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Mustang Sally Farm
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« Reply #135 on: March 24, 2012, 10:07:19 AM »

Kid Structure Can Be Used to
Make KEEP or CULL Decisions

By Shelene Costello
Every year we have all these cute little baby goats. It can be challenging to decide which of the kids we are going to keep, and which we need to sell to keep the herd numbers manageable. Figuring out how to pick and choose the right kid or kids that have the best potential of meeting our specific goals is one of the hardest things that I have to do. They are all so cute, and so many of them have qualities I've been looking for in a dairy goat. Realistically though, it is not possible to keep them all, and there are early indicators of traits I like to see in dairy goats, and a method I developed to make those painful decisions easier.
First, before we ever have kids born, I spend time looking over pedigrees and the traits that individual does in my herd have. I bred them to bucks that hopefully will produce traits we need improving on, while not losing too much of what I already like in those does. I look at the sire's female relatives, particularly, as they are going to show milking traits that just can't be seen on buck.
By the time kids are actually born, I have a general idea of what we ‘"may" produce in the breeding. What we actually get, may be entirely different sometimes, or it may be exactly what I'm looking for. Nature can be tricky that way.
As the kids are born, my first go over is to make sure everyone has the outward working body parts. Some kids are born without the proper parts to survive...I have had kids born with no opening in the anus, or without one of its legs, or with a cleft palate, etc. If anyone breeds long enough they will see plenty of oddities born, but usually they are rare.

Nigerian Dwarf, Promessa's Golden Touch, as a pale cream kid (above) and as a milker (below). She darkened up to a dark golden brown. As a kid, we can see the solid structure that supported her growing into a functional dairy goat. Her wide long body with good feet and legs, and wide open escutcheon had room for a capacious well-attached udder.

Next, I check to see what sex the new kid is, and if the proper sex organs appear where they should. I check to see if the doeling's vulva set under her tail, and if the buckling's penis and scrotum (including testicles) are properly placed and normal looking. It is very important to check for two teats of normal shape and size.
Teats will grow with the animal so spur teats and extra teats may not be visible right away. Sometimes too, testicles may not be down in the scrotum at birth but may drop a bit later. Typically in goats though, if the testicles are not down within a short time after birth, I do not expect them to drop on down.
Using my knowledge of basic goat structure and the dairy goat scorecard along with my experience with the bloodlines and individual animals I'm working with, I then begin to evaluate each kid more thoroughly.
Some things in kids can be seen and will stay very similar throughout life, others are an educated guess as to how they will develop.
The dairy goat scorecard allots 25 points to feet, legs and pasterns for junior does. That is one quarter of all points available. So it is a very important part of evaluating young kids. If the feet and legs, including the pasterns, are not strong and solid as a kid, they are going to break down even more as the goat grows and gains weight.
Strong and straight legs start with toes that point ahead and are well held together with solid hooves that are level front to back with deep heels. I want legs that have good bone, without being too coarse and round, solid joints, knees pointing forward, with plenty of width between those front legs leaving room for a wide chest floor. The back legs should also be wide leaving room for a capacious udder to fit in as the doe matures. Short strong pasterns that are relatively upright are needed and desirable in the correct dairy goat.
There are 10 points each for front end assembly and back structure. Now, I consider the front end assembly as part of leg construction myself, but the score card actually allots it it's own points, which bump leg points to 35, more than one-third of the total 100. When looking at legs, I consider the shoulder and upper arm construction, as that is how the leg is held to the body and supports nearly two thirds of the weight of a goat. It needs to be tightly held to the body, and well angled with a proper length of upper arm.
Something I stress over and over to myself, as well as any who ask, that I want a kid to grow up and be a functional dairy goat. Anything I can do to breed and keep animals that will be functional for a long productive life is what I am going to choose to keep. Tightly held shoulders, flat muscled, strong straight legs that are standing on strong pasterns with solid feet will support a dairy goat for a long life.
The more deviation from the ideal, the more issues may surface during that life and may shorten the usefulness of the doe and impair the quality of her life.
Moving along, the back is the support for the heavy body of a doe hung between those legs, so it's important to have a kid with a solid strong level back that is wide and well muscled. Any weakness in the topline in a kid, tends to worsen as the animal matures.
There are 10 points for head, breed character and stature. Now, I personally love the breed type that sets each breed apart from the others, but the scorecard has few points over all to allot to it. The main thing I remember is that a head often matches the body behind it, so a nice strong long wide head, of sufficient breed type and refinement as befits a dairy animal will play a part in my decision on which particular kids appeal to me. Stature is the size and growth appropriate for the breed and age of a goat. That is only two points, but in functionality, it is a bigger part of what I will look at. I want a kid who grows fast and easy with little care. To me, a fast growing kid is a sign of good overall health of the animal. A small runty, spindly kid is not a good choice for me. One of those may or may not outgrow it with extra care. I tend to look for an animal that does not need special care to thrive so that I can spend my time and money enjoying my goats rather than providing work to maintain.
Again on the scorecard, body capacity has 15 points. To me, I consider body capacity a good part of what I'm looking for. I want a goat that is long enough and wide enough to eat well, to carry kids and lots of milk. I want a deep heart girth, showing good heart and lung capacity.
Dairy character has the remaining 30 points on the scorecard. This is where the flat bone, flat muscling, and lean neck, sharp withers, flat incurving thighs, fine skin, wide rumps, and open escutcheons all come into play. This is where we find the refined yet strong look that makes a dairy goat different from a meat goat or a pet goat, or a fiber goat.
We want to see all of this evidenced in a kid. It gives us a good idea that this kid who is solidly built, strong, well grown for its age will indeed grow into a functional dairy goat who will give us years of productive milking.
Now, having given all of the scorecard ideals of what to look for, I'll actually tell how I decide which of those kids meets my goals for my breeding program.

I want strong functional goats. But no goat is ideal so I have to accept that there are some things I can compromise on and still have a solid dairy animal.
I first look at those feet and legs. I spend hours watching my kids run, jump and play. I see how they land on the ground and stand hanging out in the pen. Do their legs come down square? If not, how much deviation is there?
I put a large importance on wide flat rumps, particularly, wide and flat from side to side, and it's a bonus if I get plenty of length as well.
I want young kids to be balanced in overall proportions. Do they appear to be all of a piece or do they show disharmony of parts? Can I figure out what isn't meshing with the rest by looking and feeling?
I want body capacity and dairy character and I'll compare kids not only to the other kids, but to the ideal in my mind. I personally have chosen to give a bit more consideration to body depth and width than the scorecard does in kids, as I see how it impacts my herd later in life. The kids I've kept with a bit less have not always thrived as well down the road as the ones with good width and depth through the heart girth and to the rear end.
I take photos of the kids playing and with me stacking them at several ages to see if what I think I see is in my mind or really in the kid. I find for me that emotion can cloud my judgment, so photos really help me see a clearer picture. I compare escutcheons, and yes, teat placement on kids, though the scorecard doesn't mention the teats at all. To some extent I can give an educated guess as to teat placement on an udder, by studying how my goats grow and age. I want to try to weed out as much as I can early on, so that I don't have time to get attached and realize a major fault is hiding under there.
I mentally place my kids as I would in a class, when I'm out playing with them. They will vary as they grow, but the kids that I continue to place highest tend to end up my keepers. I run my hands over my kids regularly. Not just watch them from a distance. I want to get a feel for their bodies. Part of that also gives me a good idea of their health, but a lot teaches me their feel and how they are going to mature.
With all of this said, I then compare what I see and feel in the kids to how the parents look. What traits do I see that I want in those parents and what do I want to improve? Some years I may keep a kid that I may not in another year, because I want something particular out of that breeding.
For instance, this year, the buck I used on my Nigerian does has tight sharp withers, flat, flat bone, solid feet and legs, and overall smoothness of blending. This is something I really want to improve in my herd over all. So I'm going to really pay attention to those traits in these kids. I may give up a bit on some other traits, to keep the ones with the best of what that buck throws.
Next year, I'll be using different bucks and will choose the kids then based on how this year's kids freshen, and what traits the new kids show.
Mustang Sally Farm
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« Reply #136 on: March 24, 2012, 10:59:26 AM »

This site will help explain udder developement and what is really needed in order for any goat to become a truely good milker.Remember,even top milklines have goats from time to time that will not become good producers,reason for culling in the first place.
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« Reply #137 on: March 27, 2012, 01:10:06 AM »

Calcium in Hay

The following two charts list calcium in forages. All hay has some moisture in it. Chart #1 lists the percent of calcium as fed. Chart #2 provides the percent of calcium in hay with all moisture removed. Variations occur from field to field. Remember that growing conditions, maturity, and soil nutrients affect all mineral content.



