Traits to Consider

Goats June 28, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Traits to consider when selecting.

Producers have a number of traits they can utilize to select their breeding stock. These traits include breed information-- horns, color, body type -- birth type, birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, milk production and mothering ability.

The key to success is to concentrate on one or a few traits that have the greatest economic impact to your herd. In most cases these are traits related to growth and include birth, weaning and yearling weight. Another important trait to consider is twinning rate or type of birth. It has been proven that kids born twin are more likely to produce twins than those born single. This is also important in sires because their daughters may be utilized in the herd. Also, does that wean multiple kids wean more total weight than those with singles, even if the individual kids born and raised single are heaver than those born and raised twin.

Each producer will need to determine which trait or traits to focus on for their herd. This should be done in association with the goals for your herd and the demands of your customers. However, some basic knowledge of economic value of different traits is also important.

Research has shown that reproduction is the most economically important trait in herds where animals are sold live. Weight gain or performance is the second most important trait, regardless of how animals are sold (Boggs and Hamilton, 1997). In general, goat producers don’t see enough premiums in price to be concerned directly with carcass traits. Health traits are also very important in goat production. It is very difficult to know where these fall in relation to economic importance, but producers should strive to select animals that require minimal treatment for parasites and foot scald/rot.

Reference: Cow/Calf Analysis: Key Indicators of Profitability. D. Boggs and E. Hamilton. Proceedings: Range Beef Cow Symposium XV 1997 p. 233.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.