Development of a Dairy Goats Udder


For those of us that want to have our own milk supply, the thought of milking a goat is a wonderful thing. It’s a nice quiet time for both the goat, as she eats her special grain that helps with the milk supply, and for the one who is milking her. My mind likes to wander as my head rests on the doe’s side and the gurgling of her stomach makes me giggle. But, do we really know what to look for when the doe’s udder is developing as her body is getting ready to deliver her first kid? Will she have a good over all attachment, will she have good teats for hand milking and will they be defined; does the udder look like two large teats? Or will her udder just be some small poochy thing that will fit in one hand. Well, I hope this helps you to learn what to look for. 

 La Brie udder

This is La Brie, a 1st generation Mini-Alpine. The apperance of her udder is what I want in my herd. Don't let this udder fool you though. Her teats are great for hand milking. This photo was taken a day after she arrived so her body is gaunt from the trip. 

Of course, a doe can’t give milk unless she is pregnant and has a kid first. That is the reason she develops the udder in the first place, to feed her kid. There are those that are called precocious doe’s. This doe will start to produce milk without being bred. I’ve never had one but I’ve heard about them. This is not the doe I am talking about. 

Before a doe is bred her teats will be like two little fingers attached to her belly right before her hind legs. Before she is bred, check and see if there are only two of them. Sometimes there is a third that is close to the larger one, this is called a spur. They can be removed at birth very easily. There is also a double teat that has two openings. You don’t what that either. I hope you check this before buying any doe. This is a breeding fault and you don’t want to breed this trait into her offspring. It is hard to milk this teat also.

The best way to tell how an udder will develop is to look at your doe’s mom and her sire’s mom. If you don’t own them, the breeder of your doe most likely has photos or will let you see their udders. This is best when they are “in milk”, meaning they are producing milk.  You’ll want to look at both the front and hind attachments. From the back, you want to be able to see how far down the leg the udder is attached, the further down, the better. Some doe’s don’t have any attachment at all. This one, stay away from if you are new to breeding dairy goats. I have had one in my herd but with good reason as I’ll explain when we get to her photo. The front of her udder you want to be a few inches behind her belly, where the umbilical was attached. It’s common for doe’s that are first fresheners to have a sort of cup at the front of their udders. This usually goes away with each delivery but I have seen a few doe’s that never loose it. It has nothing to do with the amount of milk this doe will produce. There was one doe in my herd that was 9 years old and still had this cup and produced just over a gallon per day. This is a wonderful amount for a goat to produce.

Heather Jackson
2/13/2013 10:23:36 PM

Her body seems long to me, but she is a little "gangly" to me, so I think that makes her look bigger. I haver her mother, but I didn't get much background info on her. Her udder is growing and has some swing to it, but I wouldn't count it as "Whoa!" yet! My emergency kidding supplies arrived today, so I'm feeling better about it. By my count I should have another week minimum. I'm such a nervous mom. I feel like I should already be boiling water and getting clean towels! :-)

2/11/2013 4:37:49 PM

I Dave, good to see you. Goats are easier and faster to milk than cows but with having Dexter's I also milk them. The udder attachment on the cows are the same with the goats. I have one Dexter that l love milking her but the other has fatter teats and I can't stand milking that one. Not an expert, just watching them for many years. Have a good day youself. Suzy

2/8/2013 1:07:59 AM

Suzy, I never knew there was so much science behind a goat udder. You are definitely the expert in goat udders. All my milking experience has been with cows. Goats are a whole other milking world. Have a great goat milking day.

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