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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This question is for breeders of dairy goats reguardless of breed.
Occasionally I have seen (and it seems more so in certain lines of Nubians than others) does with a beautiful rear udder but they have fore udders with a nice extension but they shelve when full at 12 hours.
How serious of a fault is this?
Does it usually improve with age? or does it get worse? or is it a culling factor as a first freshener?

Do other breeds experience this or is this a Nubian trait?
 

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Nope it happens in Alpines quite frequently. The first 2 goats I purchased for home milkers had shelves. They were 2-4 years old and it did not improve with age and it passed to the daughters. The girls stayed here as milkers for several years until I improved my herd and upgraded, bought better stock, began showing and then I said goodbye to them and they moved to another home milking family. I had a first freshener Hannah, that freshened with a pocket on the front of her udder; not deep just about 1.5 inches deep is all :p. I thought SHOOT... horrible udder might as well start making plans to sell her as a milker. After about 2 months it filled out, straightened up and she had one of the prettiest little tight round socker ball udders you ever could want.

Hannah's udder

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Once you get passed the backyard milker, I think as a whole Nubians have excellent cow foreudders, like Alpines with their rear udders (in well bred ones). When we do see much of anything with a foreudder it is usually in our very young milkers who are not only lacking capacity in that udder but the depth of body to pull off the udder. Now rear udders for me have been a total crap shoot at this point, not enough to cull because point wize with our GA and DC we do well, but a stand alone killer udder, nope not enough rear udder width.

I won't cull a young FF for a shelve, I will cull her for a pocket. Most are culled here for the rear udder. Vicki
 

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What is the difference between a shelf and a pocket? Is a pocket just a bigger shelf? I have a doe with what I think is a small shelf, but I have never had another one to compare to.
Elizabeth
 

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It happens in Toggs also. Most will mature out of it (talking a shelf and not a pocket) though we do have a 5 year old that doe shelf still at capacity.
I think pockets come because of poor attachment and shelves because of an udder that is stretching to maintain the milk beyond capacity. Clear as mud??
I agree with Vicki on the culling between a shelf and a pocket.
Tim
 

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Probably not a good thing I am using one of my doe's as an example of a bad foreudder...lol
This is Liliana in early 2005. I recall Vicki (fairly sure it was thee ;) ) pointing out that she had a shelf (?).
A number of my does do unfortunately. Mostly due to the first buck we use over our does. A LaMancha/Alpine. That was 9 years ago now.

The Classifier was here recently for the cow herd. We have a nice second freshener who classified at an 85 as a FF. (Very Good). We were confident she would stay the same and maybe even rise just a notch. The classifier had her at an 82 but left her at her 85. I asked her why and she pointed out the shelf on Cadence. Which was what I did not like about her. She is one of my show cows if I were to make it to the Fair again. Dad laughed and said I had found a kindred spirit since I have been almost obsessive about the foreudder attachment on the goats and the cows.
Dad's opnions on the foreudder attachment in the cows is he doesn't put much stock into it. Some of his best milkers have poor fore udder attachments and he has never had to cull a cow simply because of that.
Select Sires spouted a bull that threw loose foreudders as "improved capacity." :lol
Just for kicks...One of the worst fore udders I have seen in our herd. A cow named Thumbelina.

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A shelf is in the front but it is not in the middle of the front...oh geeze :)

From a side udder shot you can not see the fore udder, only the sides, this is where a shelf is...a pocket is in the true fore and it indents in. Tim once said to me at his kitchen table "A pocket you can drive a truck into" :)

Does can have shelves at the side of their rear udder also, that will calm down as they gain capacity. Old bloodlines even had so much rear udder that buldged out it really was a shelf also. Easy Streams does they got from Little Ol Acres (or whatever) Peach's and Robin had rear udders like this, as did my doe Poptart half sister to Tim's Strawberry...ole Gasconade Marksman stuff.

For myself when it's not smooth and buldges it's a shelf, when it truly indents it's a pocket.

