a preponderance of punctuation marks (reedrover) wrote,
a preponderance of punctuation marks

Goats: breeding goals and wherefores

I was recently asked by FireandEarth what my goat breeding goals are/were. The answer is simple to start with, then gets into detail.

+ Healthy kids with healthy parents
+ Conformation
+ Fiber quality
+ Personality
+ Colors
+ Females

Healthy kids with healthy parents is the obvious one. I want to breed goats that are healthy, hardy animals and that produce the same. I don't want a mom to dwindle down trying to carry or nurse twins. I don't want a buck who can't maintain condition throughout the fall when he's going nuts over the fence rather than eating.

Conformation is secondary to health. I want goats with solid bodies, good stances, strong horns, etc. so that they will be hardy in the environment, not prone to accidents, and breed well. I haven't been 100% successful on this, but I'm reasonably happy.

Fiber quality. Yes, well, Angoras are fiber animals. I'm breeding for handspinning. I'm buying animals with quality fiber, and breeding them together to try to produce even higher quality hair. So far, Jessie's line has had the best hair on the kids. Anna's kid fleece was incredible, as was Lerris's. Dot's wasn't too shabby either. Also, Dahlia and Mona both had highly-judged hair in the shows, and both of their kids from last year were pretty good too (though I sold Bernard, so only have Orchid to follow progress).

Personality. As drakken commented, I have pets, not livestock. As such, I prefer animals with low-key attitudes toward people, like Jared. I prefer animals that are basically friendly toward people, like Loki. Sashimi-freak is tolerated for her other qualities - good hair, great mother, excellent herd management - but is not what I want in the personality division. Fortunately, her son Scout took to being a bottle baby and is much more interested in people. Bernard and Apollo - both Loki's sons from last year - showed promise as kids for being very people-friendly.

Colors. Yes, I'm breeding for color. These are *colored* Angora goats, and that's the goal here. As I told Dad recently, I pay a lot of attention to the genetics of color in my herd. I buy for color, I breed for color, and I discuss the family trees when color isn't blooming the way I want it to. (As mentioned before, white is undesirable because white goats out of colored parents have neither the fine-ness of hair that genetic-white goats do, nor the natural colors that I want.)

Females. Females are easier to mix and match in the pastures, aren't quite so much trouble during the fall as males, and are the reproduction engines to play with genetics. Females also command a higher average price than males do, unless the male is drop-dead gorgeous and has the genetics that everyone wants. Also, twins are considered a desirable trait for people who are breeding and in it for the money.

Registered? Recorded?
Do I care about registration vs. records? Yes, sort of, but not rabidly. I want all of my kids to be in the records, but registration is really more of a point of pride than a marketing requirement for me. I'm really more interested in how the fleece spins up than getting all of my goats certified as Grade A Prime.

Registered Angoras are considered to meet all of the official published standards of whichever national organization you would like to discuss, and are the "blue blood" of the Angora goats in the USA. There is the American Angora Goat Breeders Association (AAGBA) for white Angoras. Then there are the Colored Angora Goat Breeders Association (CAGBA) and the American Colored Angora Goats Registry (ACAGR). On the other hand, recorded goats are simply on paper as existing, and that paperwork helps keep track of bloodlines for when a goat is inducted into a registry. The CAGBA-run registry is an open registry, which means that it still allows registration by inspection. A panel of judges evaluates the goat according to published criteria, and then passes (and registers) or fails (and maintains record only) the animal according to that criteria.

For those of you who are playing along with the home game, Anna and Alys were both brought before the judges the same year. They were judged against the CAGBA published breed standard. While Alys passed with honors, Anna did not pass registration. She started out with one "minimal" - no horns - and then was judged minimal on lock formation as well. Her fleece changes texture/curl/crimp three times from neck to tail, and is not tight curls anywhere but her neck. Remember that I mentioned Jessie's line (Anna, Lerris, Dot) is my preferred fleece? So she's not going to make it in the hall of fame. I'm quite ok with that.

Conclusions? Ideas?
So what do I have that "everyone wants?" - I have colored goats with good fleeces, some of whom come from registered stock. If you add all of the above discussion together and sort by all requirements first, Trillian and Constantine are both on top. If you want a girl, Trillian is it. She's female, solid black, recessive from a reverse badger mother, and a twin daughter of a twin. Unfortunately, she is a bit on the small side. So, if you judge by looks and size more than sex, Constantine is my number one hottest prospect this year. He is big (healthy! strong!) and he is a solid recessive black out of registered parents. He is the kind of animal that someone who is breeding for recessives is going to be looking to buy as a potential stud.
Tags: breeding, goats, vagma

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