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  • 6 Post By Alice In TX/MO
  • 4 Post By yarrow
  • 3 Post By KSALguy
  • 3 Post By Caprice Acres
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Old 06/03/13, 03:03 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: NY
Posts: 36
Closed herd

What is your definition of a closed herd?
I have done business with several and each of them have given me a different meaning.
If you have a truly closed herd, how do you not eventually inbreed?
Looking forward to your comments.
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Old 06/03/13, 03:16 PM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: W NY
Posts: 1,467
I'd love an answer too, I am starting a mini mancha herd, so I need to bring in new ones of both LM and ND to get the foundation started. I have three does (LM) and have used one buck and getting another in a few months. I'm trying to figure out how many I need to keep the line breeding to a minimum.

I visited a nice farm, and was about to buy a beautiful, blue eyed, polled, tricolored buckling one day.
That is, until the owner picked him up and said "I need to lance this CL before you leave with him " ! YIKES!!!!

He said it was impossible to keep it at bay. I sure want to try!
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Old 06/03/13, 03:55 PM
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Northeast, Florida
Posts: 1,033
I have a "closed herd" of rats for my colony. I happen to have a lot of males to choose from, but you can do a few generations with only a couple unrelated males, especially if you have mostly unrelated females to begin with. Eventually you are crossing the same lines, but you really can get a lot of generations before you're doing a true inbreeding, it just takes a lot of attention to breeding and planning.
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Old 06/03/13, 04:39 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: NY
Posts: 36
Can you really call it a "closed herd" if you bring in outside bucks?
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Old 06/03/13, 04:42 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,984
I'm not sure what a closed herd would be defined by.

I don't hardly believe there are very many truly closed herds where they don't even use any outside herd sires and rely totally on AI, but there may be a few.

The main thing I would look for would be how many of the does have the herd name rather than somebody elses herd name, and how far back? That would give you an idea as to whether they buy a lot of outside does.

By far showing is the best route for herds to be infected with various goat germs, so if you can find a herd that doesn't show that is a help.
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Old 06/03/13, 04:55 PM
Alice In TX/MO's Avatar
More dharma, less drama.
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Texas Coastal Bend/S. Missouri
Posts: 30,594
I haven't brought in a doe in years. I have had to bring in a buck or two.

That's as closed as I can make it.

You could have a COMPLETELY closed herd if you do artificial insemination.

Also, biosecurity is important. No outside folks walking in your goat areas with infectious organisms on their shoes!
Pony, nehimama, myheaven and 3 others like this.
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Old 06/03/13, 04:59 PM
yarrow's Avatar
Ages Ago Acres Nubians
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: MO Ozarks
Posts: 2,609
hmmm...closed??? thinking about it.. I guess we are pretty darn close to *closed*... I rarely (as in YEARS between) bring in any new goats.. ALL of those spend at least 6 months in isolation.. away from my other goats..test when they arrive.. test again before they join the doe herd.. I will every 4 or 5 years buy a new jr. herd sire.. (always from a trusted/tested herd).. my bucks NEVER get out with my does for more then the few minutes it takes to breed).. buck is taken out brought to breeding pen.. we stand and witness the breeding.. buck goes back to fort bucklingham...

For ME.. more important then a closed herd is BIO-SECURITY... NO one goes past the side fence into my adult doe lot.. we'll bring dams up for kid buyers to look at... but no one ever walks in among them.. I offer to meet folks a lot.. (not only does it save them 80 or so miles of curvy ozark roads.. but bigger for me.. it cuts down the number of kid buyers bringing possible germs...We NEVER show (we don't even go to shows just to watch, nor to the fair and walk the barns and above all NEVER to a sales barn.. just one of my big no-nos.. stay away from germ-y places..again, I think these place have as big of a chance for bringing something home, as bringing in new stock is)...

(esp. since I never bought from anyone I didn't know/trust their herd's health) I'm at the point now, where I really think we can truly close the herd down (as in bringing in no more does ever.. and very possibly never again buying a buckling.. have semen..can Ai instead)...

susie, mo ozarks
"My darling girl, when are you going to understand that "normal" is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage."
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Old 06/03/13, 06:29 PM
KSALguy's Avatar
Lost in the Wiregrass
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: S.E.Alabama
Posts: 8,818
if you were to start with a wide enough gene pool in your doe herd with as little or no relation between any of the original does, as well as the original buck(s) you can actually go for quite a while if not indefinatly with little to no outside blood. there are several rolling breeding plans that have been used for breeding with a limited gene pool,

ALL of the breeds known today were CREATED from first making strateagic cross breeds, then intensively inbreeding/line breeding to set type and form as well as any other breed specific trait. Inbreeding/Line breeding is NOT the devil or something to fear. its a TOOL. just like any other tool you have in the tool box like hammers and saws. they can be used poorly and cause smashed thumbs and other injurys or they can be used properly and can create something amazing.

