Philosophical discussion of breeds/breeding age/weight etc.

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by wheytogosaanens, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. wheytogosaanens

    wheytogosaanens New Member

    Okay, I just can't resist a topic of goat conversation like this. It may be moved to Off Topic, but I find it interesting that the Nubians tend to be bred later and some (at least) of the large and heavy milking Swiss breeds are bred much earlier. I will quote Becky below:

    I raise Alpines and we have large does that milk.

    I breed 100% of my kids to freshen as milking yearlings and I go by weight not by age.
    I breed does that have reached 100 lbs lbs, when they strat cycling, usually at 6 months of age. Most of my kids freshen before their 1st birthday.

    Examples of last years kids: Jacqsonne kidded at 1 year 17 days with twins, peaked at 14.5 lbs, earned her milk star, projected to milk 2500lbs this year, won her class several times, weighs 160 lbs now.

    Primadonna freshened at age 11 months with twins, earned her star milking 14.1 lbs, has won her class many times, weighs 155 now.

    I've freshened as young as 10 months, and have mostly twins, but anywhere from 1-3 kids in these young does and all have grown well and reached full potential.

    Certainly a newbie should be certain their management and does health are up to par before breeding young but in my opinion it is ideal to breed young and get the does started on a lifetime of good production.


    This pretty much sums up the philosophy of most Saanen breeders (although Lori Acton is the breeder who advised me to wait when breeding does from heavily milking lines until 8 or 9 months, as you sometimes get yearlings with bowing legs as they tend to put everything into the pail at the expense of their own bodies).

    Obviously, it can depend on bloodlines and excellent management but is there a general trend for Swiss breeds to breed earlier? I do know that we had to watch our dry yearlings (first year for that in 2007-2008) to not get fat, but also becoming precocious waaaaay before their kidding date. So we were milking dry yearlings before they kidded in order to protect their health and udder.

  2. LynninTX

    LynninTX New Member

    Well from goat keeping 101 Vickie's management thread...

    She has nubians.

    I have LM's and breed by weight and age.... not before 7 months... and not under 80# which was what I was told when I started...

    I have no troubles with my FF..... so far..... I have only had goats though 4 yrs.....

  3. BlissBerry

    BlissBerry Guest

    It's not so much that everyone breeds their Nubians to freshen at 2 years of age (although the dry yearling Nubian classes are huge!).

    Vicki and I have different bloodlines and that is the reason for the different ages for the first freshening. That being said, I have freshened yearling milkers.

    Different Nubian bloodlines require different ages of freshening for the first time.

  4. paulaswrld

    paulaswrld New Member

    When I first got into goats, 3 years ago, I bought 4 doelings. From 3 different breeders. All Nubians, all have been raising nubians for 13+ years successfully (good reputaions, good LA scores, etc....) believe me I spent over a year researching this adventure before deciding to buy. Every single breeder told me not to go by age, but by weight period. However, two of them said to not even start to look at the breeding weight until they were 9 months old, and the weight needs to be 90 lbs. The other breeder siad I don't breed yearlings unless they are over 100 lbs at 9 months.

    Based on that info, I decided to go with the 9 months 90+ pounds. I was only able to breed 2 of the four as yearlings. And this year, I kept 4 kids, all April and May kids and none will be able to be bred. My April kids are between 65 and 75 lbs...And, since I will never have late spring or summer kiddings I will have to wait till next year.

    I think that what Sara said earlier on another post is best, check with folks who know and breed the bloodline. As does all mature at different rates.

    Listening to the breeders of my does worked out great for me.

  5. For the sake of discussion I'll pipe up. Say Lindsey wants to go LA and DHIR with her herd. What if she has some Alpines that she's working with to improve milk capacity and quality which she knows will take a couple of generations. So if she waits for them to be a 2yr FF and this doe doesn't pass the grade into keeper status, she has just lost a year and money. Now hypothetically aiming for the above goal, if an animal weighs 9lbs at kidding, keeps the weight plus ten pounds a month and is 9 mos old that would be 99lbs. And taking in account for bone size and overall health, if the doe is breedable I think yes we would breed. Then I could see a trend for early breeding.Same goes with conformity, if Lindsey was breeding for specific traits, it would be in her best interests to follow an early breeding pattern. However if she were breeding for a slimmer boned animal it wouldn't.

