legs (heart girth) and the circumference of body at the last rib (belly girth). All other measurements had no correlation, i.e., they could not predict performance of offspring (no matter what any Show Ring Judge says). Obviously, the larger these traits, the

larger the animal. Experienced goat owners have come to recognize that their largest ani- mals are likely to be their most productive animals. A great majority of goat owners do not collect litter weaning weight; simply put, they don’t

take the time needed to

gather/record this useful data. Contrarily, most owners do keep reproductive perform- ance data such as breeding dates, kidding dates, size and sex of litter, survival rates, etc. If they don’t know which does were covered by which bucks, they cannot gener- ate pedigree records and thus cannot identify which ‘families’ within the herd are superior performers and thus worth keeping. When I was managing a herd post-re- tirement 1993-2004, I used a notebook con- taining a single page for each of the 50 Spanish does and their progeny. The individ- ual doe was identified by her ear tag number (different colors for different years of birth). Each page showed a three-generation pedi- gree of the doe. I also noted her birthweight

and her calculated 90-day weaning weight (I weighed them between 80-100 days). I noted the date of first exposure to known bucks; if I saw her bred, I so noted the date and began to prepare a separate sheet showing expected kidding dates for the herd. The doe’s page also had space for noting vac-

cinations, sickness/treatment, kidding dates, litter size and weights and weaning dates. I tabulated her adjusted litter weaning weight figures for each lactation. Finally, there was also space to note her date of de- parture from the herd and the reason (failure to breed, poor mothering ability, poor kid

October 2021 | Goat Rancher


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