if you were to start with say 5-8 un related does of the best quality and two bucks (although it could be done with one also) you can then breed with a goal in mind and not have to bring in any new blood for quite a long time, by inbreeding and line breeding you can find all the issues hidden in each pool and cull it out, breeding the best possible each time, improveing and developing your own line. now after some breeding and selecting you may find that the original pool was not the best in one area or another and if your not able to cull it out with out drastically hurting the whole project you may need to bring in another buckling that can correct that issue. but they will also bring in a whole new deck of playing cards to sort through, in which case I would possibly even consider a single mateing to a clean secure known animal via AI or driveway breeding of sorts and then use a buckling from THAT breeding to lessen the over all impact of the extra playing cards.
nehimama, Backfourty,MI. and aart like this.
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Old 06/03/13, 07:38 PM
Caprice Acres's Avatar
AKA "mygoat"
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: MI
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A closed herd is one who doesn't move animals in or expose their herd to outside animals (shows etc), usually for longer lengths of time - years. Definitions vary, but that's what I know from biosecurity terms.

A closed her can be very hard to do 'right'. I think most people are going backwards in their quality when they try to do a closed herd, but some do it properly or just get lucky. The problem is being objective in your selection. Sometimes the best kids are related to everything else... what do you do then? Do you keep a lower quality but less related animal? I know inbreeding depression starts to occur around 12.5% inbred, so I try to avoid anything higher than that, personally.

You're missing out on a lot of 'top of the line' animals (bucks especially) when choosing to become a closed herd. To maximize improvement, one would swap out bucks for the newest and best young bucks every few years, selecting from breeding values and production traits.

The trick is using biosecurity well, and not being afraid of 'opening' the herd if need be. If you cannot fix a problem in your herd with your current lines, you'll get nowhere if you don't open the herd. Through proper biosecurity methods, risks can be made pretty slim.
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"Breed the best, eat the rest"

Caprice Acres

Small herd of French and American Alpines. CAE, Johnes neg yearly. CL abscess free herd. ADGA plus herd (LA, DHIR, DNA)
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Old 06/03/13, 09:22 PM
SkeeterBlue's Avatar  
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: VA
Posts: 271
You can have diversity in a closed herb through AI. I plan on having a closed herd at some point. Right now I only own 3 does and 1 buck so that is very small. But I can always keep the best does and AI from terrific lines for fairly cheap. I have nightmares about CL and CAE and Johnes. I will be testing mine yearly even though they all came from tested herds.
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Old 06/03/13, 10:41 PM
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 2,524
google images line breeding chart and you will see several versions of how to take one male and two females to create line bred stock. I know Salatin was happy with the results of line breeding for his 3 starter rabbits 20+ years ago and still in operation. Does the same thing apply to goats? I can't say.
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Old 06/04/13, 08:26 AM
aka avdpas77
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: central Missouri
Posts: 3,432
I don't raise goats yet, but I have had a lot of experience with other animals. I think I would adhere mostly to Yarrows philosophy.

Me and KSAL (whom I admire greatly) differ substantially, though, on creating a healthy herd. The culling process he talks about is excellent, but since many people get their goats from a closed herd, and possibly a single source, they are somewhat inbred in the first place, and then one inbreeds them more in their own herd. It is much harder to get quality animals by starting with widely different strains, but the animals one does get will be have much more health and vigor. I used to raise show animals, they were line bred and from original stock that was related even they they came from different breeders. The animals I have now, from widely unrelated stock (and bred cross strain) are much more healthy, vigorous, fertile, and problem free.

There is a great problem with this however, in that ones first animals are coming from several sources, and therefore the chance that one might carry problems is magnified. Still, the isolation hassle is worth it, although it takes a lot of trouble and effort to get going. Once one has, though, the breeder is amply rewarded. My animals simply do not get sick any more, not even with minor problems. Yes, there is always the chance they will pick up something form related wild animals, but between my husbandry methods, and my strict selection and isolation of original stock, it has not happened thus far.

I am a terrific fan of cross breeding and it has proved out well for me. Of course it would never work for show stock, and dairy people might have more does to cull for poor production, but as I will be raising meat goats, I will stick with it.
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Last edited by o&itw; 06/05/13 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 06/04/13, 04:48 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,984
I dont' show or anything like that but I do buy and use outside bucks.

As long as you just let the buck breed the doe once or twice and don't pen them your risk of transmitting stuff is fairly limited.
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Old 06/04/13, 08:34 PM
KSALguy's Avatar
Lost in the Wiregrass
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: S.E.Alabama
Posts: 8,818
personally I love cross breeding, and diversity, but I relize the tools available and how to use them for all of their abilities,
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