Our Breeding Direction

Our Breeding Direction

BREEDING DIRECTION

decisions and goals

If you’ve read my page on Getting Started you already know that the first goats I brought home were grade – one being a Nubian doeling, and the other a mature Alpine doe (my Larissa pictured on our home page).  While their presence in my life was as valued as any of the goats I have now, I quickly realized that I had to reconcile my aversion to being a breeder (my impression of a breeder was shaped by the puppy mills in our state) with the fact that if I wanted milk, I was going to have to breed them.  And along with the milk comes kids, kids that I am responsible for.

And sure, I’d love to keep all the kids, grade or purebred.  I’d do it in a heart beat if I was assured that the facilities, finances, and manpower to care for them would grow proportionately.  But of course eventually things would get to a point that keeping more animals would be inhumane rather than humane.  So if all the kids can’t stay, I need them to have qualities that people would not only want, but would truly value.

This is why I shifted to purebred Nubians – tho I have to point out that I really love all the breeds, and would happily raise them all, once again, given the above infinitely expanding conditions!  I believe the foundation of any fine genetics is good health, hence my testing and careful biosecurity.  Reconciling the biosecurity with the need to have the goats evaluated on a national basis, rather than in a vacuum where I just say they are good with no accountability, is crucial.  It is important to me to participate in ADGA’s milk test (checking quantity and protein & butterfat percentages) and linear appraisal (evaluated annually by top-tier dairy goat judges/assessors).

Genetic testing has opened up a world of knowledge, not just with the somewhat-recently popular G6S screening in Nubians, but especially with the testing for the Alpha S1 Casein variant.  I do screen my goats for G6S, and have yet to have a carrier.  I do have carriers in my tank, and believe it would be a shame if those genetics were lost, so I will not hesitate to use them when the time is right, but I appreciate knowing so I can follow up with the kids.  However, my breeding decisions are much more driven by the Alpha S1 Casein genetic testing, as I breed towards high variables throughout the herd.

I like to know what I am working with so I know what to improve.  I have kept my genetic lines fairly focused in order to develop consistency and give me more grounded knowledge and a more transparent view of what out-crosses benefit my bloodlines, and also to aid in selecting the out-crosses that I do bring in.

Chi-Oak Lucky Lucinda
Chi-Oak Lucky Lucinda

I have an image of my ideal goat, based on Chi-Oak Lucky Lucinda who is now deceased, that guides me as I make my breeding decisions.  Her udder is actually a mystery so I insert my own ideal of great capacity, smooth fore udder, rounded and held high in the rear with a strong medial ligament.  She was never on milk test; her dam was and had above-average production but nothing to get very excited about.  So it’s purely on her image – I expect that every fine breeder has some kind of image, as chasing the latest big names in the show ring do not necessarily add up to great kids, and what works in one herd may not work in another.  Lucy has inspired me to gather some particular Fra-Jac and related genetics in my tank, none of which have I put to work yet!

My passion is for the older genetics.  Time I spent in the United Kingdom opened my eyes to the Anglo-Nubians, where I got to visit with the Wayward Anglo-Nubian herd, one of the premier and long-standing Anglo-Nubian breeders there.  While Nubians in the US have made some improvements, we have lost a tremendous amount in milk production particularly, not to mention strength and stature.  Commercial goat dairies tend to shy away from Nubians as many have become so known for low production, and on top of that have lost the higher components (butterfat and protein) that was traditionally one of the special qualities that Nubians brought to the table – take a look at the Anglo-Nubian milk stats.  If we want our breed to succeed, we can’t rely on hobbyists to keep it alive – a passionate few are not enough.  I believe we need to have stronger selection towards milk production and quality.

All of these components come together as a variation on a theme that I believe are an important investment towards the future success of the Nubian breed.  I am working towards something special here using genetics that have been lost in some ways, though I am happy to see them making a return in some of the biggest herd names!  Our Nubian breed continues to improve in many ways, sometimes tho at the sacrifice of other aspects. It is my goal to play my part in strengthening the genetics of my priorities:  milk production (quantity and quality – high protein and butterfat), udder capacity and attachment, strong legs, feet, and body needed to support a large udder, healthy constitutions, and pleasant demeanors.

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