Milk Production

Average Milk Production


Some exceptional does produce seven or eight quarts of milk a day when they're fresh. Other does have nice personalities or spots, but the best they can milk is less than three quarts a day in peak production. Obviously, milk production varies. 

On the average, you'll get a half gallon of milk a day per doe. The most recent actual average milk production (according to the USDA) for Alpines, LaManchas, Nubians, Oberhaslis, Saanens, and Toggenburgs on DHI production test was approximately 1790 lbs. of milk in 305 days, about 6 lbs. or 3 quarts a day for ten months. 

A good mature doe (three to four years old) will give three to five quarts a day when fresh and should still be producing two to three quarts a day seven months later when it is time to breed her again. Some breeds average less milk, but their milk may be higher in butterfat. 

Young does usually produce less. Some breeders are pleased with the first freshener that hits three quarts a day at her peak. A first freshener that milks too much may break down and not be able to continue her production in the years to come. If a young doe peaks at only 5 lbs., you can give her a chance, and she may continue to increase her production each year until she's mature. The ideal doe milks consistently over a number of years. 

When a doe is in heat (and also after she's bred) her production may drop off sharply. A drop in production may also signal illness. Production depends on genetics, condition, management, even weather. Remember: it also takes quality grain, good hay, and lots of clean fresh water for a doe to milk well. 

The latest USDA records (taken from the National Cooperative Dairy Herd Improvement Program website) can be found on the USDA website. 

To weigh your milk and keep track of your herd's production, below you will find a quality scale plus milk record sheets. If you are on DHI milk test, you will also need a sample dipper.