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Our Priority List of Body Features 

Production of Goat Marketable Features

Health and Hardiness

1. Leg

We selected the leg as our highest priority in producing and improving the percentage in the carcass.  The leg is the largest percentage (~30+%)  of the carcass followed by the shoulder. The articles we have read indicate the leg is a more tender meat and sells for a higher price than the shoulder.

1. Ability to successfully breed

The main function of the breeding herd is to reproduce. If a buck or Doe can't successfully breed, they no longer have any value as a meat goat other than for slaughter.

2. Shoulder

Our second priority is the shoulder because it is the second largest percentage (~20%) of the carcass. The meat in the shoulder has many different ways to be used in cooking to get around it not being as tender as the leg. Currently, we see a wide differences in the volume and quality of muscle in the shoulder and see good potential in focusing on ensuring consistent volume of meat in the shoulder.

2. Capacity for carrying multiple kids during pregnancy

One of the main benefits of the Boer goats was stated to be their high fertility rate. Over the last several years of tracking kidding data, our Does have averaged 2.5 kids per Doe. Although a Doe may occasionally have a single, we expect them to produce twins or triplets the majority of time. If they are to successfully carry 2-3 kids during pregnancy, they must possess a body with the capacity to carry the multiple embryos with minimum health issues like pregnancy toxemia.

3. Neck

The neck does have a good amount of meat on it but most of the research seems to include much of the neck in the shoulder cut. However, we do want to focus on the neck being full, well fleshed, as the SA standards call for. Steaks and chops can be made from the bottom half of the neck and this should not be overlooked.

3. Resistant to worms

The Stomach worm is the biggest problem the meat goat industry has and it will only get worse unless something changes. It is critical to us to find animals that show strong resistance to the stomach worm where we don't have to hope that a new drug will be discovered. Anemic Does can't take care of their kids, can't produce the milk required and will likely die. Breeders can't continue to rely on finding different ways to worm their animals with combinations of the existing drugs.

4. Loin

The loin is the most valuable and most tender cut from the carcass. However, it is also much less of a percentage (~11%) of the carcass. There also seems to be less opportunity to increase the amount of loin in an animal. That would require greater length of the body and the longer the body, the greater the chance of causing a weak back.

4. Ability to kid without problems.

A Doe must have the ability to successful kid with little to no assistance. They have to be able to kid in a pasture without human assistance.

5. Good mothering ability

There is little value in a Doe having 2-3 kids only to die due to lack of care from the mother. Does that will not take care of their kids to ensure they are getting nutrition and protect them need to be culled.

5. Ribs

The ribs seem to have the least amount of carcass percentage (~9%) and you can't increase the number of ribs in a carcass. You can only try to increase the muscle around the ribs. Any focus on increasing muscle in the Loin area, will also be helping the rib area.

6. Capacity for milk

Since we are expecting 2-3 kids per Doe, they need to have a good capacity for milk that will provide 2-3 kids enough nutrition for the next 2-3 months.

6. Hide

The hide has some value and should not be a high consideration in any evaluation.  The skin is roughly 8% of the live weight. Leather from Boer goats is thicker and stronger than other goat types and takes well to tanning making it an excellent commercial by-product. The higher value goat skins are those that have a fine grain appearance that comes from fine hair rather than a coarse hair covering the hide.  However, we heard from a manager at a large goat processing plant outside of Chicago that they do not mess with the hides because it is not worth their time. They said they can only get $1 per hide and they have to have 1,000 hides per bundle.

7. Functional Teats

Kids can have the most caring mother there is but if the kids can't get milk from the teats, they will die or do very poorly.

8. Height of teats from ground

One of the most critical times in a newborn kid's life is the first 24 hours. They must come into the world and quickly discover where the teats are and how to use them. Newborns are always looking too high for the teats the first time. It is important to us for the mother's teats to be easily found and quickly. The teats need to be high enough off the ground so the kids will find them as soon as possible. They need the mother's first milk to give them their initial immune system.

9. Good mouth

In order for the Doe to produce quality milk in good quantity, she needs to be able to  take in a large amount of nutrition. If an animal has a bad mouth that makes it difficult to eat, that will affect the quality and quantity of the milk that is needed for the kids.

10. Strong legs

Most of the goat farm's in the US are probably around 20 acres. However, the bucks and Does need the ability to move around as much as possible to find the nutrition. Strong legs (not big legs) are needed  for that.

11. Pigmentation

Pigmentation is a lower priority for us for several reasons. First, cancer caused by lack of protection occurs over a period of time. Not being able to eat or move around the pasture has an impact much faster. Second, we have been moving more and more to reds and paints. There is no pigmentation problem with them because they are born with 100% pigmentation unless it is a paint and the tail area is not red. However, we cull any animal that does not have 50% pigment by 6 months and 75% by 12 months.

12. Hoof

Any animal that has hooves that grow much faster than other animals and the hooves do not naturally chip away on their own, may be culled from the herd. If hooves quickly grow to where the animal cannot walk properly, we will consider removing them. The first problem is, the animal can have problems moving around in a pasture to gather nutrition. The second problem is, it increases the manual labor required to maintain the animal in a healthy state.