What Records Should Goat Farmers Keep?

What Records Should Goat Farmers Keep?For breeding to make any sense at all, it is necessary to know something about the animals concerned.

That much is obvious. It also follows that records will need to be kept, so that the necessary information can be referred to when making breeding selections.

The question is what traits should be recorded to avoid confusion.

Unfortunately there is not sufficient evidence to be able to state categorically which factors are important.

Only one or two traits are to be selected in order to make reasonably rapid progress, it is possible to concentrate on the more obvious ones.

The most important traits in cashmere, cashgora and mohair goats will be:

fleece weight, fibre characteristics (e.g. mean fibre diameter) kemp in mohair goats, liveweight at critical times, and kidding performance (mating to weaning).

In meat goats the priority information will be that related to:

birth details (number, weight and date), liveweight at critical times, and kidding performance (mating to weaning).

These will be the facts which are most important to the majority of commercial goat farmers intent on up-grading their flocks.

Every farmer has his own system recording such information — ranging from a ballpoint pen note on the back of the hand to logging into a computer.

But the most common system is to have a blackboard in the woolshed on which details can be scrawled while working with the goats, and from which they are then transferred to a book, record sheet, or on a computer document or spreadsheet.

Sample record sheets have been produced, but it is far better if a farmer works out his own system.

One that he can keep up to date and that he can use.

It is useless recording a mass of information if it is not put to use.

The important thing is to note the date and the identification of the animals, because it will often pay handsomely to sit down with the records and to go through them and see what they reveal.

It is surprising what often turns up.