Culling Guidelines

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Tango, Mar 11, 2005.

  1. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2002
    This is not a show question but a practical production question for meat goats. I was reading yesterday that the majority of meat goat production in the U.S. is haphazard. That certainly is true for my small herd though I don't have a commercial purpose at present. I might be entering a commercial purpose soon however so enjoyment will have to take a back seat to practical issues.

    From the standpoint of production obvioulsy the healthiest kids from the best producing does get a chance. In terms of conformation though what should one look for in a good meat producing line? Is quick growth a positive or negative? How about tall kids? I've seen a great deal of variation in Boer goats around Florida. Some look like small beef cattle, others look small and hardly any meatier than a dairy goat. I am not particular about show conformation; I won't be involved in that part of it, unless a specific trait is really a desirable market trait.

    Also in my experience, Boer goats tend to get fat on pellets. What is a good feed for meat prodcuing goats? During lactation what do ya'll feed? And also at what time do you wean the kids? Thanks in advance.
  2. okgoatgal2

    okgoatgal2 Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2002
    i'm not well versed on the meat goat market as yet, but i would think that a meatier goat would be more desireable than a dairy type animal, since they are for meat. i like the look of the shorter legs and stocky body, personally, and that is what i will breed for when i get my goats back.
    i'm all for feeding as natural as possible, and know from watching my x inlaws that given enough pasture and browse, you do not need to feed the meat goats unless you want faster gain. (faster turn-a-round) they buy in spring, sell in fall and make a small profit, feeding less than 1/2 lb of all grain per day. they feed a cheap baby beef or horse grain, i believe.
    i fed baby beef to my non-milking does and babies. dairy pellets and alfalfa pellets to milking does. the milkers also got to help clean up any baby beef left.

    i plan to breed in aug for jan kids and dec for may kids, simply so that i have milk year round and a rotating market for the meat kids. i will leave the jan babies on mama for nite, separate in am, milk in evening, and turn babies back. no bottlefeeding, no am milking (unless i have a heavy milker) the jan kids will be on mama for 2 weeks before i start separating. this will work with my work schedule (i'm a teacher) better than am milking. i did this one year and the kids grew great, and i had enough milk for family and hogs. will leave the kids w/mama until between 3 and 4 months old.

  3. NewlandNubians

    NewlandNubians Well-Known Member

    Jul 10, 2003
    I would go down to the auction yard and check out what is selling to see what is bringing the highest prices. I'm not suggesting you buy there, but you can see what style of goat is making the most money. For instance, my husband raises white faced sheep (dorsets). They commonly sell for higher than the black faced sheep (suffolk types) at the market.

    Uniformity is important at the market to bring highest prices. You want all of the kids you're selling to look exactly alike physically and color if possible.

    Go for goats that have really easy kidding. Try to avoid lines that are notorious for kidding problems. Parasite resistance would be good to seek also. I've read kikos are more parasite resistant than boers.

    As far as feeding goes, I would hope that you could feed them no grain. My husband's sheep never get feed and do fine in our harsh winters on just second cutting grass hay. I personally would steer clear of goats that "need" grain. Sounds to me like they're not very good production goats but maybe show goats. Of course this is based on our sheep and cattle management practices and not on my dairy goats. But if I were doing commercial meat goats, that's what I'd look for.

    Obviously, there is more to buying stock than what meets the eye <grin>. Cattle, sheep, goats, horses, chickens, they're all the same. Just because they "look" pretty, doesn't mean they'll ever amount to anything.

    Culling: My husband's sheep are culled based upon age (he looks at teeth) for the most part. The ewe lambs he retains are usually just the ones that are the largest so that they will hopefully lamb out and raise their lambs without any problems the following spring. I think this is a good method. Otherwise, you could keep good records and keep replacement kids out of does with traits you are wishing to keep in your herd.

    Just my opinions <grin>
  4. Gwendolyn

    Gwendolyn Domestic Diva

    May 10, 2002
    IN the heart of the Rustbelt NE OHIO
    This is a budget work sheet.

    This has a lot of guide lines and and what ethnic group preferes what. (if I remember correctly.)

    There are a few more sights that are a big help. if you'll pm me with an email address I'll send them in email. I'm finding it had to copy and paste out of my favorites to this forum. Gwendolyn
  5. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

    May 6, 2002
    North of Houston TX
    I am not particular about show conformation

    You should be. Be it dairy or meat, skeletal conformation is what is key. A long loined, nice rear legged goat is simply going to put more meat on in the right places to make the difference between average and high prices paid to you. Instead of critiqueing kids, you should critique your adults. How much milk does she have to feed the kids, easy mothering, a good attitude, raises fast growing kids that fit your market. If the dam herself is a poor doer, why would you want to keep her or to keep any kids out of her, sell the family as a group, and start with a better doe. Is your sire covering all the does, is he easy to deal with, is he throwing good kids with a high percentage of his kids worth breeding stock money, with mostly bucklings going for meat?