1.71 % -- Clover, White
1.35 % -- Clover, Red - Immature
1.34 % -- Alfalfa - Prebloom
1.28 % -- Alfalfa ---- All
1.27 % -- Alfalfa - Midbloom
1.22 % -- Clover, Red ---- All
1.07 % -- Clover, Red - Mature
1.07 % -- Alfalfa - Mature
0.78 % -- Lespedeza, Common
0.51 % -- Prairie Grass - Immature
0.46 % -- Timothy Early Bloom
0.44 % -- Grass ---- All
0.43 % -- Bermudagrass
0.41 % -- Timothy - Prebloom
0.41 % -- Prairie Grass - Mature
0.40 % -- Bromegrass - Mature
0.40 % -- Bluegrass, Kentucky -- All
0.38 % -- Timothy ---- All
0.36 % -- Timothy Fullbloom
0.35 % -- Fescue, Tall
0.34 % -- Orchardgrass
0.34 % -- Grass - Mature
0.33 % -- Wheat, Intermediate
0.33 % -- Fescue, Meadow
0.32 % -- Wheat, Slender
0.32 % -- Timothy Midbloom
0.32 % -- Prairie Grass, Midwest
0.32 % -- Bromegrass ---- All
0.31 % -- Rye
0.30 % -- Quackgrass
0.30 % -- Oats - Immature
0.29 % -- Oats ---- All
0.28 % -- Bromegrass - Prebloom
0.24 % -- Wheat, Crested
0.24 % -- Bluegrass, Kentucky - Mature
0.22 % -- Oats - Dough Stage
0.13 % -- Wheat


1.90 % -- Clover, White
1.55 % -- Clover, Red - Immature
1.50 % -- Alfalfa - Prebloom
1.39 % -- Alfalfa - Midbloom
1.38 % -- Clover, Red ---- All
1.28 % -- Alfalfa ---- All
1.18 % -- Clover, Red - Mature
1.07 % -- Alfalfa - Mature
0.88 % -- Lespedeza, Common
0.57 % -- Prairie Grass - Immature
0.51 % -- Timothy Early Bloom
0.49 % -- Grass ---- All
0.47 % -- Bermudagrass
0.45 % -- Timothy - Prebloom
0.45 % -- Prairie Grass - Mature
0.45 % -- Bluegrass, Kentucky -- All
0.43 % -- Bromegrass - Mature
0.41 % -- Timothy Fullbloom
0.41 % -- Timothy ---- All
0.39 % -- Fescue, Tall
0.38 % -- Orchardgrass
0.38 % -- Grass - Mature
0.37 % -- Wheat, Intermediate
0.37 % -- Fescue, Meadow
0.36 % -- Timothy Midbloom
0.36 % -- Bromegrass ---- All
0.35 % -- Wheat, Slender
0.35 % -- Prairie Grass, Midwest
0.33 % -- Rye
0.33 % -- Quackgrass
0.33 % -- Oats - Immature
0.32 % -- Oats ---- All
0.32 % -- Bromegrass - Prebloom
0.26 % -- Wheat, Crested
0.26 % -- Bluegrass, Kentucky - Mature
0.24 % -- Oats - Dough Stage
0.15 % -- Wheat

charts like this one is used as a guide for understanding calcium content in hays in the west for lactating dairy animals.Would be interesting to know where forages like indigo,malunggay and mulberry compare to this chart,with moisture and without??
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« Reply #138 on: April 04, 2012, 10:28:27 AM »

By all accounts,USA will plant record acres of corn for this coming 2012 season due mainly to record corn prices,good for the corn producers but sad news for those feeding livestocks.Once you add into the picture that fuel prices will also rise by summer this is a double blow for those involved in livestock production and will force some to leave agriculture altogether.Every time people leave livestock production this is usually followed by higher imports to make up for losses of local production which is not good for local produced products for the long term.Tough enough with all the free trade agreements signed between most countries today,one countries loss becomes another countries gain and to try and produce against countries that practice industrial farming practices,double blow.Will be interesting to follow the trend for livestock production in country for the coming 2012 season overall.The problems will livestock production is all the other outside forces that the average producer has no control over but must find creative ways to try and keep his/her head above water or leave the industry and look for something else.We are all in this together and there are no easy solutations to the ongoing problems of livestock production today.Not easy to be a livestock producer in this day and age.
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« Reply #139 on: April 06, 2012, 10:31:44 AM »

Meat goat Management-Mustang Sally Farm:

Goat Selection
Animal selection is a skill that meat goat producers needs to master. Animal selection relies on the ability of the producer to identify parent animals that possess desirable traits to contribute to their offspring. These characteristic are economic important traits which should allow the producer to achieve defined production goals. Commercial producers may place greater emphasis on growth measurements. Seed stock producers or purebred producers may place more importance on reproduction and carcass traits to meet their production goals.

The animals selected or not selected fall into two general categories or methods of selection.

Breeding and(or) herd replacements
Cull animals
Breeding or herd replacements can be defined as animals selected to produce offspring. These animals are selected for their desirable characteristics or traits. Selection by culling, on the other hand, is the process by which a producer removes animals from the herd. Animals are culled for not meeting the goals of the producer. Despite the different needs within the meat goat industry, a balanced approach is the key to sound animal selection.

Selection Methods and Tools
Producers have many tools to aid them in selection with visual appraisal as the most common method. Under this method, producers visually review the live animal much in the same way a livestock judge evaluates livestock during a goat show. Common selection tools include the following:

General visual appraisal
Breeder records
Performance data
Genetic Animal Evaluation - EPDs
Show records
Pedigree data
Industry standards
Breed standards

Utilizing a combination of selection tools can provide insight into the genetic makeup of the animal which may not be determined from visual appraisal alone. When using the selection tools together, the producer will come closer to meeting the desirable production or herd goals

Visual appraisal begins with the general appearance of the goat (buck and doe). For commercial meat goats a producer wants an animal that exhibits a long body which is desirable with leg and cannon bone in proportion to the animal. Extremely long legs are more desirable than extremely short legs. The goat should exhibit a strong level back extending from the neck to the hook bones. A producer should keep in mind that older animals are more likely to have a weaker line than young animals. You want the back to be long, wide and strong.

The width and length of the loin are important for volume of meat in the carcass. You want the back to be wide from withers to the rump with smooth shoulders to blend into the neck. The rump should be long and wide also, with the same width between hooks (hip bone) as pins, if not wider between the pin bones. You want the rump to have a slight slope from the hook bones to the pin bones, but should not be overly steep. Some angle to the rump is necessary for easy kidding.

The front end of the commercial meat goat should be wide and smooth. The front legs should be well-spaced representing a wide chest floor and perpendicular to the ground. The forearm should show evidence of muscling and the feet should point straight ahead. Meat goats showing structural signs as knock-knee, buck-knees, pigeon-toed, or splay-footed are animals that should not be selected as animals to place within the goat herd. Select goats where the barrel projects adequate spring of rib which indicates capacity for foraging, pregnancy, and maintenance of body condition.

The rear legs should be wide apart and straight when viewing from the rear. Muscling will be demonstrated by a thick thigh and the depth of the twist. The side view should project a vertical line from pin bone to point of hock and touching the ground just behind the hind hoof. This angle is more desirable for a correct free movement on the hind legs. The pasterns should be strong and straight. The feet should have tight toes and a level sole.

Frame size indicates growth potential. Adequate to moderate bone is acceptable. Avoid selecting animals that are sickle hocked, post legged and cow hocked. Skin coloring or skin pigmentation in the anal area is important to reduce the chance of skin cancer in that area.   


You want a replacement doe to exhibit a feminine head and a feminine wedge appearance to the body with a long elegant neck that blends smoothly into a wide shoulder and back. The doe should project good spring of rib and depth of body which is a good indicator of volume. There should be adequate muscling in the rear leg without losing feminity. The body should have volume and capacity which demonstrates the ability to breed, carry several kids, and rear young in a pasture environment. The external genitalia of the female should be well developed and properly structured. Vulvas which turn up on end can cause a problem when the buck is serving the doe and can result in poor doe fertility.

Does should have well formed udders with good attachment. It is important that the udder is constructed so that the offspring are able to nurse unassisted. The number of functional teats should not exceed two per side with one teat per side as more desirable. Cull faults include udder and teat abnormalities or defects to include, but not limited to, oversized or bulbous teats, and pendulous udder. Other culling characteristics include cluster teats, fishtail teats, or a doe that has not kidded or exhibited signs of pregnancy by 18 months of age. Goats are prolific animals which will naturally reach puberty and be fertile at 6 to 7 months of age. Breeding age females should show evidence of having kidded by the age of two years.


You want the breeding buck to show masculinity and exhibit adequate muscling. The head should be masculine with a broad strong muzzle and horns set far apart enough to not rap or break legs of other goats. The neck should smoothly flow into wide smooth shoulders. The body should exhibit a masculine profile with a heavier chest and forebody. Because of manifestation of testosterone, older bucks may demonstrate higher, heavier, and more coarse shoulders.

Bucks must have two large, well- formed, functional, equal-sized testes in a single scrotum. Sperm production is related to the circumference of the testicles. More semen is produced by bucks with greater scrotal circumference. Mature bucks should have a scrotum circumference of 25 cm or 10 inches. In young bucks, testicles should be of equal size and large for day of age. Avoid selecting bucks that exhibit sizeable splits in the scrotum (see photo). Avoid selecting bucks that show overly pendulous testicles. Testicles should be free of bumps or lumps and should be smooth.

Cull faults include single testicle, testicles too small, abnormal or diseased testes, excessive split in scrotum. The teat structure of the buck should also be reviewed as the buck has a large impact on the herd if his daughters are retained as replacements.


The length of the upper and lower jaw should be equal. The teeth should touch the dental pad in young goats. However with older goats some leaning of the teeth is acceptable as long as the length of the jaw and dental pad when viewed from the side is equal. Avoid selecting replacement animals that exhibit undershot jaw.

Breeder records

Breeder records can provide valuable insight into the productivity of an animal over its productive life. Utilizing breeder records to meet production goals can enhance selection decisions. Visual appraisal is not always a true indication of how an animal will produce in a goat herd. Basic records should include the following:

Birth date
Birth weight
Animal ID
Sex of offspring
Number born
Birthing difficulties
Time of kidding
Frequency of kidding
Total pounds of kids weaned

As the animal matures, the breeder can add other records such as health, vaccinations, and marketing results. The resistance to foot rot or internal parasites can also be recorded to aid the producer in identifying superior genetics for future selection and mating. The number of kids born is extremely important, but the number of kids weaned is more important in determining profitability. The number of kids weaned is also related to the mothering ability of the doe and herd management. Time of kidding refers to the days of the gestation period of which is 150 days for goats.

Producers would like every doe to breed in the first cycle. Replacement animals from does that kidded early in the breeding season will be more productive over their lifetime compared to kids from does that did not breed until the third or fourth heat cycles. Recording the frequency of kidding will allow producers to cull does that do not kid every year.

Performance records

Performance records can aid the producer in animal selection and culling. Performance records are recorded at different phases of growth of the animal. Pre-weaning growth rate is how kids grow from birth to weaning and is primarily a function of milk production in the dam. Kids should be weighed at weaning which generally occurs at 60 to 90 days of age.

The total pounds of kids weaned are also important as the total weight of twin kids will be greater than that of a single raised kid. In most cases, the same inputs will be used to produce twins versus a single kid. However, as the number of kids increase, management inputs increase.

Once the kids are weaned they no longer have the dam’s milk to make them grow. They are now depending on their own genetic potential for growth, assuming proper nutrition. This is known as post-weaning growth rate or post-weaning gain. Purebred producers may place buck kids on a gain test to determine post weaning growth rate.

