possible to have closed herd?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by outofmire, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    How many bucks would you need to have a closed herd? In other words, I want to invest in a starter herd and then not have to buy anymore. I guess this is also a question of how much linebreeding/inbreeding you can get away with. How do you guys handle this? I don't like selling anything, so selling goats for the money to replace my buck every so often doesn't sound remotely appealing to me. I'd rather eat my culls than sell them. Yet I'm looking for a way to raise my own herd replacements without having to invest in more stock every so often. Is this even possible?

    Any ideas?

    Shae
     
  2. okgoatgal2

    okgoatgal2 Well-Known Member

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    artificial insemination from bucks that are totally unrelated to your does.
     

  3. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    I have been told two bucks by one breeder, but I'm not sure her herd was as closed as I planned mine to be. I would say three to be safe. More if you have room for them. More bloodlines is usually better, as long as you go for quality, and make sure your starter animals are all really sound and healthy. You may have to cull heavily at some point in time, too.

    Kathleen
     
  4. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    AI is a good idea -- wish I could use it. But it does have some drawbacks. You, or someone in your area, has to have a nitrogen tank, and training in AI. The buck you want to use has to be collected (as of right now, as far as I know, no one is collecting Kinder bucks). And, the straws have to be transported from buck to doe somehow. Now, none of these are at present insurmountable problems, but I'm not so sure about the future. That's one reason why I have goats, and chickens and etc., because the future seems very uncertain. So personally, I would really like to have a complete herd (closed herd with sufficient bloodlines to avoid inbreeding for many years) on my property. I don't know if that's where outofmire is coming from, also, but that's where I'm coming from. Right now I only have one buck and four does who aren't related to him -- need to get another buck asap.

    Kathleen
     
  5. livestockmom

    livestockmom Well-Known Member

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    There are so many definitions for what a closed herd means to different people...
    a closed herd means not taking them to any shows and such too, right? or does this vary, depending on what someone's definition is?
     
  6. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    by closed herd, I am talking about what Kathleen was talking about.......having a self contained herd with a sufficient gene pool to maintain health and vigor for as long as possible.

    But also since I don't have the space for a large herd at this time, I'm also looking for creative ways to prolong the use of one buck. AI isn't feasible for us. So far the only other idea I've had is to eat all the progeny of close inbreeding. (hope that doesn't offend anyone) That would keep my does in milk without introducing a lot of potentially weaker stock in the herd.

    Assuming you start with excellent stock, how long CAN you get by with inbreeding before needing new blood?

    Anyone know how long bucks live/last anyway?

    Thanks,
    Shae
     
  7. livestockmom

    livestockmom Well-Known Member

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    oh, I gotcha, sorry Shae...I see what you mean now...
    (when I read closed herd, I thought of the question I had about closed herds...I thought it was what you are talking about, no outside exposure, but yet I see closed herds at shows, there must be lots of definitions?)
     
  8. Ellie5

    Ellie5 Well-Known Member

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    My vet's definition of a closed herd is no new goats coming into my herd, and no outside exposure at shows, ect (for health reasons). I am shooting for a closed herd also. I currently have 2 bucks, but will have to get a third before I can complete my plans for a closed herd. I figure I can hold out for quite a few years/generations without too much inbreeding/linebreeding by using 3 bucks-by then I'll probably start another hobby!!!LOL Start out with good stock and cull as needed-bon apetite!

    So I'm curious now-is there an official definition of what a closed herd is?
     
  9. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    closed anything usually means nothing in, nothing out.
     
  10. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    So how many years do you think you go with 3 bucks? Just wondering. And how much inbreeding will you allow?

    Shae
     
  11. Ellie5

    Ellie5 Well-Known Member

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    Well, I guess the answer to your question really depends on how many goats you can sustain or want to sustain, and what you are raising them for, and how hungry you might be for goat.

    I'm probably getting in WAY over my head, but here goes:
    Average life expectancy of a goat is 12 years, breedeable years is approx. 8(this is argueable, of course), mostly all does were born in these kiddings (don't we all wish!), and all animals are the confirmation we were looking for. Conceivably:


    year 1:
    3 does bred to bk #1 Could theoretically give us 9 kids(assuming does).
    Year2:
    9 kids bred to bk #2 could theoretically give us 27 kids(assuming does)
    3 original does bred to bk #1 again 9 more kids

    Year3:
    27 kids bred to bk #3 could theoretically give us 81 kids
    9 kids bred to bk #2 gives another 27 kids
    3 original does bred to bk #1 again could give us 9 kids

    That's 117 kids in 3 years.

