It seems that the question of how much milk a Nigerian Dwarf doe will produce comes up fairly regularly. Some think that they produce too little to be of practical use – but a good quality doe actually produces a substantial amount; and a couple of does can supply the needs of a family.
DHI (Dairy Herd Improvement) testing is the official method for monitoring milk production for dairy goats, and we have one goat that has been on official test - 3*M Old Mountain Farm Hot Tea 3*D. In her first lactation, she produced the following, as officially recorded in the DHI records:
What this shows is that at a little over one year of age, she started producing milk and continued for 397 days with a total production of 827 lbs (with an average of about 7% butterfat). This translates into an average of 2.1 lbs. per day or, a little over 4 cups per day (for over a year) or over 100 gallons. Hot Tea earned her Advanced Registry milking stars in this lactation, and a quart of milk a day certainly seems worthwhile to me!
Although we’re not currently on official milk test at Bramblestone Farm, we do weigh and track each doe’s milk production daily. In addition to Hot Tea (who’s now in her third freshening), we have three first fresheners (see the does page here), and they’re all producing quite well. Tinker Bell is producing at the same pace Hot Tea did as a first freshener, while Jewel Box and Bit ‘O’ Honey are producing about 3 cups per day.
Things are likely to get better too. Nigerian Dwarves tend to increase in production in their second and third freshening, so we’ll likely see even better production in future years. Also, the breed is a young one; and milk production continues to improve in the breed – the top milking does can produce nearly twice (in later lactations - first fresheners always produce less) what Hot Tea did in her first lactation. That’s a lot of milk – definitely enough to be worthwhile as a dairy animal!