Research Desired Genetics
This is a more difficult issue to explain and it will be different for most breeders. What you will not see on our web site is a list of 13-20 different well known names in the Boer goat industry that have been Ennobled or pictured in magazines. First being Ennobled does not mean an animal is really an outstanding breeding animal. The SA judges that have taught the ABGA judges training classes have stated over and over that an animal that wins in a show may not be the best choice for your main breeding animal for producing goat meat commercially. The second point is there is so much politics in the shows that it is not a reliable measurement for the best animals. Our genetic selection has evolved from accident to proven producers of offspring that match our Ideal Animal Model.
When we first started breeding Boers, we accidently selected EGGSfile genetics and we believe that was one of the best things that happened to us. Our current herd is heavily focused around EGGSfile genetics and we have done extensive line breeding with our EGGSfile bloodlines. At the first Showstopper sale, we purchased a Doe that was bred to EGGSfile and that resulted in our having Xtender. Xtender was the biggest buck we have ever seen and weighed around 400 lbs at one time without any effort being done to put weight on him. Several years later, we purchased an EGGSfile daughter at the third Showstopper sale. That EGGSfile daughter was bred by Xtender, also an EGGSfile son. That resulted in our Painted Warrior. Xtender and Painted Warrior have been the main foundation for our breeding program and continues to be our focus. There are two pictures shown below that compare Xtender to two different bucks. One is comparing Xtender to P/H Bingo, the only three time ABGA National Grand Champion Buck. The other picture is a comparison of Xtender to another breeder's main breeding buck.
EGGSfile was the first animal that we heard of selling for a very large amount of money. A millionaire named Stan Benz wanted to get into the Boer goat business and have the best bloodlines in the U.S. We heard that he paid $50,000 for EGGSfile. Stan called one of our friends that had a small herd of some of the best show quality animals in the U.S. He told them, he wanted to purchase their herd. They said they were not interested in selling the herd. Stan told them they had not heard the price he was willing to pay. When Stan hung up from that phone call, Stan was the new owner of our friend's herd. Several years later Stan Benz died of a heart attack and EGGSfile again sold for $50,000 at the dispersal sale to Don Smith, one of the leading breeders of top quality Boer goats in the U.S. Shortly after Don Smith made the purchase, EGGSfile died while being hauled from Georgia to Texas. Don Smith spent $22,000 to have EGGSfile cloned. EGGSfile is the only buck I know of that was considered valuable enough to try cloning him. While Ennoblements are not a reliable sign of quality, it can't be ignored either. As of December 22, 2009, EGGSfile has 22 ABGA Ennobled offspring and two of them came from our herd. That is a clear sign of consistency in the quality of EGGSfile offspring and why his genetics have been at the foundation of our herd. That does not mean we would go purchase an EGGSfile offspring now because we believe each year we have to try moving ahead in our quality rather than continuing to live in the past.
As we started to evolve in how we selected new genetics to bring into our herd, we went to focusing on looking for genetics that had a proven record on producing offspring that included some of the key features desired in our Ideal Animal. One example where we had good luck was using Big 85 offspring instead of Pipeline. Big 85 was the sire of Pipeline but Pipeline was better known. We had better results from Big 85 genetics. Recently we have purchased genetics from two different bucks that we believe have proven results in their offspring. They are DCW Bo Jangle and SWE Main Event. We currently have does from both of those bucks and have been very happy with the results we are getting when we cross them with our EGGSfile genetics in Painted Warrior, War Dancer, and Bold Warrior. We have been most impressed with the Main Event offspring we have seen at the last two Elite Coalition sales but normally the prices have been too high for us. The only Main Event offspring we have came from purchasing a recip carrying one of his kids. That recip gave us 2DOX Barracuda. Her full sister sold at the 2009 sale. She sold for $7,750, the second highest selling animal at the sale. We would not trade our Barracuda for her and she only cost us around $2,000. We are anxious to see Barracuda's kids in February to see how our genetics cross with the Main Event genetics. We do not look at having a wide variety of genetics in our herd so we will continue to stay focused on a few bloodlines and keep the best of each crossing to build our future breeding herd.