    Year 4:
    Start cycle over with 3 original does bred to buck #2, continue cycle using the same format only switching bucks.

    This cycle could actually go on for the 8 years, in the 9th year switch bucks, retire 1st buck, switch with children of bk #s 2 & 3, start cycle again.

    This cycle could go on for another 8 years, then start breeding grandchildren of the original bucks, and 2nd & 3rd cousins to each other. This cycle could go on for 8 years, then switch the grandchildren again. At this stage all genetics have been crossed. So, you pick great grandchildren of bk #1 and breed back to him. (Remember-culls for the table it doesn't matter who you breed to, really).

    Of course this is a perfect example of what I'd LIKE to happen. Not in the real world. Three generations would bring us to well over 24 years alone of breeders with no crossing of bloodlines-provided you stay with the original buck chosen for any set of does.

    I think it really depends on what you are doing with your goats, how many you start out with, what percentage does/bucklings you get, ect. Aseasonal breeders would certainly help.

    Now, since I confused myself, can someone tell me if this makes sense? LOL Like I said, I'm way over my head.
     
  12. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    Can a buck be productive for as long as 8 years? I was wondering about that.

    I've printed out your post. I'm going to have to think about this, but that was the kind of info I was looking for. I wish I could visualize better what things look like after that first 8 yrs cycle.....like how much inbreeding is going on.
     
  13. Ed K

    Ed K Well-Known Member

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    The attached article was written for sheep but it should be applicable to goats as well. I think the answer this article provides to your question is that you could start smaller and go longer than most people would think without trouble

    http://www.sheepmagazine.com/issues/01_02_03.html#article1

    hope this helps
     
  14. debitaber

    debitaber Well-Known Member

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    I have a closed herd. I have 4 bucks. It works great.
     
  15. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    everyone is different in everything, if i remember correctly , withthe lifespans of goats , being 12-14 years ( i have an 8 yo bred doe right now)
    you could concievable with 3-4 bucks and a starter line of 6 completely unrelated does do just fine
     
  16. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the link, Ed. That will help me with my current problem which is the need to "stretch" the one buck I have since I don't have the resources for a large, sustainable, herd.

    But, since we're on the subject of having as "sustainable" (for lack of a better word) a herd as possible, I'm really really curious how you all do it with just 3-4. Do you still have to replace all your bucks every 20-30 years or so, or at least do you forsee having to do that.

    What are your breeding plans? Do any more of you have it sortof planned like Ellie does? I'd like to hear it. Or can you point me in the right direction to get this type of info.

    Thanks!
     
  17. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    i dont have a closed herd, personally i swap my buck out ever 2 years and plan accordingly,
    right now the buck we have , though he is only 8 months old is already pre planned for a swap from another herd (reg buck for reg buck of same quality)
    personally i wouldnt have a closed herd , unless i had goats of such exceptional genetics that any type of outcrossing could only harm them

    i think carefull planning a person with a decent herd can manage to swap a good buck with another breeder within reasonable distance , meet halfway or similar,
    plus in springtime the cost of buck kids is such that its still i dont see at this point as being reasonable to try for a closed herd

    just my opinion
    Beth
     
  18. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    Nice Link.
    Interesting to about the Barbados Blacbellies as I use to raise them and eat them (they are prevelent around here and I did not realize they were so rare).

    As far as a closed herd goes, I have always liked the idea and generally stay as closed as possible. It keeps disease from coming in and if you are a fan of playing with genetics, it can be great fun. My cow herd stays as closed as possible and does quiet fine bringing top dollar at the market.

    I plan to eventually close my goat herd too when I get the genetics I want. I have enough space to do it and already have some very good stock.
     
  19. Ellie5

    Ellie5 Well-Known Member

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    Ditto on the diseases coming in. It is far easier to test each individual goat coming into your herd when it is small/minimal and you are just beginning, than test/cull/test/cull for years until you've eradicated any diseases from your large herd &/or premisis-or worse, having the state come in & destroy your entire herd, even your pets, because of one of the wasting diseases. It happens & can be a reality-I kid you not.

    Granted, this method required money up front, but it is important to me & those were my choices. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that my animals are not carriers of the major goat diseases.

    That is the reason for my wanting a closed herd. Overcautious? Perhaps. But that is my opinion & I sure do love my goats a whole bunch & it would kill me to have to destroy one or all for the lack of my preventative measures.

    Just my HO.
     
  20. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    Thanks again for the link, Ed. It's great. I've printed it out and I had to read it several times, but it's helping me.