Goat 87.00 4.25 3.52 4.27 0.86 8.75 13.00
Cow 87.20 3.70 3.50 4.90 0.70 9.10 12.80
Ewe 80.71 7.90 5.23 4.81 0.90 11.39 19.29
Human 87.43 3.75 1.63 6.98 0.21 8.82 12.57
aData from: Fundamentals of Dairy Chemistry, page 6. Ed.: Webb, B.H., and A.H. Johnson, 1965. The AUI Publishing Co., Inc., Westport,
Goat's milk contains approximately 3.5% protein
(Table 7). The protein can be divided into casein
and whey protein. Casein accounts for about 83%
of the total protein and is the primary protein
fraction in cheese products. Casein will coagulate
under certain conditions and can be removed
from the milk. Rennet, acid, and a combination
of pepsin and acid will all coagulate casein in
milk. Each method closely resembles a natural
process of casein coagulation. Rennet coagulation
is the process that is used in cheesemaking. The
addition of acid increases the acidity of milk until
the casein coagulates in the same manner as sour
milk, and the human digestive process is stimu-
lated by the acid-pepsin coagulation of casein.
Whey is the clear liquid that remains after
casein is removed from milk. Proteins that remain
in the whey are the whey proteins.
Both casein and whey proteins are general cate-
gories of proteins. Each contain many individual
proteins. Many of these proteins are similar to
cow proteins and cause identical allergic reac-
tions. However, there are specific proteins in
goat's milk and these are immunologically distinct
from proteins in cow's milk.
Curd formed in goat's milk with acid-pepsin
treatment is apparently softer than the similarly
formed curd of cow's milk. However, curd formed
with rennet appears to be stronger in goat's milk
than cow's milk. Curd strength varies between
individual animals and lactation. Curd strength
decreases to a minimum in mid-lactation and then
increases to the end of lactation.
Although the average percentage of fat in
goat's milk is 4.25% (Table 2) it varies with indi-
vidual animals, breeds, state of lactation, and
type of feed. Table 8 contains the results of re-
search compiled on the percent of fat in the milk
of three breeds of dairy goats. Nubians produce
milk that contains more fat than either Toggen-
burgs or Saanens.
TABLE 8: FAT IN MILK OF GOATS OF DIFFERENT BREEDS
Number of Animals
Data from: Parkash, S. and R. Jenness. 1968. The Composition and
Goat's milkfat contains appreciable amounts of
caproic, caprylic, and capric fatty acids. Although
these fatty acids are not unique to the goat, they
are more abundant in goat's milk than milk from
other species. They are responsible for the char-
acteristic flavor and odor of cheeses made from
Goat's milk contains a higher proportion of
small fat globules than cow's milk but is similar
to sheep's milk in this respect. This has been inter-
preted as the reason for the slow creaming of
goat's milk. However, the primary reason for
slow creaming is the absence of fat globule clus-
tering. Cow's milk contains a protein, not found
in goat's milk, that causes fat globules to cluster,
thus creaming at a rapid rate.
Considerable information has been compiled
concerning the vitamins in the milk of various
species. Table 9 contains the average amount of
Characteristics of Goats' Milk: A Review. Dairy Science Abstracts, 30
several vitamins in the milks of cows, goats and
The primary difference between goat's milk
and cow's milk is the much lower concentration
of vitamins Be and B12 in goat's milk. However,
when considering the use of goat's milk for infant
food it bears consideration that goat's milk is near-
ly as high in vitamin B6 and twice as high in vita-
min B12 as human milk. Cow's milk is extremely
low in vitamin D and none is listed in the table.
However, most commercial milk is fortified with
It is very interesting to note that vitamin A in
goat's milk exists exclusively as vitamin A and
not carotenoid pigments. Carotenoid pigments are
precursors of vitamin A and are present at vary-
ing levels in cow's milk depending upon the breed.