Genetics to Avoid
On this negative side, we do not list names but we believe that it is important for other breeders to know what is going on in the industry related to breeding results or breeders behavior. There are two reasons we avoid certain genetics.
It really does not matter how good a breeder's animals are. If they fall into the breeder with a bad reputation category, we will not purchase their genetics or recommend them to anyone else.
There are several examples of where we have seen poor results from a specific bloodline that caused us to stay away from them.
After being in the industry for a while, watching and talking to other breeders, specific genetics will come up that breeders want to stay clear of no matter how many awards and shows they have won.
We will not support any breeder that has not been honest with the industry. Here are some of the examples that have resulted in our staying away from specific breeder genetics.
All of the names of those type of breeders are in the back of our mind and we will not purchase or utilize any of the genetics that are associated with them. Each breeder must determine if they want to use those genetics or support breeders that have a reputation for not being honest with the industry.
Annual Evaluation and Culling
One other item that is critical in our genetics evaluation is related to worm resistance and low maintenance requirements. Here is a link to a section on our web site that discusses our High Maintenance Evaluation.
Once a year, we will look through our monthly health checks and determine if any of our animals have shown signs of having more worm problems than others or if any animals had shown more resistance to worms. Any animals having more worm problems than the normal herd will be culled. Any animals showing high resistance to worms and/or producing offspring with high resistance to worms will be put at the top of our "keep list". We also track animals requiring their hooves to be trimmed. Any animal requiring excessive hoof trimming will be culled. Finally, we will look at the animals according to how well they meet our Ideal Animal model or produce kids that move closer to the model. Each year, we will also keep the breeding animals that are doing the best toward meeting the model. We will also select a few of our good does that are still in prime breeding age and healthy and offer them for sell. This is done to make space for the new up and coming kids that show potential for improving our overall breeding herd potential. We focus on trying to only keep around 30 breeding does and 10-15 young doe kids for the next season. We have been happy with the way our herd quality has continued to improve but each year, we will review our genetic selection criteria to see if we need to make any changes according to how well we are doing related to reaching our goals.
How We Select the Genetics for Our Herd
By Jack Mauldin
December 22, 2009
Occasionally we are asked how we select new genetics to add to our breeding herd. First I would like to say we have no expertise related to selecting genetics that will result in the best outcome. We have been raising boer goats for around 12 years but had no experience in breeding and raising other animals prior to entering the Boer industry. We entered the Boer industry after 30 years of working in the Computer industry where my main skills were developing and implementing technology strategies for business, analyzing and resolving business problems, analyzing and developing/improving business processes. So we approach selecting genetics for improving our herd differently than many others do but we are happy with the process and the results. Therefore we are happy to share how we have evolved our process of selecting the genetics that go into our herd and why we reject other genetics. The major categories of our selective process includes the following:
Our main goals are focused around features that ensure top quality meat producers requiring minimum maintenance. You can read more details about our goals at "Our Goals"
Ideal Animal Model
A breeder needs to have a clear understanding of what an Ideal animal would look like so they will know how to evaluate features in current and future animals in their herd. Here are two links that discuss how we have determined what our ideal animal would look like.
There is a very interesting article of the Goat Rancher magazine - September, 2009 issue. The article "A study of the S.A. breed standards" was written by Cathie Keblinger of Seven-A Plus Ranch. She obtained two important documents that came from the South African Boer Goat Breeders Association, the breeders that developed the Boer breed over the last70+ years. The two books, that we are trying to obtain a copy of, are
The first thing that caught my eye was the drawing by the SA breeders of what they believe would be the IDEAL buck and doe. Cathie writes in the article that the books use these drawings and then go into the potential problems that can be caused by breeding animals too shallow, too short or too long. It is interesting that the US Boer industry started out with the same standards as the SA and have changed them very little but there has been a dramatic difference in the body style coming from several of the top breeders winning in the show ring. There has been no justification for the changes in the US. The SA have documented, in detail, what the breed should look like and what kind of problems may result in breeding for a different style. I believe it is important for all breeders to consider what the South African breeders are striving for and the justifications they have stated for creating the IDEAL BUCKS and DOES. The US industry's justification seems to be in creating long, lean show wethers that sell for high prices.