April 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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What They Do and What They Don't Do

Registries are widely believed to identify quality animals, lending an implied sense of value. In truth, registries provide information not unlike Ancestry.com.

Goat registries document the pedigrees of individual animals as provided by breeders. Pedigree information includes sire, dam, grandsire, granddam, other ancestors, date of birth, sex, breed, number in litter, horned or polled, domestic or imported breeding, identification method (tattooing, ear tags), and natural delivery or birth through artificial insemination.. Registration also includes the breeder information, including name and location.

All of this is valuable background information on the pedigree of the animal, but it does NOT identify the quality of the goat. Unfortunately, too many people have come to believe that registration equals quality. Such is not the case and never has been the case. Indeed, it cannot be the case because the information provided does not define quality.

Why does pedigree registration not identify quality meat goats? Genetics is often a "crap shoot." The best doe and the best buck can breed this year, producing terrific offspring, yet breed next year and produce culls. There is much more to finding a quality goat than age, litter size, and pedigree. Any goat that meets certain breed percentages can be registered and too often is. Because a goat is a certain breed does not make it a quality animal.

Conditions on your property differ from year to year, month to month, and pasture to pasture . No two days are ever alike. Nature is a moving target, always challenging us. And all of these changes affect the quality of the goats living there.

Too much or too little rain affects plant growth, impacting what is available for goats to eat. Cold, heat, drought, rain, snow, ice, hail, wind -- all of these weather conditions affect animals that live, breed, and raise kids outdoors. Hay quality varies from year to year and unique local conditions can present problems. In states where poultry production is widespread, chicken litter (feces) is used as fertilizer. Too much phosphorus in the diet causes serious problems in goats. The high levels of phosphorus in chicken litter are absorbed by plants, requiring local goat raisers to add calcium to their feed. Changes in feed affect goats' performance. Registration does not identify high-performing goats.

Stress is a big factor in producing quality goats. The presence of predators, although they may be kept away by livestock guardian dogs, stresses goats. The introduction of new goats into the herd brings stress; the pecking order resolution starts all over, changing the status of goats in the herd which affects what each goat gets to eat. Livestock guardian animals, either new to the ranch or new to a particular herd, are another stressor. Simply moving goats from pasture to pasture can stress them. Goats stress easily and do not move well. Anytime you move a goat, prior thought must be given to how to do this with the least amount of stress.

You must learn how to evaluate breeding goats based upon body conformation and productivity and trace this back to dam/sire and to granddam/grandsire. Quality genetics often breeds "true," i.e. with consistency of muscling from generation to generation, but there are always outliers that must be culled in every generation. You cannot look at a kid or a weanling and definitely know that this will be a quality goat except in very rare circumstances and after you have had lots of conformation evaluation experience. Kids are cute and sometimes colorful. That's all that can be said about kids. Anyone who says that a certain kid will grow out well because he is a descendant of a well-known goat is simply trying to sell a goat, because there is no way the seller can guarantee that statement. This is particularly true as the generational relationship gets farther away from original genetics.

I've been raising meat-goat breeding stock since 1990. Even now, I only occasionally can look at a young kid and tell if he is going to grow out to be a terrific breeding animal, assuming nothing bad happens to him as he grows. Most of my conformation evaluations are not made until the goat is a yearling. Color is irrelevant. Body conformation develops as the goat grows. I pay attention to sire and dam and evaluate consistency of good traits, but this is only a small part of the selection process. After I have visually identified good body conformation, then tolerance for wormloads, ability to hold its place within the herd's pecking order, good mothering traits, fertility, libido (interest in breeding), and other factors are continually evaluated. This information is impossible to know until the goat is nearly a year old and sometimes not even that soon. Culls go to slaughter in every generation. Even if you are raising goats as a hobby, you are going to have animals that need to be sold from time to time. Maximize your financial return on goats sold by using these practices.

One of my big pet peeves about registries is that many of them are affiliated with showing goats and registration fees go to fund those shows. This is great if you are into showing goats but not if your interests are elsewhere. I've been raising goats since January 1990; I've never met a person who decided to raise meat goats because they went to a goat show. Yet registries will claim that they "promote goats." Not for most of us, they don't.

Buying based solely upon pedigree is a faulty way to buy. There is no shortcut to developing quality goat genetics. The characteristics that designate a quality goat are not and cannot be reflected by registration papers. Pedigree is only a small part in the making of a quality goat. Pedigree information is available from reputable sellers. You don't have to pay a registry to give you a paper stating what you already know.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, ONION CREEK RANCH, Texas 4.1.19

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Contact Suzanne Gasparotto at
512-265-2090 for prices and availability.

Tennessee Meat Goat™ and TexMasters™
are available now.
Make your reservations!

Personalized Consultation Services Available

I am pleased to announce that beginning February 1, 2019, I am offering individualized consultation services on health, nutrition, and management to goat raisers.

Raising goats in a challenge, given that few vets know anything about goats. We have to learn to use medications off-label. Limited help is available on nutrition or just about anything involving goats.

This subscription service is $195 a year, with no limit on number of contacts. Payment may be made via CASH app on your phone, using a debit card, or you can mail a check for $195 made payable to Suzanne W. Gasparotto to 300 Happy Ridge Road, Briggs, Tx 78608. Provide contact information so I can confirm receipt and set up your account.

Although I am not a vet, I have been raising goats full time since 1990. I've been writing articles on goat nutrition, health, and management for 25+ years. I know goats.

My meat-goat education group ChevonTalk, the meat goat e-magazine MeatGoatMania, and the articles on my website http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com will remain free.

I already offer ranch layout/design consultation on a case basis.

Taking the individual consultations to a fee basis will allow me to better help persons seriously interested in properly taking care of their goats.

If you wish to sign up and have questions, please email me at onioncrk@centex.net or call me at 512-265-2090.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas


Tennessee Meat Goat™ and TexMaster™ DOES.

Notice the MEAT on them.


Tennessee Meat Goats™ and TexMasters™ are the cream of the meat goat industry. Contact us for availability, ages and pricing by calling 512-265-2090 or emailing onioncreek@tennesseemeatgoats.com



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