Carotenoid pigments cause fat to have various
degrees of yellow coloring. Their absence in goat's
milk causes butter made from goat's cream to be
TABLE 9: AVERAGE VITAMIN CONTENT OF GOAT, COW, AND HUMAN MILK
Vitamin Cow Goat Human
Vitamin Al 1560.0 2074.0 1898.0
Vitamin D -23.7 22.0
Thiamin 0.44 0.40 0.16
Riboflavin 1.75 1.84 0.36
Nicotinic Acid 0.94 1.87 1.47
Vitamin Be 0.64 0.07 0.10
Pantothenic Acid 3.46 3.44 1.84
Biotin 0.0031 0.039 0.008
Folic Acid 0.0028 0.0024 0.0020
Vitamin 812 0.0043 0.0006 0.0003
Ascorbic Acid 21.1 15.0 43.0
Choline 121.0 150.0 90.0
Inositol 110.0 210.0 330.0
1 Vitamin A expressed as International Units/liter; all others as mg/liter.
Data from: Parkash, S. and R. Jenness. 1968. The Composition and Characteristics of Goats' Milk: A Review. Dairy Science Abstracts. 30
III. PRODUCTION OF HIGH QUALITY MILK
Care of the Goat
All goats should be clipped closely on the udder
and flank area for cleanliness and health reasons.
Goats that are not clipped will be hard to keep
clean and even harder to clean in preparation for
milking. Hair and dirt are not only primary
sources of bacteria, but are natural habitats for
lice and nits. If goats are not clipped it is difficult,
if not impossible, to prevent hair and dirt from
contaminating the milk and lowering its quality.
Herds should be checked for brucellosis and
tuberculosis to insure that these potential human
pathogens are not present. If these diseases are
discovered the animals should be removed from
The milking procedures should follow recom-
mended sanitation practices whether it is hand
or machine milking.
Dirt should be removed from the udder and
flank area by washing with warm water. The
udder and particularly the teats should be washed
with warm water (1100F) that contains an ap-
propriate sanitizer. This not only stimulates the
animal for milking, but also has the potential of
destroying organisms on the teat that might con-
taminate the milk. The first few strips of milk
from each teat should be examined for abnormali-
ties with a strip plate. Milking, whether by
machine or hand, should begin within 2-3 minutes
of washing the udder. If milking is done by hand,
special precautions should be taken to prevent
contamination of the milk. A hooded pail is an
asset for hand milking. After milking it is de-
sirable to dip each teat in a dairy teat dip. Teat
dips have proven quite successful in the preven-
tion and reduction of mastitis.
Milk should be filtered through commercial fil-
ters and cooled immediately. If commercially re-
frigerated milk cooling equipment is available,
the milk should be cooled to 350F as quickly as
possible. However, if this is not available, milk
will cool much more rapidly if it is placed in cir-
culating cold water than if it is immediately
placed in a refrigerator.
Care of Milking Equipment
The production of high quality milk requires
strict cleaning and sanitizing procedures for all
equipment that contacts milk. Cleaning and sani-
tization can be done manually or mechanically
depending on the type of equipment used on the
farm. However, different types of detergents are
used for mechanical and manual cleaning. Many
types of dairy detergents are available. Most are
formulated to work within a wide range of con-
ditions but each have minimum requirements that
must be met if they are to be effective. The most
critical factors that affect the efficiency of deter-
gents are the temperature and hardness of water.
These factors make it imperative that instructions
for each detergent are strictly followed.
Whether manual or mechanical cleaning is used,
the basic steps do not change. The basic steps in
cleaning and sanitization are as follows:
1. Immediately after milking or removal of
milk from equipment rinse the equipment
with lukewarm water before the milk dries
on the surface.
2. Prepare a detergent solution according to
manufacturers' specifications making sure
the water temperature meets or exceeds the
minimum recommended temperature. If
manual cleaning is employed brush all milk
contact surfaces thoroughly. All milk con-
tact surfaces that are not cleaned by me-
chanical cleaning or circulation cleaning
must be brushed.
3. Rinse detergent from tank with tap water.
Preferably, an acidified rinse should be used
to prevent the accumulation of milkstone.
4. Drain rinse water from all equipment.
5. Immediately before using the equipment
sanitize with an approved dairy sanitizer.