Other performance weights such as birth, 150-day and 365-day weights may aid the producer in making culling and mating decisions.

Genetic evaluation

Although genetic evaluation programs are new to the goat industry, producers of other species have used genetic evaluations for rapid improvement. Most genetic evaluation programs are provided by breed associations and are particular to the breed. Breeders within the breed record individual animal performance measures. Programs predict future performance based on performance of relatives and current performance of the individual animal. Most of the major sheep breeds including Katahdin have a breed improvement program in place and the American Boer Goat Association is evaluating the feasibility of implementing such a program for Boer Goats.

Expected Progeny Difference (EPD) is an estimate of the genetic merit of an animal for a single trait. The purposes of the genetic evaluation programs are as follows:

Identify and document genetic merit for major economically important traits.
Predict performance of the next generation.
Provide breeders with EPDs to be used as another tool in selecting breeding stock.
Provide the documentation for breeding stock customers to make informed decisions about their purchases.

The expected progeny difference (EPD) for a young animal will be mostly based on his parents’ performance records such as birth, weaning, and(or) yearling weights. After the kid’s own performance records have been processed, his EPD will be based on a combination of his parents’ records and his own performance. If that kid is selected as a breeding animal, and records on his kids are reported, the records on his progeny will also be used to calculate his EPD. Because all relationships (parent-offspring, half-siblings, cousins) among animals are taken into account, records on related animals will be used to improve the accuracy of predictions.

Producers can compare goats using EPDs. For example, a buck with a Weaning Weight EPD of +1.0 is good, but a different buck with a Weaning Weight EPD of +2.0 is better. EPDs give the most objective and reliable estimation of genetic value possible. The EPDs provided by a breed association will vary. The more common EPDs included the following:

Birth Weight EPD
Maternal Birth Weight EPD
90-Day Weaning Weight EPD
150-day Post-weaning Weight EPD
Maternal Milk EPD
Milk plus Growth EPD
Number Born, or Percent Kid Crop
Carcass EPD
Reproduction EPD
Production Life EPD

The breed association calculating the EPDs can provide more information on genetic animal evaluation programs and how to use EPDs as a selection tool to meet production goals.


IProducers need to consider the heritability of a trait when selecting for genetic improvement. How well a goat performs is due to its 1) genetic makeup, 2) environment; and 3) management. When goats are selected for the breeding herd, the breeder expects that their better production performance will be inherited by their offspring. The percentage of superiority of the parents passed to their offspring is called heritability. Faster progress can potentially be made in improving a trait with a high degree of heritability than in improving a trait with a low degree of heritability. The heritability levels are consider in the following ranges: low 10-20%, moderate 25-45%, and high 50-70%. The heritability values of some economically important traits in goats are in Table 1.

Table 1. Heritability estimates of some economically important traits in goats.

Trait(s) Heritability, %
Birth interval 5 - 10
Birth weight 30 - 40
Number born 15
Motherability 40
Weaning weight 20 - 30
Yearling weight 40
Mature weight 65
Milk yield 25
Milk fat % 55
Milk protein % 50
Udder support 20
Teat placement 30
Feed conversion 40
Stature (Conformation & Frame) 45 - 50
Rear legs 15
Wither height 40
Cannon bone circumference 45
Carcass weight 45 - 50
Quality grade 40
Fat depth 40 - 45
Ribeye (loin) area 40 - 45
Cutability 25 - 30
Muscling 40 - 45
Temperament 25
Scrotal circumference 50

Ageing Goats
Number and arrangement of teeth

Estimating the age of goats is done by looking at the teeth. The arrangement of teeth on the jaw, from front to back, is incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. Ruminants only have incisors on the bottom jaw. The top jaw has a thick layer of tissue called the “dental pad.” Ruminants do not have canine teeth and this open space along the jaw is useful when needing to insert one’s fingers to pry open a goat’s mouth for drenching, tubing, or other purposes.

Mature goats will have a total of 8 incisors (4 pair), 6 premolars (3 pair), and 6 molars (3 pair). It is customary when ageing goats by looking at their teeth to discuss teeth in terms of “pairs” rather than in total.

Telling the age of goats

Young goats have deciduous or “baby” teeth that are replaced by permanent teeth at a later age. Kids are generally born with the central pair of deciduous incisors (incisors erupt from the center outward) with the second pair erupting at 1 to 2 weeks, third pair at 2 to 3 weeks and the fourth pair erupting at 3 to 4 weeks of age. Kids also will develop 3 pairs of deciduous premolars but no molars.

As kids age, the deciduous incisors are replaced by permanent incisors, again from the center pair outward. The middle pair of deciduous incisors will be replaced sometime around 12 months. The second, third, and fourth pairs are replaced at roughly yearly intervals at 1.5 to 2 years, 2.5 to 3 years, and 3.5 to 4 years of age. Thus, a goat with 1 pair of permanent incisors is roughly 1 year of age, 2 pair of permanent incisors is 2 years of age, and so on. At four years of age when all permanent teeth are in place, the animal may be referred to as having a “full mouth.”

Ageing goats over 4 years of age is more difficult. Over time, the gums recede and teeth appear elongated. Teeth may also become broken or worn down from grazing and foraging. Animals that have broken or lost teeth are often referred to as “broken mouthed.” “Undershot” is a condition in which the lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw whereas “overshot” is the opposite. Malformed teeth can affect the ability to graze and consume nutrients.

Animal Identification
The proper identification of animals is essential. Proper identification enables the producer to keep comprehensive records for milk production, reproduction, health problems, and management practices. The efficient maintenance of this information requires a permanent identification system. Several systems of identification may be used. The system selected will depend upon the size of the herd, the environmental conditions, the primary purpose for identifying individual animals, and regulations of federal government and breed-governing bodies. There are two basic types of identification: permanent and non-permanent. Permanent identification includes tattooing, ear notches or microchips. Non-permanent identification includes paint, chalk and tags.


Tattooing is one method of identification that is permanent if properly done. However, it is not easily viewed and may require another complementary method of identification, such as an ear tag, that is visible from short distances. Tattooing involves making needlelike projections in the goat's skin. The tattoo ink is forced into the punctures and remains visible after the puncture wounds heal. It is a good idea to sterilize the equipment and clean the goat's ears to help prevent the spread of some blood-borne diseases. On older animals some tattoos may be difficult to read; holding a bright light source such as a flashlight behind the ear when reading may make the tattoo more legible.

To tattoo an animal, begin by inserting the proper digits into the tattoo pliers. Check for correctness by pressing the pliers onto a piece of paper or cardboard. Secure the goat with a halter or head gate and clean the ear to be tattooed with alcohol. Don’t use water for cleaning as it could enter the ear canal and result in infection. Clip or trim any excessive hair present. A generous amount of ink should be applied to the center of the ear between the ribs of cartilage (green ink should be used for dark ears). Position the tattooing pliers between the ribs of cartilage and squeeze firmly forcing the needle-like numbers into the ear tissue. Care should be taken in removing the tattoo pliers from the ear to not scratch the tattooed area. Ink should be reapplied and rubbed into the tattoo. Using an old toothbrush will assist in pushing the ink into the punctures. Afterwards, the equipment and individual tattoo pieces should be cleaned and sprayed with alcohol.

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« Reply #140 on: April 06, 2012, 10:38:30 AM »

Ear tags

Ear tags are an easy way to permanently identify each goat in the herd. Unlike tattoos, they can be read without actually having to catch the goat. Unfortunately, unlike tattoos, they can break or be ripped out of the goat’s ear. Some producers use two ear tags because of this problem. Goats that are shipped are required to have a scrapie ear tag and these can be used for animal identification. Before putting in the ear tag, it is important to record what ear tag number is assigned to the goat. Ensure the ear tags are inserted between the cartilage ribs on the ears. The producer whose goats have been ear tagged will have an easy-to-read identification number which can be used for herd records.


The insertion of a microchip in the base of the ear or tail web of the animal is another form of permanent identification. After insertion, the microchip should be scanned to ensure that it is reading correctly. Care should be taken in recording the microchip number against the tag number of the animal to ensure the integrity of the microchip identification. Exhibitors are required to provide their own reader at many livestock shows.

Ear notching

 Ear notching is commonly practiced in identifying goats. It has the advantage of being visible from a distance allowing identification without the necessity of catching the animal and can accommodate numbers up to 9999. An ear notching pliers are used to put “V”-shaped notches in the edges of the ear and a hole punch is used to punch holes in the middle of the ear, if necessary. The animal is restrained and notches and holes may be treated with iodine. As this process results in bleeding, the notching pliers should be disinfected between animals to prevent transmission of any blood-borne diseases. The notching system used is that begun in the Angora industry and adapted for meat goats. However, some producers may use alternate numbering system. Generally, notches on the goat’s left ear mean: 10 (top), 1 (bottom), 100 (end); and 1,000 (center hole). On the goat’s right ear, notch values are: 30 (top), 3 (bottom), 300 (end); and 3,000 (center hole). Thus, a goat with the number 135 would look as follows: 1 notch on end of left ear (100); 1 notch on top of right ear (30), 2 notches on bottom of left ear (2); 1 notch on bottom of right ear (3) with a total value equaling 135.

Hoof Trimming
Hoof trimming goats is a simple task that can be easily learned. The goal of hoof trimming is to allow your goat to walk normally. The lack of trimming, or improper trimming, can lead to foot and leg problems. The amount of time between trimmings depends on many factors, such as type of terrain, the goat's age, level of activity, nutritional level, and genetics. In environmental areas where natural wearing does not occur, producers need to trim hooves on a regular basis. Goats raised in relative confinement and on small acreages may require more frequent trimmings than goats raised in vast pastures. Generally, foot trimming should be done as needed.

Each hoof of the goat has two toes. The wall of each toe tends to overgrow and must be trimmed. The heels of the hoof and the dewclaws (especially on an older goat) may also develop extra tissue that needs to be trimmed. Most producers use foot shears or hoof trimmers. Other tools used may include a hoof knife with sharp edges, a pocketknife or a rasp. Pocketknives or a hoof knife can be dangerous to use for both operator and animal as goats may jump. Some people like to use hoof nippers to cut off the tip of the hoof or file it down with rasps.

