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Topic: 4-H breeding stock?  (Read 2956 times)
taelir
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« on: August 20, 2012, 06:59:42 PM »

So, my oldest daughter (and a couple other kids in our 4-H club) are asking me to raise meat goats for showing at fair. I really don't know much about where to start with this for the kids. Some questions for the experienced folks:

-Anything in particular I should be looking for as far as breeding stock for my 4-H kids?

-When is the best time/age for the kids to take home their goat(s)? I'm assuming breeding schedules are the normal? (hoping so, anyway, that would sure be easier for them to kid around the same time as my fainters/cashmeres)

-Any recommendations on breeders that are good to check with? I don't plan on buying top-of-the-line stock (same as with our feeder cattle, we don't believe in overpaying for animals that will end up on the dinner table), but I don't want to end up with the 'bottom of the barrel' goats either. I know some folks are more open to working with 4-H'ers than others...thoughts?

-Does it make a difference whether the kids are showing FB Boers or percentage? My husband and I had already talked about breeding some Boer does to my fainter buck just for our own auction trips. Didn't know if we could or should allow any of the 4-H'ers to show the percentage animals or not.

-Anything else I should be keeping in mind? Feeding/containment are non-issues for us, we already have two other breeds of goats and we have no problem setting up a third pen.

Sorry for a bunch of stuff thrown out at once. Now that fair is finally over (insert a HUGE sigh of relief!) I can finally get my butt back over here and be social again...and all of this has been on my mind for a couple months. I've just had to wait to really get started on it  Grin
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 07:07:06 PM by taelir » Logged
imalilbirdie
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2012, 06:40:04 AM »

So, my oldest daughter (and a couple other kids in our 4-H club) are asking me to raise meat goats for showing at fair. I really don't know much about where to start with this for the kids. Some questions for the experienced folks:

-Anything in particular I should be looking for as far as breeding stock for my 4-H kids? What type of meat goats will you be raising?  The meat goat breeds are, Pygmy (mini goats), Boer, Myotonic, Kiko, Spanish, some folks consider the nubian as a meat goat, but I personally do not, Angora, Texmaster, Texas Genemaster, Savannah, Sako, Boki *aka Genemaster*, and many, many other cross breeds..**note, the texmaster, Texas Genemaster, Sako, and Boki (aka Genemaster) are true breeds and have registration accordingly**

-When is the best time/age for the kids to take home their goat(s)? I'm assuming breeding schedules are the normal? (hoping so, anyway, that would sure be easier for them to kid around the same time as my fainters/cashmeres) I don't like any kid to leave their mom until they are 4 months old, and properly weaned.  Some folks wean at 3 and 1/2 months old, but that extra 2 weeks really adds a lot to these meat goats...the whole rule of thumb is the density of their bone structure, and calcium is needed from the mom's milk to build a good bone structure.

-Any recommendations on breeders that are good to check with? I don't plan on buying top-of-the-line stock (same as with our feeder cattle, we don't believe in overpaying for animals that will end up on the dinner table), but I don't want to end up with the 'bottom of the barrel' goats either. I know some folks are more open to working with 4-H'ers than others...thoughts? Contact your 4H leaders and find out some of the local breeders who can be trusted and sell quality kids...some of these meat goats can get pretty darn expensive...savannah, and Kiko will cost a bundle, and the issue with those breeds are, you DO NOT disbud them, so normally they are not allowed in the show ring especially for 4H, I don't know that the angora is disbudded either.  Boers seem to be the biggest choice of most 4H meat goats.  If your 4H leaders can't lead you where you want to go, then check the associations for members close to you, and see if they participate in the 4H programs and sell quality kids for these youngsters.

-Does it make a difference whether the kids are showing FB Boers or percentage? My husband and I had already talked about breeding some Boer does to my fainter buck just for our own auction trips. Didn't know if we could or should allow any of the 4-H'ers to show the percentage animals or not. I am not sure, but I do believe they have classes for percentage and FB Boers.  It would determine what the percentage of the cross is as to how well they will do, most your judges in meat goats are Boer goat judges, and they will single out the Boer goat over say a spanish goat...weird I know, but bias is the name of the game with judges...

-Anything else I should be keeping in mind? Feeding/containment are non-issues for us, we already have two other breeds of goats and we have no problem setting up a third pen. The one thing to keep in mind, if you go with Boer goats, they are truly the weakest link of the goat breeds.  They are susceptible to all diseases and illness's, so you will have to keep constant watch and pay close attention to them.  That's their genetic makeup...Boers are a lot of work...but every one seems to really like them

Sorry for a bunch of stuff thrown out at once. Now that fair is finally over (insert a HUGE sigh of relief!) I can finally get my butt back over here and be social again...and all of this has been on my mind for a couple months. I've just had to wait to really get started on it  Grin Take your time in selection and breeders...it will benefit you greatly by doing so.  If you chose to go with Boer, there are issues within the boer goat genetics that I found undesirable...if you're breeding these goats for kids, select your bloodlines that do not throw head lock, shoulder lock or hip lock issues.
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~ Birdie ~
taelir
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2012, 12:24:23 PM »

