That is one of the reasons we got into Kinder goats, their ‘so called’ feed conversion rate ratio. What?
So what does all that mean anyways? We don’t know about you, but simple is better right? So, we thought we would share our personal views on our does and what we expect from our milk makers.
Personally, what we want from a First freshener is simple. We want a FF that gives us 6-8 cups a day. We expect them to give us this amount for about 3 cups of grain per day. We milk twice a day. If a FF doesn’t give that, we try breeding her again to see if she will improve on production.
As a second freshener, we want 8-12 cups of milk a day. We only feed our SF’s around 4 cups of grain a day. Nice right? Of course! If a doe doesn’t meet our basic production, we think long and hard to decide whether we want to keep her in our breeding program. Does she have a perfect udder? Does she milk forever? There better be something to give us incentive to keep her.
Should everybody feed and milk our way? Of course not! Think about the overall appearance of the doe, how healthy is she being fed that grain amount. Does she tend to carry extra weight or is she under weight? Not all does are equal, watch your does and maintain their health; we’re just sharing our breeding goals and benchmarks. A doe that is a heavy producer will NEED more grain than ours do, but we are breeding for consistency, more than amounts. Do we want our does to produce large amounts of milk? Of course we do, within reason.
But think on this for a moment…….who cares if your doe gives you a gallon of milk a day if you have to feed them 16 cups of grain or more to do it! That’s what we look at. Volume, not weight, and how much grain does it take to do that.
Understand that some does are just more consistent than others. Some does will go through a ‘Peak Period’, meaning that they give lots of milk and then tapper down to their production amount. Some does can ‘Milk Through’, meaning they can milk over a long period of time, while others need to be bred every year to maintain milk production.
So what do we aim for overall? Well, we already talked about how much milk versus how much grain, but we also aim for does that don’t really Peak, they just gradually go up to their production amounts and maintain over a long period of time. We look for decent udders, udders that may need improvement are ok – but those that we can work with using the bucks we have. If a doe has a ton of problems with their udder, we don’t sell does or bred bucks from them PERIOD. Why give someone else our problem udders? If their udders are worse or no improvement was seen as a Second Freshener, they are culled, not sold. Kinders are far too important to us to risk giving them a bad reputation. They are a specialty breed that needs to continue as a dual purpose. Everyone should always look for ways to IMPROVE their lines.
So let’s talk about our does in particular. Honestly, we have some winners, but we have a few losers too.
Let’s look at our Naavah first. As a FF, she never peaked. She went up to 7 cups on average. Some days giving us up to 8 when they could go forage out back. As a SF, she is giving us 10 cups a day on average. She had moderate width in the back (nice arch) that did add a little more as a SF. She has larger teats, around three fingers length. Average orifices, easy to milk. An average udder, but definitely one we can work with using the bucks we have available to us. WIN!
How about Adal? Nice width on her rear attachments. Good solid side attachments. As a First Freshener, she also didn’t peak, but gradually went up to 7-8 cups a day on 3 cups of grain, averaging 7.5 cups. She is EASY to milk, and we mean easy! She has HUGE orifices! Talk about WIN!
Davi. Well there is a huge smile when we think of her!! Antares improved on her dam’s side attachments. Her udder is up tighter than her dam’s udder was. Her Medial Suspensory Ligaments are a dream! As a First Freshener, she has been producing higher than our basic goals. Her first month we have seen 8-9.5 cups of milk a day. She is peaking slightly, so we will wait to see that she levels out at. She is maintaining well on 3 cups of grain a day. WIN!
Now let’s talk Leyla. As a First Freshener, she had hardly any Medial Suspensory Ligaments – we could barely feel a cleft in the floor of her udder. Far more upside down ‘V’ to her rear attachment than arch. Her production got up to 5 cups a day, but only when fed 4 cups of grain a day. Her production fell dramatically after only 5 months of milking. That is why we wouldn’t sell a doe or intact buck from Leyla. But never judge a doe’s udder until you see how her udder looks as a Second Freshener. As a Second Freshener we found more problems. Zero Medial Suspendory Ligament, no side attachments. Her udder hangs down level to her hocks. Her production has been decent this time, but with her udder problems we will never be able to sell a doe or intact buck out of her. However, we will breed her again and try to get a doe out of her. We will keep the doe until she is old enough to breed and see if we did improve on her line. As a Third Freshener, her udder will most likely completely collapse. She will be a cull. NOT a win, but it does happen.
Playing with genetics is like the lottery, sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. Simply put, just look to improve your herd. Be picky about what bucks you use, don’t settle when it comes to bucks and definitely ask questions!!! Be honest about your losses as you would your wins. Don’t just buy because their close or cheap, but the best you can – it will be worth it!
When we have a lose, it’s not easy making the call to cull. But culling is in fact a part of everyone’s breeding program or at least should be. Why not sell her? Honestly, we thought about it, but we can’t do that. How can we add problems to someone else’s herd? Would you want to buy a doe with a bad udder AND bad milking production? No? Well that is why our Leyla is marked as a cull now and we won’t sell her. A hard call to make, but the only call we could make.