Initially, use the point of the hoof trimmers to remove any dirt from the outside and the bottom of the hoof. The front of badly overgrown hooves can then be removed. The sides of the hoof should be cut back even with the sole of the foot. Continue to trim the sides around one toe and repeat the process on the other toe. Trim the frog and heel flat until the sole is parallel to the hairline of the pastern. Trim off thin slices. A good rule to follow is to stop when you see pink. If blood appears stop trimming and apply blood stop powder and finish the trimming at a later time.

Disbudding or dehorning is a management practice used in some meat goat herds. At the present time, there is no commercial market incentive offered for disbudded meat goat kids. However, two management decisions warrant the consideration of disbudding: 1) if resident fence(s) are constructed of materials capable of entrapping horned goats and are too expensive to replace or alter, or 2) if show wether production and marketing is a management objective. Some shows require and some exhibitors prefer disbudded kids.

The ideal time to disbud kids is from 3 days to 3 weeks of age. Fewer scurs (small, misshapen horn growth resulting from inadequate disbudding) are seen with disbudding earlier in that time frame. Kids need to be restrained during the procedure with use of a disbudding box preferable. A hot disbudding iron is placed over the horn and pressure applied to ensure complete contact with the skin surrounding the base of the horn. Leave the disbudding iron in place 4 to 6 seconds or until a ring the color of new leather encircles the horn base. Remove the horn tip and underlying loose skin. This process is repeated for the opposite horn. Return to the first location, and use the edge of the heated iron to sear the horn bud until it turns slightly yellow, usually not more than 2 to 3 seconds. This process is repeated for the opposite horn. Remove kid from restraints. The single most important determinant of successful disbudding is size of the horn base. Smaller horns generally result in greater success.

Horn growth rate appears to differ between individual animals. Goats use their horns mainly for fighting and for defense from predators. If they are horned, injury may occur to one or both of the goats involved. Horned goats can on occasion also injure their handlers. In some breeds, the horn structure can provide some insight into some characteristic of the animal. Producers should consider not mixing horned and disbudded animals in the same pen due to the horned animals having a competitive advantage.

All young bucklings that are not to be evaluated as replacement bucks should be castrated. For some producers, this means castrating between the ages of 2 and 4 weeks. Castration of young animals produces less stress in the animals and there is less chance of complications occurring due to the procedure. Young bucks are capable of breeding females as early as 4 to 5 months of age. If a decision is made to not castrate young males, management practices should be in place to prevent unwanted matings.

Three common ways to castrate bucks is through the use of an elastrator that places a rubber ring around the scrotum, a Burdizzo® clamp that crushes the spermatic cord, and the use of a knife to cut the scrotum and remove the testicles.


Using an elastrator is an inexpensive, quick, and bloodless method of castration. It involves putting a heavy rubber ring around the scrotum near the body. The ring stops blood circulation to the scrotum and testicles and these will dry, shrivel, and slough off in 10 to 14 days. It must be done while the scrotum is still very small, i.e., from three days to three weeks of age depending on breed size, before the scrotal muscles and associated tissues develop.

The rubber ring is first put on the prongs of the elastrator (a pliers-like device that when squeezed will open the ring allowing the scrotum and testes to pass through). The male kid is restrained and the scrotum is passed through the open ring with the prongs of the elastrator facing the kid’s body. The producer must feel the scrotum to ensure that both testicles are in the scrotum below the ring. The rubber ring is positioned close to the body and then slipped off the elastrator prongs. Care must be taken to not inadvertently disturb the rudimentary teats of the male kid.


Animals should suffer minimal discomfort until the area becomes numb. However, kids should be monitored during the period prior to sloughing of the scrotum. This method has a higher risk of tetanus than many other castration methods. Some producers may wish to give tetanus antitoxin at the time of castration. If the banded scrotum does not fall off in an appropriate period of time, it may need to be removed manually.


Another quick, bloodless method of castration is to use a Burdizzo® clamp, or emasculatome, to crush and rupture the spermatic cords. This method can be used on older animals, however, it is best to castrate goats when young.

It is important to remember that the spermatic cords must be crushed one side at a time. After restraining the animal, grab the scrotum and manipulate one of the testicles deep in the scrotal sac and find the spermatic cord. Place the clamp over the spermatic cord one-third of the way down the scrotum. Clamp down and hold for 15 to 20 seconds. Release the clamp, reposition it over the spermatic cord one-half inch lower and repeat the procedure. Perform the same steps on the other side to crush the other spermatic cord. Always check the position of the spermatic cord before and after each clamping to ensure no mistakes are made. With this method, the scrotal sac will not slough off, but the will remain on the animal. The testicles will atrophy and disappear.

This method is the best to use during fly season because it leaves no big open wound. Goats must be between four weeks to four months of age with eight to 12 weeks being ideal. Because of the difficulty in telling if the spermatic cords have been crushed, this method may be perceived as less reliable than other methods.


A third method of castration is the use of a knife. As with the other methods, knife castration is best done on young kids. This will result in less blood loss and stress on the animal. The animal should be restrained and the scrotal area washed if necessary. The producer’s hands should be washed and knife sanitized with alcohol. The scrotum is grasped with the testicles pushed to the upper portion and the lower third of the scrotum is cut off. Removing the lower third of the scrotum allows for wound drainage and helps prevent infection. Each testicle is slowly pulled down and away from the body until the cord breaks. If the animal is more than 4 or 5 weeks old, the cord should be scraped through with the knife rather than broken. This will result in less bleeding. The scrotum is sprayed with an antibacterial spray that also repels or kills flies. The kids will be lethargic for several days and then gradually recover. The kids should not be confined to a muddy or filthy area while they are healing from the castration.

Body Condition Score
An easy tool that producers can utilize to assess the overall condition of their goats is that of body condition scoring (BCS). BCS is a simple, fast method of assessing the thinness or fatness of your goats and getting an indication of available fat reserves that can be used by the animal. Goats should be normally be maintained with a moderate amount of body condition. When overall body condition starts to decrease in the herd and goats become too thin (under-conditioned), management intervention is needed. This could be supplemental feeding, deworming, pasture rotation, etc. Conversely, when overall body condition starts to increase in the herd and animals carry too much fat (over-conditioned) the producer should reduce supplemental feeding or could provide a lesser quality diet.

Assessing body condition and making feeding and management adjustments can prevent the occurrence of some diseases or production problems. As an example, does that are too thin will have kids with low birth weights; whereas overly conditioned (fat) does can suffer pregnancy toxemia and kidding problems. Producers need to develop skills in assessing body condition of their goats so that a desired moderate body condition can be maintained. With practice, evaluating the BCS of an animal will only take about 10 to 15 seconds. Adding BCS as a regular part of a management program will help producers to more effectively monitor feeding and herd health programs for a healthy and productive herd.

How to Body Condition Score

Scoring is performed in goats using a BCS ranging from 1.0 to 5.0, with 0.5 increments. A BCS of 1.0 is an extremely thin goat with no fat reserves and a BCS of 5.0 is a very over-conditioned (obese) goat. In most cases, healthy goats should have a BCS of 2.5 to 4.0. Scores of 1.0, 1.5, or 2.0 indicate a management or health problem. Scores of 4.5 or 5 are rarely observed in goats under normal management conditions; however, these scores can sometimes be observed in show goats.

Does should have a body condition of at least 2.5 but no more than 4.0 at the beginning of the breeding season. Prior to entering the winter a minimum score of 3.0 is desirable. Also, if body condition score is 4.5 or greater, pregnancy toxemia prior to kidding is likely as may also occur in animals with a score of 2.0 or less.

Three areas are evaluated in assigning a BCS: the lumbar region, or area containing the loin muscle; the sternum; and the rib cage. Scoring in the lumbar area is based on determining the amount of muscle and fat cover over the vertebrae. Lumbar vertebrae have a vertical protrusion (spinous process) and a horizontal protrusion (transverse process). Both processes are used in determining BCS. Run your fingertips over the spinous process to feel for the vertebrae. Try to grasp the spinous process between your thumb and forefinger. Use your whole hand to feel the loin muscle and fat cover. Try to slip your fingers underneath the tranverse process.

The second body area to feel is the fat covering on the sternum (breastbone). Scoring in this area is based upon the size of the fat pad on the sternum that can be pinched.

A third area is the rib cage and fat cover over the ribs.

Kidding Management
Kidding season can be an anxious time for a producer. Proper kidding management begins with proper nutrition and care of the pregnant doe. Proper nutrition during pregnancy will increase the chances for birth of healthy kids with few problems. Kid mortality in the first 10 days is highest among kids born underweight either due to a premature parturition or poor doe nutrition.

Routine procedures

Most meat goats will give birth on pasture, although some producers may bring certain animals into a shelter. Animals and pastures should be checked frequently, at a minimum twice daily, for new arrivals. The navel cord should be dipped in a solution of tincture of iodine to prevent entry of disease-causing organisms and to promote rapid drying of the umbilical cord. If necessary, a long navel cord can be cut to one to two inches in length. A bleeding cord should be tied with surgical suture material. Kids should be weighed and ear tagged or identified in some way. The doe’s ID number should be recorded along with the kid data. Finally, kids should be checked carefully at birth for any deformities or abnormalities.

Abnormal births

At times birthing difficulties will occur. Abnormal deliveries include breech births (buttocks first), improperly positioned fetuses (one limb forward, the other back), or multiple births where one or more limbs of different kids are intertwined in the birth canal. These situations require human assistance. A lubricated gloved, or washed, hand should gently be inserted into the birth canal and the fetus pushed backwards slightly to reposition it. When either the front or hind legs can be grasped, the fetus should be pulled gently out and downwards. Ensure the kid is breathing and perform normal management procedures.

