Thursday, October 13, 2016

Take-aways From Buck Collections

And I'm not talking about the smell! I am always trying to learn from other goat people. Buck (semen) collection day has yielded a golden tidbit each of the last two years. I may may have to go next year even if I don't have a buck to collect just to listen.

Last year, I overheard that a good goat is 80% management, 20% genetics. I'm not sure it's that great a difference, but management is crucial. If the genetics isn't there, you're never going to make a decent goat into a great goat just by management. But you can certainly turn a great goat into something very bad with poor management.

By management, I mostly mean forage, feed, and parasite control. I have had the opportunity to compare siblings who were raised here versus some raised elsewhere. Don't get me wrong, I am not bashing the new owners, most of those goats looked fine. They just could be more.

Our goats ate well and looked good before I listened to this advice at buck collections. This year we decided to breakdown and just give them the best forages at all times. They go through a lot of peanut hay and alfalfa and have never looked more beautiful.

Another thing to keep in mind, kids are programmed to grow more rapidly than adults. If you aren't giving the kids all the food they need to maximize growth in those high-growth months, they cannot reach their full potential.  Don't forget regular coccidia management and worming. Kids can be carrying a case that is affecting growth without symptoms.

This year's take-away was "The difference between a good goat and a great goat is length". Obviously, that's a bit of a generalization but if you take two structurally sound animals and put them next to each other in the show ring, the long one seems to win most of the time.  I'm going to keep breeding my limousines!

Finally, this wasn't a take-away from collections, but something I learned this year after feeling rather kicked in the teeth by an "expert", trust yourself and your vision. Your vision for your herd may be different than that person's. You may prioritize different things. That's not wrong, just different. 

I have since had several judges validate my vision by placing our animals well at shows. I am angry with myself for allowing the expert to cause a hiccup in our plans that lead to some decisions we may not have made otherwise. I've learned my lesson.

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