    Lindsey's ALPINE girls right now weigh 90 and 92lbs. They are 6 1/2 mos. They won't get breed until END of NOV which makes them 8 mos almost 9. They are already at a good weight. In a month and a half from now they'll be over 100lbs, they are big boned, and she is breeding for specific traits.

    Nor do we want fatties that will wind up with problems and cost us money. Already been there and done that. That was alot of money and alot of time. Tammy
  6. mill-valley

    mill-valley New Member

    I also prefer to breed my Alpines younger. I have never kept a dry yearling. My kids are born Feb.-May, all are bred by December. I do go by size/weight, never by age. I have also freshened does at 11 months. A Togg breeder I know keeps almost all her doe kids dry, she says they won't reach the same adult size if bred as kids. I have found that with my Alpines...they catch up and are the same size by age 2.

    I was told by the breeder I bought my Saanens from that it's best to wait until they are 18 months to breed because supposedly they grow too fast for their own good and can't keep up with milking too, sort of what Camille mentioned. I have yet to breed a Saanen kid for myself so can't comment on that.
  7. ecftoggs

    ecftoggs New Member

  8. Daniel Babcock

    Daniel Babcock Member

    Any age/size reccomendations for Nigerian Dwarfs?
  9. BlissBerry

    BlissBerry Guest

  10. I can attest to the fact that with some bloodlines in Nubians I want to have 2 yo FF. I have very dairy bloodlines, with a good helping of POTF in them. I spoke with Barbara Reisler about when I should freshen also. She told me that some of the girls in my bloodlines (her bloodlines) probably ought to be 2 yo FF and that that bloodline will really "bloom" when the girls are 3yo 2nd fresheners. I am seeing that happen with the 2 year old I freshened last Spring. She has bloomed a lot this year. I am following the rule of size and not age with my herd right now. With the buck I bought from Vicki (Lonesome Doe Lord Aragorn) I'm hoping to get stronger, faster maturing does in the future; but that isn't as important to me as getting sound, correct, great milking does with longevity. I'm hoping for a buckling from Blissberry Santa's Lil' Helper next year. With those two bucks and my does I hope to acheive my goal of getting those girls that will be able to kid by their first birthday, while retaining some of my lovely dairy character, have lovely, socked on udders and milk like crazy until they are 12 or 13 years old PLUS win in the show ring.
  11. Something else to think on also when trying to determine breeding time was brought up to me today by our 4-H leader. She says that for the herd size Lindsey has and the breed of animals she is breeding, yes early breeding is a good thing cause we can concentrate on their nutritional needs. But as her herd is 60+ animals for her to early breed that would mean even more $$$ put into pellets, hay, and other essentials that she wouldn't be able to afford. She mentioned that as an accomplished herd she doesn't need to breed early because it is already proven and the does she keeps can take their time growing. She is neither for or against early breeding, she says its a matter of opinion of where the herd needs to go and how well accomplished it is. Tammy
  12. wheytogosaanens

    wheytogosaanens New Member

    First I would like to say that Saanens are generally bred to kid at 12-14 months of age, not held over to breed at 18 months. We have to worry about them getting fat (just on hay, mind you) or having to milk them prior to kidding due to precocious udders. Almost all of our does are bred between 7-9 months. So unless your does are very fine-boned, Beth, they shouldn't have to be held over. I was just saying we have adjusted from the 7 months old, better get her bred! You have to know your lines and use common sense at that point. But we try to avoid dry yearlings!!

    As far as the breeder mentioned in Tammy's post above, that "as her herd is 60+ animals for her to early breed that would mean even more $$$ put into pellets, hay, and other essentials that she wouldn't be able to afford" I find very curious as we feed our kids alfalfa only. And they grow very nicely on it! Sometimes (but not this year) alfalfa pellets. Nothing expensive, but we do keep the feeder full and boy can they chow down!

    I think carrying over dry yearlings is much more expensive than letting these girls get to work and earn their keep. And I don't care how well you "know" your lines, you can't know for sure what kind of an udder you are going to get. And I believe that Ken and Tim & Mary and Becky definitely have "accomplished" herds that milk and show well, and there is excellent demand for their kids/animals to verify that. (And all breed "early" but also have excellent management).

