Influence of oestrus on the heat stability and other characteristics of milk from dairy goats
We examined the heat stability, somatic cell count (SCC), pH, fat, protein and lactose content of milk from goats during the oestrous period, in order to investigate evidence of possible oestrus effects on milk physical and chemical properties. Goats free from mammary infections were ranked on average SCC from three tests so that they could be stratified randomly in pairs to synchronized oestrus or left as unsynchronized non-oestrus controls. The synchronisation consisted of insertion of an intravaginal progesterone-releasing device for 17 cl, and introduction of the bucks the day of the device removal (DO). The repeated measurements analysis of variance model included the fixed effects of the experimental group (oestrus or control) and day and the corresponding interaction and also the random effect of doe. Reduced milk-heat stability, increased SCC, increased protein content and reduced pH were found in the milk samples of the oestrus group on D1, 2 and 3. The fat and lactose content of the milk was not affected by oestrus. These data indicate that the milk of goats during the mating period has reduced heat stability and, therefore, that dilution into bulk tanks should be recommended to avoid clotting when milk is intended for high thermal treatment.