Thanks Birdie! I actually AM a club leader...we just don't have a lot of good contacts in this area for meat goats. Our county is HORRIBLE at sharing good useable information sometimes. blech. I'll go look for some Boer associations and see if they have any good leads in the area. Ideally, I'd like to get away from whoever the 4-H'ers in this immediate area are using. I have a suspicion that they're all getting animals from the same place...and if there's one thing my husband (a past 4-H'er and a rancher) has taught me, it's never a bad idea to get your stock from 'new places'. LOL

I already raise myotonics. Our county fair seems to use only Boers (or percentage Boers maybe, I wouldn't know without asking). I guess what I meant by the first question is if there is anything I should be looking for conformation-wise or health-wise when selecting an animal. I just don't know much about conformation specifics/etc. Need to learn for sure! Good to know on the hip/shoulder/head lock issues. That definitely gives me some good questions to be asking!

I already planned on doing some breeding of my own using my fainter buck and a Boer doe for auction purposes. That should at least cut down on some of the typical Boer health issues, yes? My myotonics are SUCH easy keepers. Around here, none of the 4-H show goats are disbudded - their horns are just tipped. That makes me really happy - I like having the option of not needing to learn to disbud Cheesy

That helps a TON knowing about weaning age for meat goats...that 4 months is preferable. So ideally, we should be breeding in the fall so that the kids are ready to go to the 4-H'ers in late winter/early spring?

Yeah, my big fear was paying out the ear for quality breeding stock. I realize we'll be paying a fair amount anyhow (because in the end it'll be cheaper for us to breed our own show animals vs. buying every year), but....yeah. I have a hard time swallowing 400+ an animal.
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imalilbirdie
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2012, 02:32:13 PM »

When/If you select the Boer goat...just remember that the judge is only one persons opinion.  The likes that I have for Boer goat confirmation may not be what they want in the show ring...

with that said...here's what I like for my Boers to have in confirmation..
1. Long bodied
2. Thick barrel
3. Short neck
4. short legs
5. broad sturdy looking chest (having a short neck enhances the width of the chest)
6. Fantastic cannon muscling in the hind legs...(it helps to have them where they have to rear up on some thing to get to their hay--this really builds that cannon muscle in the hind legs)
7. The horn placement can not be outside the inner part of the corner of the eye...this is a visually displayed genetic that produces head lock kids)...I like a nice triangular head narrow at the horn base, going down to a nice proportioned face, with a narrow nose...this we found will not throw head lock genetics.
8.  As straight a back line as you can possibly get...although I did have a steep backed buck that put straight back lines on all his kids.
9. Nice roman nose features. (this I can live without if the buck is just right!! haha)

I do not like...
Long necks, long legs, narrow bodies/aka slender type bodies, or steep hips.

Now you watch...your Judge will want your Boer to look like a Nubian!!  Long necked and long legged.  Grin
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~ Birdie ~
dragonlair
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2012, 03:17:00 PM »

I had a 50% Boer wether (If I remember, the other 50% was Alpine). He cleaned up in the Boer show wether classes, showing against everything from 50% up to full and SA Boer wethers. Up here, the class was not broken down into age or %, wether was wether as long as they were at least 50% Boer, though all but 1 was under 12 months because it was a market class and they were all headed for freezer camp.
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DragonLair Farm and Kennel in Central Maine with Nubians, Lamanchas and Oberhasli. Of course, combinations of 2 or more breeds happens also.
taelir
Guest
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2012, 03:32:17 PM »

Hmm, dragon, that's really making me lean towards doing some percentage Boers using my fainter buck. He throws gorgeous kids, and with the myotonic muscling I wonder if I couldn't get some good looking animals for the 4-H'ers? Of course, I still plan on getting a Boer buck and keeping him as FAR away from my fainter girls as possible (read: cannot even see them) just so I can have some FB Boers too. lol

Birdie, I like your thoughts on confirmation. I'm still a TOTAL newbie on this stuff, but had a good time playing armchair quarterback at the fair show this year. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the judge loved the long legs so much! (and heard the same complaint from a few other clubs' parents). There was one wether that I thought was absolutely gorgeous...stocky as all get out, short and thick and loooooong. Go figure the judge said he was too short for his tastes. Who cares about height on meat animals? I care about the meat! haha

(but then again, this same judge's critiques on the beef animals was a fair bit off too. he was great with helping the kids in showmanship, but we'll see if he returns next year because I know a lot of people weren't too thrilled with him)

I will have to tell hubby about building up those cannon muscles! We'll just put their feeder up high and they won't get a choice lol.