Birth to Weaning Management
It is very essential that newborn kids consume colostrum, or first milk, as soon as possible after birth. Colostrum contains antibodies that will help protect the kid as it develops its own immune system. The ability of kids to absorb the antibodies contained in colostrum decreases rapidly after the first 24 hours of life making it essential that consumption occurs as early as possible and certainly prior to 18 hours after birth. Excess colostrum can be frozen for use in orphan or for kids from large litters. If colostrum is hand-fed, amounts of 2 to 4 ounces should be fed to each kid 3 to 4 times per day. If the doe dies and no goat colostrum is available, cow colostrum could be used. This could perhaps be obtained from a nearby dairy farm. An additional practice at birth that enhances the health of the newborn kid is to give injections of iron dextran and vitamins A and D.

Milk is the principal component of the diet of the pre-weaning kid. Under natural suckling, kids consume small amounts of milk at frequent intervals. For kids that need assistance, there are numerous ways to feed milk, including the use of bottles or pails, suckling a nurse doe, and self-feeder units. The method chosen will depend upon factors such as the size of the herd and available labor, as well as personnel preference. Ideally, artificial rearing should mimic natural suckling. Small, frequent feedings increase digestibility and decrease digestive disturbances. Kids can be fed all the milk they will consume in three feedings per day. Begin with 6 to 10 ounces per feeding and adjust accordingly. After four weeks of age, kids can be limit fed one pint (16 ounces) twice daily until weaning. Some producers place cold milk in a cooler and make it available to the kids free-choice throughout the day to more closely mimic natural rearing.

Consumption of large quantities of milk may lead to bloat due to entry of milk into the reticulo-rumen or rapid passage of milk through the abomasum and small intestines resulting in diarrhea or nutritional scours. Research conducted on raising kids on milk replacer fed from four days of age to weaning at six weeks indicates that growth performance is lower and the incidence of digestive disturbances such as scours and bloat are increased compared to goat’s milk under the same system.

Dry feed consumption is important in developing the rumen of the kid and preparing it for weaning. Many goat producers will creep feed kids to maximize growth and weight gain. A creep feed or starter grain along with high quality pasture grass or hay should be made available to kids by two weeks of age. Weaning generally occurs at three months. Weaning can be a stressful event in a kid’s life but is necessary for the health of the doe.

We do not practice all but try and follow the most important aspects when it applies to our situation raising meat goats in a tropical country.
Mustang Sally Farm
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« Reply #141 on: April 09, 2012, 03:03:01 AM »

2010 DHIR Breed Averages

2010 DHIR Breed Averages...



DOES 275-305 DAYS in MILK



MILK lbs



 % / lbs


 % / lbs





3.3 / 80

2.8 / 66






3.9 / 86

3.1 / 70






6.1 / 45

4.4 / 32






4.6 / 85

3.7 / 68






3.5 / 79

2.9 / 67






3.2 / 82

2.8 / 72






3.3 / 77

2.8 / 66






3.0 / 62

2.7 / 56


 Based on 2010 ADGA DHIR Individual Doe Records not corrected for age* ECM = Energy Corrected Milk                                       



Herd N=

Doe Years N=




 %/ lbs





3.3 / 66

2.9 / 58





4.0 / 84

3.1 / 65





4.6 / 65

3.7 / 52





3.3 / 54

2.8 / 45





3.3 / 76

2.9 / 66





3.2 / 54

2.8 / 46








Based on 2010 USDA DHI Herd Records of those herds comprised of 75% of a single breedMixed breed & Experimental Herd data available at AIPL

Last Updated ( Friday, 03 June 2011 16:59 )
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« Reply #142 on: April 10, 2012, 03:34:08 AM »

Fundamental principles of successful goat meat production

    The production of goat meat is increasingly becoming a viable agricultural enterprise in the Southeast United States. I want to examine some of the characteristics of goats suitable for meat production and then look at some of the management practices
that are required to produce goat meat successfully.
    Right at the outset, I want to distinguish between producing meat goats and producing goat meat. The distinction is important because at its heart lies the difference between the servicing of a haphazard and idiosyncratic localized market and the development of a sustainable land-
based industry.
    Just about anyone can produce meat goats. By meat goats, I mean the breeds of goat usually included within the generic catch-all of the phrase. In the United States, that pretty much encompasses any goat not bred for the production of hair or milk. Some ranchers will do it well; some will do it not so well. Some will opt for low input systems (such as the open range systems found in West Texas); others will elect a more intensive route (pen feeding and the like). They will find periodic markets for their products but they will generally be price takers from order buyers. They'll have periods of relative prosperity (particularly when there is a demand for breeding stock) and lengthy periods of penury. The enterprise will usually be conducted in conjunction with a wage-paying job or as a diversification of a larger agricultural enterprise.
    By contrast goat meat production requires a different mindset, and it's goat meat production I want to focus on. Goat meat production concentrates on a larger picture. It looks to the ultimate consumer rather than the buyer at the farm gate, focusing on the product that is to be harvested from the animal raised rather than the animal itself. If I were to define what goat meat production entails it would be along these lines - the aim of goat meat production is the production, in sustainable quantities on a replicable basis, of the product required in the consumer market by the selection of appropriate purpose bred goat types and the implementation of targeted management systems. Goat meat production can be an agricultural livelihood for those who have the opportunity for production on the appropriate scale. For those who opt for smaller scale production it will represent significantly enhanced returns against the production of meat goats.
    Two major factors have historically acted as barriers to capitalizing upon the opportunities that exist in respect of the production of goat meat. The most important of these has been the lack of a breed of goat suitable for commercial production. In the United States the market has been provided with the carcasses of Spanish goats of uncertain origin ranged under a variety of husbandry regimes, and cull Angora goats. Very small numbers of dairy goats have also been slaughtered.
    The second factor is a poor understanding of the management practices necessary for the profitable production of goat meat. Spanish goats have generally been ranged with little or no management supervision and with the rancher accepting high mortality, unthriftiness, poor body weights and slow rates of growth as the vagaries of a low cost/minimal input agricultural system.
    In the last decade, two occurrences have served to extinguish these barriers. The
first is the release into the United States of goats purpose bred for meat production. The Boer goat from South Africa and Kiko goat from New Zealand both exhibit production traits which can contribute significant improvements in feed conversion, growth rates, carcass conformation and production capacity to the base U.S. herd.
    The second is the development in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa of broad acre management programs for the production of goat meat. These programs have resulted from research undertaken into small ruminant production in those countries and have substantially altered the viability of production for goat meat there. In addition, there has been substantial research undertaken in the U.S. on goat health and nutrition. Today an understanding of the management principles necessary for goat meat production is available to North American ranchers.
    Now that the barriers have been overcome, goat meat production can be a profitable enterprise for American ranchers who have the land available and who are prepared to devote time and capital to put in place the necessary components of a goat meat production enterprise.
    Let me give some consideration to the three critical elements of goat meat production: availability of suitable purpose bred goats, appropriately targeted management systems and available viable consumer markets.

Characteristics of purpose bred goats
    When it comes to goat meat production, breed of goat takes second place to the characteristics required for commercial production. I want you to put breeds of goat right out of your mind and focus for a spell on the necessary characteristics.
    There are two critical characteristics required - without them the battle is lost before it is begun. They are rate of growth and ease of management.
    Rate of growth is of paramount importance. Producers often overlook the fact that it is not how big an animal grows that is important: it is how fast the animal grows. And it is the rate of growth at critical times in the animal's life that is the most important. The most important period is between birth and weaning. The next most important time is between weaning and six months.
    Why? There are three reasons: firstly, because the early rate of growth will go a long way to determining the size of the mature animal. Secondly, because a rapid rate of growth at an early age brings the animal to slaughter weight faster. And thirdly, because profitable markets for goat meat tend to focus on younger animals rather than older animals, rapidly growing young animals reaching slaughter weight faster will require less management inputs than slower growing animals.
    Ease of management is equally important. What do I mean by ease of management? Well there are a whole heap of factors involved but these are some of the more important:
¥ Resistance to internal parasites. Some goat breeds (and some individual goats within breeds) demonstrate a reduced requirement for deworming because they are less prone to internal parasite infestation. This translates into substantial saving in terms of dewormer and management time since they can be dewormed less frequently than goats without a reduced requirement for deworming.
¥ Soundness of hooves. Goats that go lame through footrot and/or footscald create a huge management burden. Sound hooves are essential. Animals with unsound hooves should be culled as a matter of course.
¥ Easy care kidding. Goats that require no assistance at kidding are to be preferred over those that require close shepherding.
¥ Browsing vigor. This is the ability to browse aggressively and traveling distances to do so. Aggressive browsers seek their own nutrition rather than waiting for it to be brought to them. Goats of a sedentary disposition are undesirable in production terms.
¥ Fecundity. This encompasses the ability of females to conceive twin offspring on the first exposure to the buck and to carry those kids to parturition and raise them unaided to weaning. Accomplishment of each of these factors aids in the minimization of management intervention - a more compressed kidding season, less bottle babies, more live kids.
    The commercial production of goat meat requires animals that display all these characteristics because the single greatest barrier to profitable production is the cost of the management inputs. Accordingly, the less management time devoted to individual animals, the greater the rancher's ability to concentrate on the management of the herd as a whole. And that is a major consideration where larger sized herds are being run.
    In a phrase, what you look for in a goat for meat production are hardiness, fertility and vigor.

