have the taste or internal microbes to digest forage in another area. These animals must be watched to ensure their body conditions stay strong and they are handling the parasites as they adapt. Sometimes hay or some feed is required to help them adjust, even if a producer believes there is enough forage. Additionally, just because there is forage it does not mean that it is carrying the necessary nutrition that a productive goat may need. Having forage tested, planting appropriate forage sources and/or bagged feed supplementation may be a standard management practice. Planning for breeding, kidding and being prepared for issues that can arise, providing a low stress environment, learning how to spot parasite issues and proactively manage a herd to prevent them are all challenges of managing a productive herd. Developing a management practice that works for your system takes time, observation and knowledge. Once a producer develops a management program that keeps their goats healthy and productive, things become simpler.

Oftentimes livestock producers talk about “improving ge- netics.” If you google this, you will be bombarded by numerous re-

search papers. A producer can start out with subpar genetics and through careful breeding can bring health, vitality, adaptability, and productivity back into a livestock operation. One good herd sire can accomplish this in a matter of a few years.

Selectively breeding and eliminating the weaker genetics is a form of “improving” genetics. Obviously, this is an important topic, but what does it mean to Spanish goats? Spanish goats are not in need of improvement, they have been thriving for centuries with little input from ranchers. However, there are a few practices that could threaten the Spa- nish goat genetics:

1) Over management; 2) Failure to cull out subpar genetics;

3) Breeder competitiveness for bigger more flush Spanish goats leads to overfeeding and taking them off of forage based production; 4) Meat goat production focusing on faster, larger gains in males and early maturing females takes the overall focus off of good low- input seedstock;

5) Failure to verify pure Spanish genetics in breeding programs; VERIFIED & CERTIFIED SPANISH GOAT BREEDERS

SGR Gold Certified Breeder

September 2020 | Goat Rancher


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