With the advent of the internet, many a goat dream has come true..........As you ahhhhhhhhhh over this one or OH MY GOSH over the that one. Making you scream "Road Trip" once you lay eyes on that little miracle you want to call your own.
As the frenzy continues, many will dream and plan for their own goats. It's always SOON you think, with your fingers crossed! Though the internet has made it easier to find that precious bundle of bahhhhhh, there are things to think about whether your selling or buying the goat manna flying through wireless highways of Facebook, etc.
So let's look a little closer at some points to consider when using the internet to make your goat dreams a reality.
Selling or buying, what was I thinking?
Remember, all that flash and fabulous doesn't necessarily mean you should sell them, or even keep them. But they look GORGEOUS you think! Well of course they do, who doesn't like flash on fur.........and babies, well their just so DARN CUTE. But is there quality and potential under all that color and splash? You can't let their uniqueness to outweigh your better judgment, no matter how much you love them already. Whether buying or selling, you need as much information as you can get. As a seller, be willing to provide answers to the buyers questions, as well as proof of it. As a buyer, you should be asking those questions that most experienced sellers already have answers for.
Ok, fine, you understand, but what do you need to consider when you're trying to decide what to do? Believe it or not, you start with the dam & sire, not the cute kid your cuddling with now or the one you just HAVE TO HAVE.
It's not just about babies............
However, we do look for culling faults. You know the obvious, multiple teats, teat deformities, etc. That's it. That is all we concentrate on for the first few days, that feeding and how's their poop! After a few days than the hard work starts. We can be more critical than the competition! But there is a reason for it. What we have learned over the years is making our decisions better and our choices harder. Period. We would have done things quite differently had we known then what we have learned since. Confused? Don't worry, it does get better.
The more you learn, the better choices you will make.
Always look to improve what you have.
The next week we spend time REALLY looking at our furry bottle babies. We constantly look for what we don't like, instead of looking at what we do like. This is an important step for us. We literally ignore what we like about each kid at this point and just concentrate on what we don't like. We want a clear picture of what we want to see improve over the remaining 3-5 weeks of our kid crop.
After two weeks, we look at the dam's udder. What do the rear attachments look like? Is there a nice arch where the escutcheon is (where the udder attaches to the back end, where the legs met, below the vulva)? Can we see the little cleft at the bottom of the udder and the defining line running up the udder showing a slight division of both sides (medial suspensory ligament)? How are her teats? Are they comfortable to milk? How big are the orifices' (teat openings)? The teats can change with the next freshening (or breeding), but the orifices won't. Do you see improvements by week four?
The remaining time we take, we spend seeing if the things we don't like are improving or not. THAN we start looking at what we like about the kids. We think about the dam's line and the sire's line. We've used the buck before, what does he throw? Are his kids all Kinder or does he throw some less than Kinder traits in his kids. Do we know enough about the milking history on both the sire's and dam's side? How far back does that history go? Has the doe been bred before? How did she handle the kidding? What does the sire bring to the table? The doe, what does she bring?
Great! You found a kid from a doe that gives tons of milk, YEAH! But think about this: Quantity of milk isn't as important as how the udder looks. We want to see how consistent the doe is when in milk and how long we can wait to see how she 'milks through', (how long she holds her lactation). How much does the doe need to eat to produce her milk. Who cares if the doe gives you a gallon, if you have to feed her a TON to do it. If she can't hold a lactation for a short period than who cares how much milk you get.
Now let's talk meat. Let's face it, this is something to consider about your Kinders whether you plan on eating them or not. Kinders are a dual purpose goat. Always breed for that combination and look for that in the goats you buy. You found a kid from a good meaty line, YEAH! He's just the cutest little fella you've ever laid eyes on. Slender little tyke isn't he? Skinny ninny is cute So he's ok because he comes from a good line right? If he doesn't have it, he most likely won't be consistent in giving it to your line. With bucklings, be careful! Here is where the best is needed, not just his papers or generation.
Take our Antares, he's a great Kinder buck When we bought him, we did so to improve our milk & udders. That's just what he will do. He's not the massive, muscled buck, like our Eros. Every year we have bucks from him, some have 'IT' and some don't. So, this is where another buck could help us out. Giving us the ability to see which combination of breeding gives us the best kid crop. We've said it before, breeding is a process, not a guarantee. The one buckling from Antares we kept intact is muscled! Aram is a sire to a nice meaty crop of kids, both doelings & bucklings, consistently. That's what you want in a buck!
We'll admit it, we're becoming hard on our kids. Judging them that is, we want to know what good things they can give to a line and what they may not improve on. We think about our past kiddings, what we liked about this buck with that doe. And ultimately we think, can we do better with our program. Of course we can! Having more than one buck gives you options. Bred the buck the does that give you the BEST crop of kids. Remember, breeding your goats is a process, not a guarantee.
Whether buying or selling............
Know the history of lines, both sire and dam.
Have they been used in breeding before? What kids have they produced? How many bucklings where stud quality, how many not?
Was kidding a breeze or did she need help? How many kids has she had in the past? How do and/or did the kids look? Have they been bred yet, if so, how do they look.
What does the dam's udder look like? How much milk the dam gives? How consistent is she? How long have her lactations been? How much feed does she need to produce like the rest of your does? What are her teats & orifices' like? Is she easy to milk or not? Ask questions about what the breeder likes about the udder, what they don't like. Breeders, tell potential buyers! If the udder is bad from the beginning, it won't improve.
PICTURES are important!!! Be willing to show or ask for them! See the dam's udder, the sire's scrotum. You want a rear shot of the udder and a side shot. Kids - the hardest picture manna there is, but do your best getting both sides, stance is important here. Rear shot of the kid, buckling or doeling. Shot from the front as well. How does everyone's legs look?
Finally, what do you as a breeder like about this breeding pair. Would you use this buck and doe combination again or would you rather try a different combination.
You may not be able to get all the information you want, the doe could be a first freshener. But, the more you have to tell a buyer and the more a buyer knows, the better it will be for both of you!
The internet has made it easier for both the buyer and seller to have access to a wide range of possibilities. But before you pay to ship, or plan that road trip, learn as much as you can. If your selling, give the buyer everything they need to make the right decision.
Finally, we honestly don't look at our kids thinking we're going to sell them or not. We look at our kids and think would we want to keep them or not. To us, that is the big picture and the kind of breeders we're trying to be. Will we be perfect? Probably not, no one can guarantee what a goat will grow to look like, but looking at their potential now, you can feel better about their potential later.
May all your goat dreams come true.............