Management principles for goat meat production
    Now I want to give some consideration to what's involved in the management of goats for meat production. And the first thing I want to emphasize is that management means integrated herd management, not the management of individuals or small groups of animals. Too often in the United States I find that the mindset is on the management of individuals, not on the management of the whole herd.
    In a goat meat program, the rancher is the CEO of a production enterprise. He's got to have an overview of the whole operation. He's got to have a strategic management plan that projects at least a year into the future. He's got to have a basic set of financial projections that he can compare his actual returns against. He has to be prepared to take the advice of a management consultant when he needs it. When a rancher focuses too closely on individual animals or small groups he becomes a personnel manager, neglecting his tasks as financial controller, production manager and marketing manager.
    Management for goat meat production means focusing on the herd as a whole. That entails notionally separating it into groups of like animals - the larger the better, the fewer groups the better. Like animals require like management. The more similar the management, the less work it entails. The less work it entails the less manpower required. The less manpower required the more profitable the enterprise.
    The rancher should never fall into the trap of discounting the worth of his own time. Time spent working goats unnecessarily is time that has been squandered and is time that might have been spent more profitably, on the ranch or off it.
    Let me give you some of the principles I employ in the management of large herds (by that I mean anything from a thousand breeding does upwards). But, they are also the principles I advise folks with only a hundred does to use. And they apply equally well if you have only twenty does.
    First, separation into groups. The primary separation is males from females. Entire bucks (that is, uncastrated males) have no place running with females of any age. They should be kept separate and apart save for the period of time when they are actually going to be asked to earn their keep by serving the breeding females. Time and duration of mating is a management function, not a happenstance of nature. Bucks allowed to run with females without constraint make for unwanted pregnancies, prolonged and out of season kiddings and handling difficulties.
    The secondary separation is grouping of females. Firstly, all females of breeding age should be run as a single group. Secondly, all kids (doe kids and wether kids) should be run as a grow-out group. Since this group is going to contribute the majority of your animals for slaughter (the balance being cost for age and dry does) these animals get the best attention. The simple way to manage this group is to send for slaughter first the wethers then the does until you are left with the number of doe kids that are required to provide replacement females for the breeding herd.
    These are the basic divisions I make. At mating time there may be more to accommodate single sire mating programs, or artificial insemination programs or the like. But these are the basic ones. Three groups-three programs.
    The next principle is to establish the time of mating. Mating marks the commencement of the annual production cycle. The time of mating establishes the time of kidding, hugely influences the time of weaning and provides a fairly accurate indicator of when you will have animals available for slaughter. Here're the crude rules of thumb I use to calculate the date on which mating will commence. I take a date when I know that there is going to be good spring growth for the part of the country I'm working in. Let me use our ranch in Texas as an example (and bear in mind that here I'm dealing with Hill Country brushland, not improved posture). That date is the date that will determine all the other dates in the mating calendar.
    I know that by April 1 there will be good spring growth, providing there has not been a devastating winter drought and that there has been reasonable rainfall. So April 1 is the date upon which I want to wean so that the weaned kids will have the benefit of the best feed conditions that the year is likely to produce. Also, they will have the opportunity to grow apace before the devastating heat of June, July and August.
    From April 1, I count back 90 days. That is going to give me the commencement of kidding date. That takes me back to January 1.
    From that date, I count back five months. That is the date upon which I want mating to begin. That date is the first of August. On that date, I introduce the bucks that I want to use in my mating program for the year to the does that are to be mated.
    I leave them running with the does for 32 days. That represents one and a half reproductive cycles. That means that all my kids will be born roughly within a one-month period. That reduces the amount of supervision they will require at kidding and gives me a kid crop that can be treated as a group, not as a collection of individuals. That means that I will be able to deworm, vaccinate, castrate, mark and wean to common dates because all the animals will all be much the same size and age.
    After 32 days the bucks are removed. Their job for the year is finished.
    The third principle is to ruthlessly cull unproductive animals. Unproductive animals are females that:
    ¥ Fail to conceive within the 32-day exposure period. Providing they are not being asked to conceive outside a seasonal mating period, they are not sufficiently fertile to warrant maintaining in the herd.
    ¥ Fail to carry their kids to parturition. Unless, of course, there are good reasons for the does aborting - outbreaks of toxoplasmosis, campylobacter, border disease and the like or savagely inclement weather affecting unsheltered stock.
    ¥ Fail to raise to weaning any kids they carry and bear - but once again outbreaks of disease (coccidiosis, for example) or very bad weather may be taken into account.
    ¥ Produce offspring with genetically undesirable traits (hemaphrodatism) or with physical abnormalities (parrot mouth).
    And any mature male that fails to aggressively cover at least 100 females.
    None of these animals are worth retaining in a commercial herd maintained for goat meat production.
    The fourth principle is to replace at least 20% of the breeding females annually. If enhanced production is the aim of your program, then you have to be consciously improving the quality of your doe herd. This is best accomplished by choosing a single trait of commercial significance and selecting replacement breeding females from within your female kids by ranking them according to their performance in respect of that trait and selecting the superior performers.
    I use rate of growth, usually that between birth and weaning. I use a computer program, which ranks all the offspring and then selects the number I require. These animals are run through to breeding age at which time they are substituted for the animals that are culled for poor productivity. In this way I reduce the generation interval, and keep my doe herd comparatively young.
    The fifth principle is that animal health programs must be prophylactic, not remedial. Most animal health programs involve deworming and vaccination. The golden rule in respect of both is that if you are deworming or vaccinating because you think the animals look as though they need it, you are too late. Animal health programs need to be planned for the forthcoming year, and implemented in a considered manner.
They are designed to prevent worm build up, not to treat it; to prevent bacterial conditions, not to treat them. Animal health programs must be multifaceted and not rely on drugs alone - they should include pasture rotation and other management approaches to minimize the risk of health challenges.
    These are basic principles - principles that must be applied in all goat meat production operations. Each operation wiII require its own degree of fine-tuning to suit its circumstances, size and location. Obviously these principles don't tell the whole story, but they are all factors that must be taken into account if you want to operate a commercially successful operation targeting goat meat production.

Simple aims for herd improvement
    Enhanced production is the consequence of herd improvement. Every commercial enterprise should have a clear understanding of the herd improvement aims they are targeting and the manner in which they are going to be accomplished.
Herd improvement can be accomplished by focussing on two simple propositions:
    ¥ Increase rates of growth.
    ¥ Increase kidding percentages.
    The former can be accomplished by breed selection to attain more rapid rates of growth. The latter can be accomplished by retaining female replacements that are twins and the daughters of twins. By selecting females with strong twinning dispositions, a single gestation maximizes the number of offspring available for slaughter or retention in the herd. The rationale for this approach is that a single female having a single kid has put on the ground say 44 pounds of liveweight at 100 days. A single female having twins (allowing for a slightly slower rate of growth) has put on the ground 2 x 40 pounds = 80 pounds of live weight for the same 100 days. The latter female is therefore infinitely more profitable.
    As a standing rule of thumb, I work on the principle that if your kidding percentage is below 100% then you are unlikely to make significant profits in goat meat production. If your kidding percentage is around 130% then you are well in the ballpark for making money in this enterprise.
    Remember, commercial goat meat production aims to produce the maximum weight of meat in the minimum time for the least possible cost. Programs targeting this outcome are the ones that succeed in profitable production.
    Finally, a brief word about markets. Worldwide, goat meat is the most widely consumed of the red meats. In the majority of countries, however, it never rises above commodity status because of the low gross domestic product (GDP) of third world countries and their subsistence forms of agriculture. The exception is the Middle East, where high GDP and religious fundamentalism have combined to develop a more discerning market. The Middle East market is characterized, however, by seasonal demand and a marked preference for live animals.
    Generally, the best markets for goat meat (and by best I mean most profitable) exhibit the following characteristics:
    ¥ A developed economy with high per capita income.
    ¥ Significant concentrations of ethnic communities, in particular Islamic, Hispanic and Asian.
    ¥ Relatively well developed distribution systems allowing a reliable flow of product to the consumer.

  Graham Culliford is the managing partner of Goatex Group LLC and of Tasman Livest.These are the same people who are responsible for the Kiko breed.
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« Reply #143 on: April 21, 2012, 09:24:35 AM »

How to Choose a Culture

By Mary Jane Toth

Probably the most often asked question from new cheese makers is how to choose a culture. This can be a daunting task, but made much simpler when you have a basic understanding of how and why the cultures work. I hope you find the following information useful in choosing which cultures you need to be successful in your home cheese making endeavors.
It's important to understand why you need a culture. The purpose of the culture is to raise the acidity of the milk, which helps the rennet to set the cheese as well as aiding in preserving and developing the flavor during the aging process.
Milk is a perfect medium for good and bad bacteria. The culture inoculates the milk with the good type of bacteria, which multiply by consuming the lactose (milk sugar) in the milk. The result raises the acidity and once the good bacteria have taken hold in the milk they help prevent the bad bacteria form gaining a foothold. It's like a war between the good and bad. The good win the war when they can quickly outnumber the bad.

Basic information
Cultures can be broken into two types: mesophilic and thermophilic. Choosing either a thermophilic or mesophilic will depend on the type of cheese that you are going to make.
Mesophilic is a non-heat loving culture and is used for making cheeses that are not heated to more than 102°F. This is the most common and is used to make 90% of the variety of cheeses. This would include soft cheese, chévre, blue cheese, feta, cottage cheese, farmers cheese, Colby, cheddar, Camembert, brie, cultured buttermilk, and sour cream, etc.

Thermophilic is a heat loving culture and is used to make cheeses that can be heated to 130 degrees. This is used in most Italian cheeses such as Parmesan, provolone, mozzarella and Swiss, Monterey jack, etc. Yogurt is also made using a thermophilic culture.
Many varieties of these two types are available with names such as flora dancia, lactoccus bulgarius etc. No matter what types of fancy names are specific to that culture it will still fall into one of the two types of culture. This simply means that they can have different strains of bacteria, which can produce slight differences in taste. I have used several with results pretty much the same and with no big noticeable difference in taste in the end product. No matter what it's called, mesophilic will always be a mesophilic and the same is true of the thermophilic.

Freeze dried DVI or reculturable:
Which type of culture should you use?

Another question asked often is choosing between making a mother culture and using a DVI culture. All cheese cultures will come as a freeze-dried packet. Keep them frozen for long-term storage.
DVI Culture:

DVI stands for "direct vat inoculant"; this is added directly to the milk, usually at a rate of 1/8 teaspoon for each gallon of milk. The freeze-dried packet can be kept in the freezer for several months. I have been using one from my freezer that is about five years old. Just make sure to keep it double bagged in good freezer bags. The advantage to the DVI culture is that it can be kept in the freezer for long periods of time. It's very handy for the average home cheese maker who is not making cheese on a daily basis. DVI cultures are definitely my preference. They are more convenient and produce more consistent results. Even large cheese making plants now use them.

Reculturable or Mother culture:
Must first be cultured in sterile milk before it can be used. This type of culture can be recultured by saving some from the previous batch to make the next batch. This can be kept going for a long time but the biggest drawback is that it will only keep in the refrigerator for about three days or it can be frozen in cubes for about a month. This means that you will need to be diligent about reculturing it so that the live bacteria are kept viable. It will not last forever. If not properly recultured on a regular basis it can produce inconsistent results.