I am making serious notes about the horn placement/head shape. Seems like all of the goats I saw this year had those huge blocky heads with really wide horn bases. I kept calling them all "meatheads". I really disliked the way that looks...maybe I'm just partial to my myotonics' and cashmeres' faces, but still. yikes.
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cornerstoneboer
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Northern Michigan (Near Cadillac or Traverse City)


WWW
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2012, 03:56:57 PM »

Just wanted to chime in a bit here. 
I sold wethers to fair kids for the first time in January of this year.  I don't sell my breeding stock, but did sell wethers at a reduced price to them.  I sold one for 125 and one for 85 (price did go by quality).  One won grand reserve champion and the other one shows tomorrow (he's an even better goat so I'm hoping for Grand Champion!) All the Market classes around here require dehorning of wethers, however the does and bucks (only allowed under 6 months) are horned if you choose in the meat breed classes.  We actually had a few Myotonics in classes both at my local fair and the fair where my first goat was shown.  Prices were down at the fair sales this year so far, the $80 goat sold for only $110 (and he got lucky and will be another breeders' son's showmanship goat)
Are you talking getting into breeding Boers/meat goats or just buying market weathers?
The judges here were about spot-on with what Birdie looks for in her goats.  The emphasis was on loin, depth , straight topline and chest.   One even specified that "you can't eat what is between the belly and the ground" so long legs weren't emphasized.
I have weaned all my wethers around 3 months of age (around 12-16 weeks, but usually closer to 12).  I plan my breedings for January babies as our fairs around here specifiy they should be under a year in some counties, but in more they say born after Jan 1st.
I'll add more later - dinner is calling in the oven!!!
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Northern Michigan (Near Cadillac or Traverse City)
Boers, Kikos, Myotonics (and their crosses)
F
imalilbirdie
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Posts: 19071


Texas


« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2012, 06:18:17 AM »

Taelir,
do a search on the internet and look at the first SA Boers brought here to the U.S.  They are short necked, short legged, stocky built animals.  The "American" Boer is long legged and long necked.  Can't stand what us Americans have done to these boers.

Not only that, the Boers can have super nasty dispositions and that mainly comes in your bucks...had one like that...my figures showed that my $1500 buck quickly ended up costing me $6800 with just ER trips for myself, Tadpole's ER trips to the Vet, torn up Does from head lock genetics, 5 live kids on the ground instead of 12 live kids on the ground out of 6 Does from head lock issues, and $2000 worth of torn up fencing/gates.  That boy went to slaughter!!  Ennobled or not, registered or not...Watch the dispositions of the bloodlines.  When a boer buck starts fighting...he will fight to the death...they never forget and they never forgive.  I seriously doubt I will ever own another Boer Buck, and I will possibly never own another Boer Doe. 

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~ Birdie ~
taelir
Guest
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2012, 10:23:08 PM »

cornerstone, we would like to get into breeding our own animals for fair. we figure since we're already raising/breeding other goats, it won't hurt us to get into the 4-H side of it (even if it's only for our own kids or our own club's kids). I know we'll have to buy kids for next year's fair because of breeding times, but we're hoping to go ahead and at least get a doe or two whenever we can, and then we'll be ready to breed for the following year.

(I highly doubt we'd find anyone willing to sell a bred doe. I wouldn't if it were me, so that's why I'm planning on having to breed for 2014)

birdie, I actually have relatives that are South African (some are even living there at the moment). I keep teasing them that they need to send me some good goats  Grin
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 10:49:58 AM by taelir » Logged
imalilbirdie
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Posts: 19071


Texas


« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2012, 05:46:25 AM »

Now there's your link to the greatest of the breed...snatch yourself some of those goats from Africa...  Grin Wink 
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~ Birdie ~
dragonlair
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2012, 11:02:51 AM »

The long legged mind set came from the fact that over all the Boers bred in the US are bigger in body, not just in width,  and need those longer legs to keep the body up and away from the brush and other "traps" commonly found on the ground that can injure sensitive testicles, udders and teats. Most the the USA is not as flat as South Africa, plus we have more browsing over here than they have over there. The goats need to reach higher places here than over there. Then there is the bigger is better mind set. Most breeds tend to grow in size once they hit US soil!

The thing with breeding for shows is you have to breed for what is popular and placing in the rings. If you don't then no one will buy your kids or breeding stock. Look how they have screwed up so many breeds of horses, dogs, cats, cattle, poultry ................ just because humans have an odd way of looking at animals. To heck with health and what millions of years of natural selection has made, humans have to rush in and "fix" breeds by making them worse! Roll Eyes Angry Sad

If feed prices keep going way up, I think your going to find a lot of bred does and very nice breeding stock for sale at cheap prices. If you can afford to feed the animals, give it a few months and you'll be able to buy top quality animals for dirt cheap prices.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 11:04:37 AM by dragonlair » Logged

DragonLair Farm and Kennel in Central Maine with Nubians, Lamanchas and Oberhasli. Of course, combinations of 2 or more breeds happens also.
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