Ok I give.... Vicki
 

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I could easily remember incorrectly. It may have actually been Danielle with the poor foreudder. Her's is worse than Lili's.
There just isn't much capacity in these girls.

Thanks for the explanation of a shelf and pocket...Pictures never do justice it seems.

Edited--just because we have spell check does not mean I will use it. :lol

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I asked her why and she pointed out the shelf on Cadence.
A shelf is different than a pocket. Look at Christine's post at Hannah's udder. Do you see the line where the udder joins the body? It is smooth. But here is where an udder will shelve when full or strutted. The shelf is not apparent when the udder is empty. It is smooth like Hannah's udder.

A pocket on the other hand is there when full or empty. It may however be more pronounced when the udder is full. A pocket is the absence of fore udder in front of the udder, where both halves do not meet. An udder like this will break down as the doe grows old.

Question for Tim and others: Do you find that Judges or appraisers discriminate or count points off of udders that shelve?
 

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I had never heard the term shelf before. We did have an interesting discussion with the appraiser this summer about pockets. He said that if the side/fore is well attached not to get to excited about a small pocket in the middle,- in other works with good side attatchments a small pocket is not going to affect the udder score. We had a few examples to look at with nice side profile of the udder but looking from the front you could see a pocket (small). I thought that was interesting.

I'm trying to invision a "shelf" is this one?

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Tim Pruitt said:
Question for Tim and others: Do you find that Judges or appraisers discriminate or count points off of udders that shelve?
As far as judges, some do and some don't. But it really does depend on how close the competition is. When the judge mentions "not as smoothly blended in the fore udder" as their reason, they may be refering to a doe that has reached a point where she needs to be relieved.
As far as appraisers, we have only had two appraisers, and have never uddered our does to the point in which they begin to shelf. Both times have been later in the year so the does have reached their peaks and the capacity of the udder is set for normal milking intervals.
Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I am telling this from memory so it is second hand - for what it is worth.

Barbara Rissler of Price O The Field tells of owning GCH Heck's Sunflower - a large Nubian doe who was born back in 1977. Somewhere in the mid 80's someone appraised this doe under the old appraisal system. He scored her 95 in fore udder. Barbara protested this score saying, "You can't give this high of a score to a foreudder like this! She has a pocket in the front." Norman was quoted as saying, "Oh yes, I can! See this nice extension on the fore on each side?"

I wonder how much the appraisal system changed from from then to now in regards to that?

I do remember a doe I owned, GCH Pruittville's Seabag Pruitt's Angela Renee. She had a very nice rear udder but had a small pocket in the fore udder. As a young doe, the judges would feel of her fore and then set her back in the line one or two places. As a 4 and 5 year old, it no longer seemed to make a difference. The judges would put her Best Doe In Show. She also appraised 90 with E in mammary. However, as she approached 8 & 9 she lost more attachment to the fore.
 
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But Tim, At 8 or 9 , wouldn't you kinda expect her to start loosing some attachments, and consider this as a normal process of aging ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
But Tim, At 8 or 9 , wouldn't you kinda expect her to start loosing some attachments, and consider this as a normal process of aging
Some does do - some does don't.... some will hold their attachment till 12 or older.
 

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I have a Recorded Grade doe who will be 12 in March. Her udder attachment is still as good as when she was a FF. She became a champion at age 7, still healthy as a horse, and you would never guess her to be aged, if you saw her. She was born here and will live out her life here - I have retired her now, because she's paid her dues. I have owned several does out of her lines (BTW - she's Apine/Togg), and they all lived to be old and still put lots of milk in the bucket!! Wish this were the case with them all :lol
 

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In an excellent forudder they never loose it, now they will eventually have unuseable tissue in the foreudder that doesn't hold milk, it sort of hangs down. Gravity and breasts and all :) Vicki
 

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sounds like a pocket goes IN and a shelf the udder comes out around it?
 
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