    Also, Mary's point about proving a buck is well taken. I mean, you already have to wait a full year for his daughters to grow up, to wait another year.... well, by then you may have used him again only to find that he has wrecked your udders, and now two kid crops gone to waste. JMO.

    And thanks to all for such a thoughtful discussion. :)

  13. I'm not sure what her feeding program is so I can't really comment on that one, but as I read it through in print I think I might read an underlying innuendo, however I might also be reading too much into the comment as well. Not sure which. Anyway I agree most interesting conversation. Tammy
  14. Believe me. I know well how much more expensive and frustrating it is to carry over a dry yearling. And yes, some of these animals really are fine-boned. I'm working my way from too much dairiness toward a more robust animal while trying to retain some of that dairiness. I should think it would be easier to do this in sme cases than to take a cobby, coarse animal and work toward dairiness.

    Anyway, it doesn't matter. This is just my goal and I know what is right for my own animals and not what might be right for everyone else's animals. I must admit that I have never owned a Saanen so I cannot speak to their management intelligently.

    :blush2 shoot. Maybe I can't speak intelligently at all.

    Worse yet, I keep a buck I never plan to use again just to keep my Lord Aragorn company. I just can't keep Ari alone in a pen all sad and lonely. If i must eat this cost of keeping Coco for Ari's happiness, then I must. This won't last forever though. I have better things on the horizon and poor old Coco will have to find a new home. :sigh

    I used to breed Boers and those does we had kidding before their first birthday and twice a year. If they didn't they went to the auction with that season's kid crop.
  15. New Member

    I also think some of us should temper our advice when folks are new to the forum. I don't think on a whole most new people get good information from the breeders they are purchasing from, and god forbid they take what they get as gospel on other forums, especially the Talk ones on yahoo. I don't think most of those folks have anyones best interests at heart.... but to see their name in print.

    I don't think anyone should be breeding anything at 7 to 9 months old their first years in goats. I think their is such a huge amount of overfeeding of grain and the lack of good quality alfalfa (or shudder the feeding of only grass hay), very poor quality minerals, cocci and worming programs that are either non exisistant or just really bad bad advice (even coming from breeders who know better).

    IF you don't have a local mentor to help you with the parasites you have in your area, feed and hay in your area, and are new to goats, or new to your breed, you should temper all of our big opinions and freshen your does to kid at 18 months to 24 months. Because if you look at the local shows, there are plenty of goats showing in 12 to 24 no matter what time of year you go to the show. Most need to go in the freezer and not bother to be freshened they are soo pork fat :)

    Oh it's so nice to be back :)

  16. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

    OH and it is so NICE to have you back!!!
  17. Tim Pruitt

    Tim Pruitt New Member

    Welcome back Vicki!
    And yes, I definately agree. If you have had goat less than 5 years, don't even think of breeding to kid at less than 18 -24 months. By that time, you should have a little more understanding of goat management and bloodlines.

    Even now, I breed most of my does to kid at 16-24 months old.
  18. stoneyheightsfarm

    stoneyheightsfarm New Member

    Ver, very helpful, y'all--particularly for this newbie! My management can definitely use some tweaking, as there is so much to learn. Now considering bloodlines... can you give more insight there?
  19. BlissBerry

    BlissBerry Guest

    Not specifically. On a public forum anyway. :)

  20. stoneyheightsfarm

    stoneyheightsfarm New Member

    I suppose I was thinking in the general sense, rather than specifically. :) Not sure if that's possible?! What are some types of things that one would gain an understanding of concerning bloodlines that would cause one to breed sooner rather than later or visa versa? Bone density/size, growth rate, production, breeder's intent, others...? And how long would it take to understand these sorts of things? For instance, would you breed to have 2 y/o FFs, keep offspring, watch them, and then maybe try for a 1 y/o FF with a 5th generation in order to know? Or would discussing your particular bloodlines w/someone privately (breeder, breeder of their goats, folks knowledgable about bloodlines, etc.) be more beneficial? And then what if your lines come from everywhere?