Chevre Spreadable Cheese
Chives & Garlic
1 lb. soft goat cheese
2 teaspoons dried chives or 2 tablespoons fresh chives
 1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
 Mix ingredients together. Shape into logs or balls. Refrigerate.
 French Onion
 1 lb. soft goat cheese
3 tablespoons dried minced onion
 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Reconstitute dried onion in warm water. Squeeze out excess water before measuring onions for this recipe. Mix ingredients together well and shape into logs or balls. Refrigerate.
Horseradish Cheddar Spread
8 oz. soft goat cheese
 2 pkgs. cheddar cheese powder
 1 teaspoon sugar
 4 teaspoons horseradish, squeeze out excess juice
Mix ingredients together. Store in a recycled margarine tub with a lid. Chill before serving. Makes a great party spread for crackers.
Quick Tip: The cheddar cheese powder used in this recipe comes from inexpensive boxed macaroni and cheese dinners. We use the cheese powder for seasoning cheese, and the macaroni is used in other dishes. Bulk food stores also carry a powdered cheddar cheese.

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« Reply #144 on: May 10, 2012, 09:56:57 AM »

Information about meat goat production in county is hard to come by as not many post any experiences about this side of goat raising.One of the main problems comes back to the same old problem of feeds.Should one be forced to supply their meat goats with off the shelf concentrates,no real drive for anyone wishing to enter this business.Concentrates can cost any producer 70% for their production costs and along with the added expences of doing business,not much if any monies is left for the producer.Mustang Sally has been unsuccessful in feeding local forages only as the goats lost too much body condition.For us forages alone will not work as some sort of base mix needs to be added.The problem of feed costs remains one of the biggest holdbacks for goat meat production and the need to formulate something other than off the shelf concentrates is still something some are experimenting with and maybe in time producers will find success.

We continue to breed our cross/hybrids as this is where we excell with our background knowledge and experience and we have always believed that cross/hybrids show the best promise for goat raising in county.Not to say that purebreeds should be overlooked, but in terms of capital outlay,cross/hybrids have the edge along with other traits that show promise for a tropical setting.At some point in time,every farm starts to product their own bloodline/s and builds up a quality herd.

It is really hard to guage the goat industry in county when so little information is ever posted.
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« Reply #145 on: May 12, 2012, 10:40:08 AM »

U.S. Dairy Goat Inventory
Holds Steady

By Alan Harman

American milk goat numbers were unchanged last year as the national goat herd fell 4%.
The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service says the U.S. all goat inventory was 2.86 million head on January 1 while milk goat numbers held at 360,000.
The data shows the breeding goat inventory fell 4% year-on-year to 2.38 million head. Does one year old and older, at 1.78 million head, were down 3% while market goats and kids fell 5% to 487,000 head.
The kid crop fell 2% last year to 1.88 million head.
Meat and all other goats dropped 4% to 2.36 million head, while Angora goats fell 15% to 146,000 head.
Mohair production was 865,000 pounds from 149,000 goats and kids clipped for an average weight per clip of 5.8 pounds. Mohair price was $4.12 a pound with a value of $3.56 million.
NASS obtained the figures through a random sample of producers. Survey procedures ensured that all goat producers, regardless of size, had a chance to be included. Large producers were sampled more heavily than small operations.
About 23,000 operators were contacted during the first half of January by mail, telephone and face-to-face personal interviews to report their inventories as of January 1 and 77% of the reports were usable.

Milk goat inventory by state




 2012 as
% of 2011











































































































New England1:





New Jersey:





New Mexico:





New York:





North Carolina:

























South Carolina:





South Dakota:






























West Virginia:















Other States2:





United States:





1 Includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
 2 Unpublished states.
Source: NASS

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« Reply #146 on: May 12, 2012, 10:43:35 AM »

Fish Oil Makes
Goat Cheese Healthier

By Alan Harman
Fish oil can be added to goat cheese to deliver high levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids without compromising taste or shelf life, University of Maine food scientists report.
A study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists, showed that fish oil delivers higher levels and more balanced proportions of omega-3 fatty acids compared to other sources such as flax and algal oil.
Fish oil oxidizes more quickly, making food fortification a challenge. Given the cost of purified fish oil, maximizing its incorporation efficiency is critical to the commercial viability of fortified cheese.
The Maine researchers said dairy has been shown to be a good matrix for fish oil fortification because it is commonly consumed and has unique properties that seem to protect fish oil.
Soft goat cheese has lower fat than other cheeses making it appealing for those looking for healthy flavorful food choices.
In the latest research, goat cheese was successfully fortified to deliver 127 mg omega-3 fatty acids per 28 g serving without affecting shelf life or consumer purchase intent.
There is a growing body of evidence that omega-3 fatty acids from fish, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are not only beneficial for general health and well-being, but also play a vital role in preventing chronic diseases.
EPA and DHA have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in type II diabetics, lower blood pressure, and improve arterial elasticity in patients at risk for cardiovascular disease. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to minimize the effects of stroke, improve cognition in the elderly, alleviate symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis, and reduce risk for osteoporosis.
Omega-3 fatty acid fortification is one of the fastest growing trends in the food industry with 42% of consumers making efforts to eat more omega-3 fatty acid rich foods.
The most common problem related to fish oil fortification is the "fishy" odor that accompanies lipid oxidation of unstable polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the presence of light, oxygen, and heat.
Another challenge of fortifying foods with omega-3 PUFA is that the low levels of fish oil shown to maintain product acceptability require consumers to eat greater quantities of fortified foods to meet recommended levels of PUFA consumption.
Due to their natural emulsion state, dairy products, such as yogurt, butter, milk, and sour cream, have been shown to be an excellent matrix for fish oil fortification.
Although several studies have investigated cheese as a vehicle for fish oil fortification, fish oil fortified cheeses are not available in the U.S. market.
Fish oil fortified cheddar cheese was produced by researchers in 2009, but "fishy" odors were detected by a trained descriptive panel at the highest fortification level, limiting fortification to low levels.
Other researchers added fish oil to a variety of dairy products, including soft cheeses, but found the samples were unacceptable to a trained panel after four weeks of refrigerated storage.
These studies each incorporated the fish oil after the cheese curd had formed, which may have contributed to the early onset of "fishy" flavor detected by trained panels.
The Maine researchers incorporated different levels of purified, liquid fish oil to soft goat cheese prior to curd formation to maximize delivery of EPA and DHA per serving without negatively affecting oxidative stability or consumer acceptance.
Researchers Brianna Hughes, Brian Perkins, Beth Calder and Denise Skonberg fortified soft goat cheese with four levels of purified fish oil—0, 60, 80, and 100 g fish oil per 3,600 g goat milk—prior to curd formation to deliver high levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per serving.
The cheese was partially vacuum-packed and stored at 35.6°F for four weeks, then evaluated for composition, EPA and DHA content, oxidative stability, color, pH, and consumer acceptability.
The fat content was significantly higher in the fortified treatments compared to the control, but was not significantly different among fortified treatments.
EPA and DHA contents were not significantly different among fortified samples, averaging 127 mg EPA and DHA per 28 g serving.
No significant lipid oxidation was detected by thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) or hexanal and propanal headspace analyses over the four-week refrigerated shelf-life study for any treatments.
The fortified cheeses were all liked "moderately" by consumers for overall acceptability, although the 60 g fortification level did rate significantly higher.
The control cheese and the 60 g fortification level had no significant differences in consumer purchase intent.
The researchers said the results show that fortification levels of up to 127 mg EPA and DHA per serving may be added to soft cheese without negatively affecting shelf life or consumer purchase intent.
Despite minor visible loss of fish oil to the whey fraction, which was not quantified, there were no significant differences in yield between the control and the fortified samples suggesting the addition of fish oil did not affect curd formation.
Moisture and fat content did not differ significantly among fortified treatments, but the fortified treatments differed significantly from the control.
Moisture content averaged 62.7% for fortified treatments and 66.2% for the control.
"The 3.5% (percentage point) lower moisture content of the fortified treatments was inversely proportional to the increase in fat due to the addition of the fish oil," the researchers reported.
Fat content ranged from 15% to 19.5% and was significantly higher in fortified samples than the control sample (15%) indicating that the fish oil was incorporated into the curd.
However, oil incorporation was limited above the 60 g fortification level. Fortified treatments, while not significantly different in fat content, did increase from 17.9% (lowest fortification level) to 19.5% (highest fortification level). Improving homogenization efficiency and/or reducing curd formation time may increase oil incorporation above 60 g.
In a study in 2009, Cheddar cheese was fortified with encapsulated fish oil after processing and no significant differences in moisture or fat content between control and fortified samples were found.
In contrast, this goat cheese study showed significant differences between control and fortified cheese for both moisture and fat content suggesting greater incorporation of fish oil into the cheese curd than was seen in other fortified cheese studies.
The researchers said that it can be concluded from the fat content and EPA and DHA levels that the lowest level of fortification, 60 g of added fish oil, was the only level efficiently incorporated into the cheese.
This is enough to provide a high level (about 127 mg) of omega-3 fatty acids per serving. The researchers say the delivery of higher fortification levels requires further investigation to maximize incorporation of the oil into the curd.
The processing and packaging methods used in this project were sufficient to limit the oxidation of both the goat cheese (seen by the control) and the fish oil (seen by the fortified treatments).
"The lack of oxidation during four-weeks of storage is encouraging, and longer shelf life tests are warranted to determine when and if oxidative changes occur in the highly fortified goat cheese," the researchers report.
They said no differences in cheese color were observed during cheese processing or throughout the shelf life study. Initial cheese color did not change appreciably as the level of fish oil increased.
Cheese for the consumer acceptability study was prepared in the same manner as the cheese prepared for the analytical study and at the same fortification levels.
Consumer testing was conducted at the University of Maine's Consumer Testing Center with 105 untrained participants from the community.
The four samples were coded and randomized before being presented to participants with 5 g cheese samples on plain wheat crackers and participants were given a cup of water to cleanse their palates between samples.
A questionnaire asked participants to indicate how often they ate goat cheese, as well as to rate the appearance, color, aroma, flavor, creaminess, and overall acceptability of each sample using the Hedonic Scale, the most widely used measure of food acceptability with a nine-point range from dislike extremely to like extremely.
The participants' purchase intent for each sample was rated with a five-point hedonic scale from definitely won't buy to definitely will buy.
The scores among treatments for appearance, color, and aroma did not show any significant differences, indicating consumers found the fish oil fortified samples to be as acceptable as the control sample for these three attributes.
Appearance and color scores averaged 7.5, while aroma scores were slightly lower with an average of 6.9, equal to "like moderately."
The control sample rated significantly higher for creaminess, taste, and overall acceptability when compared to the fortified samples, which may be attributed to the higher fat content of the fortified samples.
Scores for taste were similar to those for creaminess, with the control sample having significantly higher acceptability (7.5) than the fortified samples that had scores ranging from 6.7 to 7. Overall acceptability of the control averaged 7.6, followed by the 60 g fish oil treatment with a score of 7.2.
The higher fortification treatments, 80 g and 100 g added fish oil, averaged a score of 7.0 for overall acceptability but were significantly lower than the 60 g fish oil treatment for overall acceptance.
The majority of comments made by consumer panelists were about the tangy, sharp, acid flavor of the goat cheese and the pleasant smoothness of the texture, although a small number of panelists perceived oiliness in the fortified cheese. This may have been due to the greater amount of fat in the cheese, and not specifically the addition of fish oil.
The researchers say textural attributes could be easily modified with gums or by slight adjustments to cheese processing methods.
There were only five comments from the 105 participants that mentioned "fishy" or "seafood" aromas, flavors, or aftertastes even with the fortification levels of about 127 mg EPA and DHA per serving.
Despite the statistically significant differences in overall acceptability of the goat cheese treatments, the hedonic values among treatments were close with an average acceptability in the "like moderately" range (6.5 to 7.5).
This level of acceptance of the fortified cheese is seen as promising considering that 40% of participants "never or rarely" eat goat cheese, which may have slightly depressed some values.
Improved scores could be attained by using only panelists who commonly consume goat cheese or by adding flavor compounds to the cheese such as herbs and spices.
Of the 105 respondents, 74% indicated they "might" or "definitely" would purchase the cheese with the lowest level of fortification (60 g fish oil).
Similar purchase intent was observed for the control, which indicates that despite significant differences between the two for overall acceptability, 60 g of added fish oil may be a marketable level for fortification.
This conclusion is further supported by results that demonstrated no significant differences among fortified treatments for proximate composition, oxidative stability, or EPA and DHA content.
"Excellent Source" labeling has been proposed for foods containing at least 20% of the proposed RDI of 160 mg EPA and DHA, or 32 mg, per serving. If approved, the fortified goat cheese would qualify for the "Excellent Source" claim as it provides 79% of the proposed RDI for EPA and DHA.
The researchers said soft goat cheese was successfully fortified with fish oil yielding a product that contained about 127 mg EPA and DHA per 28 g serving—nearly four times the level required to meet the proposed "Excellent Source" guidelines.
Proximate composition, color, pH, and yield were not negatively affected by fish oil fortification of the cheese. In addition to partial vacuum packaging, the addition of fish oil to goat cheese prior to curd formation may have contributed to the enhanced oxidative stability of the fish oil observed in this study.
No change in oxidative stability was seen during four weeks of refrigerated storage and there was negligible difference in consumer purchase intent between fish oil fortified goat cheese and the control cheese.
"These results have positive implications for high-level fish oil fortification of dairy products," the researchers' report stated. "Important directions for future research include assessing fish oil fortification pre- and post-processing of dairy products, determining the upper threshold of fish oil incorporation into soft curd cheeses, and conducting longer shelf life studies to demonstrate commercial feasibility of fish oil fortified cheese."
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« Reply #147 on: June 08, 2012, 01:49:29 AM »

