Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
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The Three Types of Goats

In the species  Caprine, there are three types of goats: meat, milk, and hair goats.  Each type serves a specific purpose.  This may seem obvious,  but   some people  apparently don't understand these distinctions because they are  using  the wrong type for the wrong purpose.

(1) Dairy goats.   You can't put meat on a dairy goat.  The goat's purpose is to produce milk and its body  utilizes protein and other nutrients to make milk, not meat.   The conformation of the dairy goat is long legged so that females  can carry  large milk-filled udders without damage from obstacles in its environment.  The dairy goat is  long bodied to accommodate long-legged fetuses in utero.   Highly  productive dairy goats are line-bred and domesticated, which makes them less able to adapt to a forage-based management program.

(2) Hair goats.   Hair goats   utilize protein to produce quality fiber.  In  America, Angoras are the best known hair goat. Forage-browse based  Angoras are known for inadequate  milk production and therefore  poor mothering abilities because  they have been selected for fine  fiber  to the detriment of milk production.    I've met Angora producers who routinely euthanized newborn Angoras   if the litter contained more than one kid because the dam could not provide enough milk in the management system in which they were being raised.  Note:   Cashmere is a type of hair, not a breed, and many breeds produce cashmere during cold weather though it  may not be  quality fiber.

(3) Meat goats.   The body  conformation is  short-legged, deep, and wide bodied with milk-on-demand udders that  are  close to the body to avoid being torn on brush  as they forage/browse.  "You don't eat what's  between the belly and the ground."     Meat goat does do just fine producing milk for their kids but not extra for milking.  Some people  think that crossing dairy does with meat bucks is necessary to provide adequate milk.  This is wrong.    Meat-goat females who receive  proper  nutrition  are able to produce milk, grow their kids, and maintain their own body weight.    Does with three or more kids need help, regardless of breed or type, since in Nature half of them die while the strong survive.  Multiple births occur in prey species  specifically so the hardy can survive predation and starvation.  A great deal of the confusion about meat goats stems from people wrongly thinking of them as the same as dairy or show goats.   In order to make money raising meat goats, management and nutrition has to be handled  differently.

Dual-purpose goats might be considered a fourth category, except there is no such thing as a successful dual-purpose breed.   Boers are South Africa's attempt to produce a dual-purpose  (meat and milk)  goat.    Boer performance since its arrival in the USA around 1992 has disproved that concept.   Successful breeding produces either meat, milk, or hair goats.

Meat, milk, and hair  goats have been developed for specific purposes.  Crossbreeding one type with another  type can dilute the genetics of the purpose for which they were originally created.   A long-term crossbreeding  program  may  result in an improved  animal with hybrid vigor, but you must really  know what you are doing and have the resources to stay in it for the long haul (decades).  Beginning  in 1995  I decided to create  a meatier goat than the   Boers that arrived in the USA by infusing Tennessee Meat Goat(tm) genetics into them.  The result is the commercial meat breed TexMaster(tm) that I've been refining  for more than two decades.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 3/1/18

Meat Goat Mania

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All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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