September 2019 Issue



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Subscribe FREE now! Monthly issues with new articles and other educational information on meat goat health, nutrition, and management written by Suzanne W. Gasparotto of Onion Creek Ranch and Pat Cotten of Bending Tree Ranch. In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Neither Suzanne Gasparotto nor Pat Cotten are veterinarians. None of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.


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If you are raising meat goats, you need to know how to select quality breeding stock.

Your buck is the most important goat in your herd. As the kids' sire, he is HALF of your herd. If you keep replacement females out of him, and you will, he is literally THREE-QUARTERS of your herd. He can produce far more kids in his lifetime than any single doe. Your buck is where you need to spend serious dollars.

Buy the best meat-goat genetics available. Learn what a meat goat is and buy the best. Good meat goat conformation is essential. Characteristics like height and color are irrelevant. Does the goat have significant meat on it? Do you know enough about meat goats to be able to make that determination? Find a reputable meat goat breeder and learn how to select breeding stock.

A kid is not breeding stock material. You can't tell anything about a kid except its color, sex, and "cuteness." Buy a buck that is at least a yearling so that you can see how he is growing out.

A breeding-quality buck should cost much more than any commercial goat. If a buck is commercial grade, he should go to slaughter. Only top-quality bucks of excellent body conformation should be retained for breeding purposes. You can use commercial does for your female breeders. Never buy breeding stock at commercial auctions. Always buy by private treaty, i.e. directly from a reputable meat-goat breeder.

Don't limit your search for top-quality genetics to your own area. You must go outside your geographic area to bring in quality new genetics and then give them adequate time to adapt to your environment.

Changing breeds will not solve your management problems. Ninety-five percent (95%) of raising goats healthily is proper management. The remaining five percent (5%) is choosing the right MEAT breed, but that 5% will determine whether your goats produce significant useable meat or not.

Registration is irrelevant and a waste of money. Registration is like It tells you about pedigree. Registration has NOTHING to do with quality of the animal. A reputable breeder will provide all the pedigree information you need on your purchased goats without charge on the Bill of Sale.

Show goats are not meat goats. Show goats are beauty contestants. Show goats are someone's idea of what a pretty goat should look like and that idea changes frequently to keep the competition game going.

Don't buy based upon what your neighbor is buying. Don't assume that he knows more than you do, even if he has been raising goats longer than you have been doing. Don't follow the crowd. The crowd is usually wrong. Just because you don't know a lot about meat goats doesn't mean that you are stupid. Educate yourself.

Find a knowledgeable meat-goat breeder and ask them to help you learn. It may take you some time because there is so much incorrect information available about goats, but if you search diligently, you can find that person. Hint: If you find a meat-goat producer who tells you that raising goats isn't fast easy money and is really hard work, then you've probably found the right mentor.

Hardly anyone knows anything about goats. Goats are the poor stepchildren of the livestock industry. As of 2013, there were less than two million goats in the USA, down from 12 million in 1990. That means we've had a decline of over 80% of the number of goats in this country between 1990 and 2013. The numbers continue to go down. Learn the reasons why and they will add to your education about goats. Many people get into and out of goats in two to five years.

Because so few goats means a small market for their services, vets receive little education about them. Only a couple of medications that we use with goats are labelled for goats. Most everything we use medication-wise is off-label and you have to learn how to use them. There isn't a big enough market to justify the money needed to develop and obtain approval of goat-specific medicines. Show goat people do almost everything wrong in terms of management and feeding, so don't take advice from them. Feed stores think goats are like sheep; goats are like deer. You have to learn to be your own vet in most instances, yet you need an established veterinary relationship to buy needed prescription medications.

The agricultural universities, where you would expect to find accurate information and help, are a disappointment too. Since I began raising goats in 1990, I don't know of any good information I've gotten out of the university system with the exception of the Southern Consortium for Small Ruminants' work on internal parasites.

Pasture Buck Tests are poorly structured, thereby producing faulty results. Example: Researchers bring in bucks from all around the country and give them no time to adapt to the new location. The "home field advantage" of the goats already there and adapted to that environment skewers the test results. Plus, not all meat breeds are tested; space limitations and prejudices of those running the tests weigh heavily on outcomes.

The meat-goat industry in the USA is in its infancy. Analytical studies on feed conversion, average daily gain (ADG), and live-animal pasture testing are relatively new to goats and too many of the studies have major flaws. This kind of information has long been available in the cattle and sheep industries, but not for goats. Take what you read with skepticism, especially advertisements. Every industry has its share of people who will manipulate the numbers in order to sell. Ask questions. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas. 9.1.19

BendingTree Ranch TexMaster Goats

Pat Cotten 501-679-4936
Bending Tree Ranch located near Greenbrier, Arkansas

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Myotonic bucklings above.

White buck is a 2019 TexMaster™ buckling.

Bottom photo is also a 2019 Texmaster™ buckling.


Great selection of breeding age TexMaster™ bucks available. Contact Pat Cotten at Bending Tree Ranch for complete list.



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