1st time mom, low milk production

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ThunderHill

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Hi! In your experience, can low milk supply just be a first-litter problem, or is a poor milking doe likely to always be that way? I have a NZ doe whose first litter of 7 never looked all that well-fed, and have been consistently slower growing than another litter of 7 born the same day to an experienced doe. At 6 weeks the larger litter averages over 2.5 pounds each, and the smaller averages only around 1.7 pounds. That is tiny for NZ at 6 weeks! The mom and buck were both around 3 pounds at 6 weeks by comparison.

I'm just wondering if you've seen does do better with milking after the first litter, or if I need to start thinking about selecting a replacement. Thanks in advance!
 

rockyhillrabbits

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I'm not sure low milk production is something that gets better with experience. I would think it would just be dependent on the particular doe. There are things you can add to the doe's diet to help. Oats are very good for milk production. I have only had a handful of does who have kits with big, full bellies. As long as the kits don't look skinny, I leave it alone and they do very well.
 

JG3

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I’m new, so not experienced, but I had this exact same issue. After posting here and researching, I found low milk supply can be common with first timers and usually remedies itself with experience. In any case, my doe was an excellent mother and so I wouldn’t write her off on a first litter, I’d give her another chance and maybe even a third if I had the same issue again. I gave her oats and BOSS to help her milk supply and it did. Now, her kits are still smaller than the other litter though, by looks and feel. I haven’t weighed them yet but plan to this weekend and compare. But, the bigger litter was also sired by a NZ/Flemish giant cross, so I’m wondering if the size difference is due to the Flemish in them. The smaller litter is a NZ/Cali cross. In any case, I’ll check their weights and just see if the one litter is bigger than typical or the other is actually smaller due to the milk issue.
 

ThunderHill

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Thanks for the replies! I do give BOSS and oats daily to milking does, and while it didn't seem to help this one much, I am going to give her at least a few more tries to see if she improves. She did everything else really well and had a litter of 7, which is actually a good sized litter for my herd. She's already been rebred and should kindle in a few weeks. I'll update with how she does! I'll also update as the little guys continue to grow to see if they catch up now that they are fully weaned.
 

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