Before deciding how to breed —whether by linebreeding or outcrossing or whatever — it is necessary to set a breeding objective.
Only then is it possible to decide how to apply it.
There are basically two schools of thought — by corrective mating or breeding like-to-like.
Corrective mating aims to produce a flock that is uniform in respect of at least one selected character, as a result of matching strength from one parent to overcome weakness from the other.
Like-to-like mating means mating the best parents together, in practice it produces the opposite to corrective mating.
Farmers often favour corrective mating, especially because it produces an even line of goats in respect of colour, fleece, size, or whatever character is sought.
They point out that with like-to-like mating, when flock numbers are being built up, goats have to be kept not only from the best-to-best matings, but also from lower-quality matings, so that the average is no better than from corrective mating.
However, corrective mating narrows the range, so that all progeny are closer to the average. It does not produce the variation, vital at this stage of the goat industry’s development, which will throw up superior animals which, provided they are identified, offer the key to rapid breeding progress.
Goat prolificacy is the big ‘plus’ for the industry, because being able to select from the top 30 percent of doe kids, rather than from say the top 50 percent of lambs in a sheep flock, means that the average quality of new animals must be higher.
It is important to establish long-term breeding objectives, and to then stick to them. Here are a list of selection objectives in order of priority:
- Increased fleece weight
- More kids reared
- Finer fibre diameter
- Freedom from kemp and gare
- Faster growth
- Resistance to worms and footrot Freedom from pigmentation
- Satisfactory lustre
- Increased down weight
- Finer down diameter
- Freedom from pigmentation
- More kids reared
- Faster growth rate
- No fleece shedding before September Resistance to worms and footrot Improved temperament