    You have to have a goal for your herd, and nobody can help you with that goal, because everyones meat market is different. Find your niche market, than look over your goats, if a goat is not moving you towards the goals of your herd, sell them.

    Nothing would help you more than attending a few judging confrences or shows, to see a large group of heavily loined, nice rumped, excellent rear legged animals. Until you have seen hundreds of goats, felt them, and compared them you can't see what you are needing. Never miss an opportunity to learn, and the show ring is a biggy.

    Yes show folks have way to much flesh on their goats, but the skeletal structure is the same, meat or fat.

    Most feed pellets 24/7/365 Boers were not brought to this country to be feed lotted like this, they are supposed to get these incredible yeilds in their kids on grass, poor grass, like where they are from. Use your pellets for calories for the fast growing kids in utero the last 50 days of pregnancy, for the dam while nursing the kids, and creep feed the kids on a pellet with a cocci med, but dry does, unused bucks should be fine on a nice pasture and some hay in the winter. Sadly most boer goats are short lived, overweight animals with very poor feet and legs, mostly because of their diet, way too much protein, way to many carbs, not enough calcium/minerals and good quality hay. Most Boer goat breeder's feed bills rival those of dairy goat folks, with no milk sales and less for their kid sales...what sense does that make? Vicki
  6. okiemom

    okiemom Well-Known Member

    May 12, 2002
    My two cents,

    Go vistit a big commericial operation and see what animals they have. That will go a long way in answering questions.

    Also, When you buy get from a herd that is raining them how you want to be manageing.

    there is HUGE difference in Show goats and meat goats. I would say it is a different world. Show goats can not preform on conditions that would support a meat goat herd. Their feed and medicine costs would break a normal person.

    A meat goat herd MUST be able to perform under range conditions w/ little inputs. It can be hard to find goats that are not prima donas. Goat breeders have done the industry harm by breeding for volume and not quality. I have found in my experience and by talking to others that the boer goats can tend to be very wormy and hard to keep in condition w/o lots of inputs.

    we are now having to be very strict in what goats we keep. If they cant survive w/o being wormed every 8 weeks and on plenty of browse then they get culled. i know they are not overstocked at less than one per ac. i believe it will take several years to get a herd that is a consistant producer. Heavy culling will have to be key.
  7. rhjacobi

    rhjacobi Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Hi Tango,

    We raise Boer breeding stock for the meat goat industry. This is an abridged form of what we look for.

    The very first thing that we look at are health charactoristics and compatibility in our area and our conditions. For example, we live in southern Tennessee and our market is mostly in the south east. What we first look for is continually improving the health of the goats we breed in what might be considered an adverse goat climate. To do anything else will cost you much time, labor and money and disatisfied costmers. If we can continually improve in this area then we move on to the next set of criteria. If we can't, that line is rejected without any consideration given to the other criteria.

    The next set of criteria is kidding. We want easy kidding (multiple births only) without problems and with strong and healthy kids. We also want rapid weight gains and the heaviest kids possible in 6 to 7 months. We also want this at the least costs, ie can they maximize their weight gain with mostly pasture.

    A picture is worth a thousand words. If you will surf the web for some sites that show the grading of goats, you want to learn how to tell when a goat would be graded prime. You only want to produce graded prime offspring - not fat.

    We feed a medicated kid grower feed from our local co-op to all the kids up to about a year old. We feed only enough to give them the extra nutrition needed while growing. This varies considerably depending upon the time of year and the conditions. They get more during the winter when the pastures aren't growing (For us, this is usually from about mid December to sometime in mid February). They get much less to very little when they can maximize growth on the pasture production. A good grower feed should indicate what amount should be fed to the kids. I usually find that our local feed rations suggest more than what is needed, except possibly when we we are feeding almost all hay. You want to maximize your weight as prime, not fat.

    You want the healthiest, the most possible production the easiest, the biggest prime the quickest, for the least cost and least maintenance possible. And, you want this to continually improve every year.

    I hope that this helps a little.

    Lynchburg, TN.

    P.S. Since we raise breeding stock, I have the luxury of knowing them all by name a lot like pets. Just about everything we sell is going somewhere to spend a long life producing kids for someone.