Either chlorine or iodine can be used at con-
centrations of 200 and 25 ppm, respectively.
American Dairy Goat Association, Box 865,
Spindale, North Carolina 28160.
American Goat Society, 1606 Colorado St.,
Manhattan, Kansas 66502.
Alpines International, Sec-Treas-Mrs. Sally
DeWitt, 1132 W. McLellan, Mesa, AZ 85201.
American La Mancha Club, Sec-Treas-Mrs.
Virginia Marhefka, 93 Flower Rd., Lowell, Mass.
National Nubian Club, Sec-Treas-Mrs. Jean
VanVoorhees, RD 1, Box 467, Mountain Top Rd.,
Glen Gardner, NY 08826.
National Saanen Club, Sec-Treas-Mrs. Mimi
Waterman, RFD 2, Kerr Road, Canterbury, CT
National Toggenburg Club, Sec-Treas-Mrs.
Ellan Shew, Christmas Cove, Box 131, South
Bristol, Maine, 04568.
PUBLICATIONS, CIRCULARS, FACT SHEETS
& SUPPLY SOURCES
American Dairy Goat Association, Box 865,
Spindale, NC 28160. Dairy Goats Breeding,
Feeding & Management, Leaflet No. 439 (1966).
American Supply House, Box 114, Columbia,
Campbell, J.R. and R.T. Marshall, The
Science of Providing Milk for Man. McGraw-Hill
Book Company,Book Distribution Center, Hights-
town, NJ 08520.
Dairy Goat Journal, Box 1908, Scottsdale, AZ
Guss, Samuel B., Management and Diseases
of Dairy Goats. Dairy Goat Journal Publishing
Corporation, Scottsdale, AZ 85252.
Hall, Alice, Dairy Goats-Selecting, Fitting
and Showing. Hall Press, P.O. Box 5375, San
Bernardino, CA 92412.
Hoegger Supply Company, Box 49-099, Col-
lege Park, GA 30349.
Leach, Carl A., Aid to Goat Keeping, 8th
Edition, 1975. Dairy Goat Journal, Box 1908,
Scottsdale, AZ 85252.
MacKenzie, Davis, Goat Husbandry, 5th Edi-
tion, 1975. Diamond Farm Book Publishers, Dept.
DG, Box 266, Alexandria Bay, NY 13607.
NASCO, 901 Janesville Ave., Fort Atkinson,
New York State College of Agriculture-
Agricultural Publications, Cornell University,
Ithaca, NY 14853. The Dairy Goat, Extension
Oregon State University-Agricultural Pub-
lications, Corvallis, OR 97331. Dairy Goats for
Farm Milk Supply, Extension Circular 866
(1976). Dairy Goat Housing and Care, Extension
Circular 867 (1975).
Owen, Nancy Lee. The Illustrated Standard
of the Goat. Dairy Goat Journal, Box 1908,
Scottsdale, AZ 85252.
Rutgers University Agricultural Publica-
tions, Box 231, New Brunswick, NJ 08903. Dairy
Goat Management, Extension Bulletin 334 (1972).
Shields, Joan and Harry. The Modern Dairy
Goat. 1972. Dairy Goat Journal, Box 1908,
Scottsdale, AZ 85252.
University of California, Davis CA 95616.
Your Dairy Goat, 4-H AXT-243.
U.S. Government Printing Office, Washing-
ton DC 20401. A Dairy Goat for Home Milk Pro-
duction, Leaflet No. 538 (1973).
Walsh, Helen. Starting Right with Milk
Goats. 1972. Garden Way Publishing Co., Char-
lotte, VT 05445.
This publication was printed at a cost of $671.00,
or 13.4 cents per copy, to provide information to
the dairy goat industry in Florida.
Single copies are free to residents of Florida and may be ob-
tained from the County Extension Office. Bulk rates are
available upon request. Please submit details of the request to
C. M. Hinton, Publication Distribution Center, IFAS Building
664, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30. 1914)
Cooperative Extension Service, IFAS, University of Florida
and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
K. R. Tefertiller, Director