In another month we will be half through this year.The good news is that selected bloodlines are still being imported into the country and if you look at the information at hand would appear the Philippines in Asia has the best selected bloodlines with respect to goats.The main interest and direction still appears gearded towards dairy and with the selected bloodlines coming into the country,picture for the Philippines as a leader for dairy goat genetics looks brighter than ever with future possibilites for exporting Philippine genetics to other Asian countries.

With all the permits and paperwork in order,Mustang Sally will begin the processing of our farm produced goats for our frozen goat meat division to be sold through the local market,daily and our restaurant.We have enough bucks from different breeds and grade % to collect data on how best to produce young 6 month kids in the 30-40kg. range for our operations.In truth,more of a hit and miss with kgs. within the given time frame.Information collected from the processed carcasses will help us identify bucks and does with the greater potential to reaching our goals along with our yearly goat culling,future goat culls will be processed through the restaurant.At present we are running 3 lines,off the boers,off the anglo nubians and our experimentials (Genemaxer).

For goat meat producers,should one have an outlet that allows the producer to sell their own,more monies in your pocket not someone else.Daily cashflows really help support the overall operation which in turn helps any producer reach their goals.Meat goat producers need to use all tools at hand over those in the business of selling breeders due to the shear fact that goats going for meat have lesser values over those sold for breeding stock.In time the understanding of which forages show the best value at the different stages of a goats  development and the understanding that pelleted feed will show better value for any producer due to the fact the country has the luxury of harvesting surplus forages during the rainy season and pressing these forages into pellets which in turn saves any producer money.Goats by nature are selective,messy eaters and will thrash around their feeds only to eat what they select and make a mess with all the rest.Pellets are all the same and the goats cannot tell which to select and what to leave so they are apt to eat more of the pelleted feeds over the standard way of feeding.The cost of the pellet machine allows only those who can afford, not all is lost to those who are unable to buy such a machine as one could very well blend their own crumble as some do with hogs and use this instead of pellets as both require no heat for extruding in the process and molasses is used as the binder which attracts your goats to the feed with less waste.

Lets hope many more will consider goat farming as the future in livestock.Would be interesting to learn what has happened to island born offsprings out of the PL 480 program.

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« Reply #148 on: June 13, 2012, 09:03:18 AM »

Low-Lactose Dairy Calf Bred in China
CHINA - Scientists at a north China university say they have bred the world's first genetically-modified calf that will produce low-lactose milk in two years.

The calf, named "Lakes," was born on April 24 at a lab of Inner Mongolia Agricultural University. She is healthy and strong, lab professor Zhang Li said.

In May 2011, Professor Li and his research team extracted fetus fibroblasts from a Holstein cow that was 45 days pregnant and genetically engineered the fetus by transplanting an lactose dissolution enzyme into the cell.

The engineered fetus was then transplanted into the womb of a cow in July, and Lakes was born about nine months later, said Mr Li.

"The enzyme can dissolve lactose -- the main sugar found in dairy products -- into galactose or glucose to ease digestive disorders among the lactose-intolerant people," he said.

Lakes may therefore produce safer milk for lactose-intolerant people, who account for nearly 60 per cent of Chinese. Symptoms of the allergy range from rashes to diarrhea and other digestive disorders.

"Lakes, the calf, is a blessing for these people," said Mr Li. "She will produce low-lactose milk after she has delivered her first calf, hopefully at 25 months old."

The same test was done on 14 heads of dairy cattle last year and five calves were born in April.

Only three of them carried the lactose dissolution enzyme but Lakes was the only one that has survived, said Professor Zhou Huanmin, leader of the research team. "The other two died within 24 hours after birth."

note:so what does this all mean,well, should this prove to be true then dairy cattle will continue to dominate the worlds milk supply and dairy goats will no longer able to claim that goats milk is mothers nature best as these new cattle dairy breeds will be on par with goats milk and the worlds masses drink more cows milk over goats milk and those who are unable today to stomach cows milk will be able to do so and since the cattle business is larger than the dairy goat market the dairy goat business might remain as is,smaller commercial run family businesses with one spouse working off the farm to hep support the business.A niche market as it is today for dairy goats milk.Will be interesting to see how this all unfolds over the next 10 years and where dairy goats will be placed in the marketplace.
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« Reply #149 on: June 21, 2012, 11:13:07 AM »

This has been a very interesting past 2 weeks for Mustang Sally Farm.We have now reached the point in our operations that allows us to retail locally our own goat meat products through meat retail and Lynn"s & Edi"s Diner.Big Bucks goat  meat products is part of our marketing/trade mark package for our goat products.Meat goat producers must find reliable sound markets for the goats they produce as one would be hard pressed to make monies on raising meat goats sold at the farmgate going prices.

Past research and data collection on best breed for meat selection showed us the F2 boer,75 % showed the best promise for meat goats.Due to the different breeds we house we want a larger cross section for data collection on breeds,age,sex,under the same management practices.

First goats going to the slaughter rails will be out of our anglo lines.Example given from one goat out of the anglo breed, a 2 year old male,F2,75% intact male,uncut and never used for breeding showed a hot carcass weight with blood drained,head off and hide off and stomach removed, weighed in at 25.8kg.Not good as this is a 2 year old, concentrate fed under sound management practices.Our anglos are typed meat over dairy but the Anglo still lacks the muscular frames off the boer breed.We will collect data on different anglo percentages,age and sex then move into the bo-ang line then into our terminal triple crosses out of our boer lines.Our earlier data and research on the terminal F2 boers looks much more promising over the other breeds we house but the Anglo should not be ruled out as a meat breed or other crosses due to the fact people seem to enjoy the taste and flavor of the meat.Should you produce a quality product them customers will support your venture but people might lean more towards the boers.

The marketing slogan now used by Mustang Sally Farm,Big Bucks Goat Meat Products From Our Farmgate to Your Dinner Plate:

The key will come down to having total control through the food chain and allowing the producer more of the monies in his/her pockets not to another middleman.

Concentrate feeding has yet to be replaced by forages alone and this part of your operation will cost dearly.Some might believe its hard to make monies from raising meat goats but there is lots of room for expansion for all but in the beginning one has to understand it will cost you more than you first budgeted for and might take twice as long to get your venture launched and if one had outside income,this really helps to get your meat goat venture going and monies returning back to you the producer.

Meat goats may not have the star appeal that dairy goats in country hold but meat goats are another part of the total goat farming package and should be given serious consideration.

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