Our Philosophy & Mini Breeding Program
There is always so much more behind a "generation" .
We thought we would expand on the information behind our breeding program with the how's and why's.
Our Philosophy & Breeding Program
We are in a unique situation with our program as our farm does not exclusively breed for Miniature Lamanchas. Our Miniatures are derived from our main focus breeds the Lamancha and the Nigerian Dwarf. Having 3 breeding programs is not without it's challenges. However, breeding for Lamanchas and Nigerian Dwarfs allows us to use our own quality genetics to enhance and build our program with proven stock. Utilizing the ADGA performance programs such as Milktest, Linear Appraisal, and Showing has been instrumental in our development of the minis. Applying all we have learned and continue to learn to all our programs. Having the advantage of knowing the lines we are working with is beneficial in selection of breeding line ups. Our mini program has often had to take a backseat to other breeds over the years but we are now focusing more effort to the development of our miniatures. Our focus is producing strong foundation animals, advancing generations & ear type without sacrificing quality.
Because our Miniatures are produced from our own stock we have the majority of their family relations throughout our site. Some are listed below their breed pairings, considering sire/dam sides as well as cousin, siblings, half siblings etc. This gives a great deal of information to those looking to see what is behind the whole line, not just a single picture. Utilizing the strengths of a given doe/buck we can better pair to improve a particular area. Genetics are what they are however, and there is never a guarantee of a desired outcome. The more a buck is used the more reliable information can be gathered for future pairings.
Why breed for so many 75/25's and 1st & 2nd gens?
Our goals are to breed for foundation stock that can advance a mini breeding program into the 3rd and 4th (or higher) generations. Breeding 2nd gens and 3rd gens can be quite tricky with so many genetics playing a role. This is where you see considerable difficulty in many programs where advancement of generations and ear type are put before structure. Our goals are not to just make beautiful does with improved udders but for breeding bucks! Breeding bucks MUST come from solid foundations. To be a breeding buck his dam must have a correct mammary system. All breeders know, if they have been breeding long enough that not all genetics line up well, this is especially true of miniatures. Instead of going into 2nd or 3rd generations we will often breed a miniature doe back to a standard to bring in those strong traits we want to see in our miniatures. Of course this sets a breeder back to a 1st generation, however those positive traits and improvements can only help a long term program. It also can work in the opposite, using a high percentage Nigerian or PB Nigerian to bring down height, increase butterfat, and bring in hardiness if a herd is lacking in one or more of those areas. We slowly continue to make progress in our program. That 1st gen may actually have many generations of minis in the pedigree. :)
What is safe and what is not when breeding a mini to a standard?
What is safe and what is not when breeding a mini to a standard?
Miniatures were developed by crossing the selected Standard Breed doe to a Nigerian Buck, this is generally most breeders f-1 foundation stock. Many will not hesitate to breed their 50/50 buck back to a Standard doe for a 75/25. The real question is can you safely breed a Standard Breed buck to your 50/50 or higher percentage doe? This subject comes up often in online groups. Many are adamantly against and all have stories of what happened to their friend when a buck jumped the fence etc. IF you know your breeding stock, know the size kids the buck throws, know how to evaluate a doe's width, capacity, and overall body condition then and ONLY then can you make that decision safely. We breed Lamanchas, Miniature Lamanchas, and Nigerians and know our goats, their genetic make up and their capabilities. I do not recommend anyone that is inexperienced to do so. Breeding a 75/25 over a 50/50 is far less a concern. Breeding a Nigerian buck to a 50/50 mini doe may be convenient for those that just want a doe to freshen and don't want to invest in a mini buck however going in that direction can pose some long term problems. If the 25/75 doe is too small she may have a difficult time being bred to anything over a 50/50 and even then a well built 50/50 buck with excellent structure and capacity may be too much. This only leaves the option of continuing downward and eventually all offspring will be pets or will only be able to be bred to Nigerians and offspring will be sold unregistered as there are no grades or experimental allowed in the registries of Nigerian Dwarfs. The breeder's style of goat also plays a role. In our herd we have several different lines, one line yields itself to being bred at 7-8 months due to growthy, wide, capacious does. Another line is slower growing and needs til the following season to be bred. Knowing your herd is important.
What are the benefits of using a lower gen higher percentage mini ?
What are the benefits of higher generation minis.
What are the benefits of higher generation minis.
It all comes down to quality of the doe /buck. There are many higher gen (f-3, F-4 and F-5 miniatures for sale every year come spring. Doelings are not as much of an issue if they need some improvement, because as long as they are solid and can milk you can always improve the offspring with a good buck. Having said that, starting with the best foundation for structure, dairyness, body capacity and overall a "good plus" or better mammary system will always be a benefit in your program. The bucks however are a whole different story. Sadly in the race for those American mini lamanchas and gopher ears the greatest factor- the mammary- sometimes takes a backseat. American minis (F-3 or higher) whose dam has sheep teats (pointing forward and straight out to the sides), lacking foreudder, tear shaped (upsde down heart) udder with weak lateral attachments, and carrying the milk at the bottom of the udder are all too common. Bringing in a Quality Purebred Lamancha can often correct those flaws in the developing mini program. Breeding back to a 50/50 or a 62.5/37.5 will enhance the traits and still keep the mini within the 70/30 percentage rule (MDGA requirement) and will advance in generation status.
Utilizing advanced generations certainly has it's benefits. If the foundation and each generation with linear and generational evidence shows the quality of udders, conformation, and GA then it can greatly enhanced your mini program achieving the desirable American/Purebred status. Improving the does, bringing correct breed character, improving mammary system are the goals. It is important to view side udder AND rear udder pics of the dam when purchasing any buck. If you don't love the udder and want a whole herd of that udder then move on. There is no perfect udder, however if that udder has desirable traits and the overall structure is good then considering a buck from that dam is beneficial.
What's your Style?
What's your Style? It may sound like an odd question given we do have a "breed standard". However, that breed standard will be developed by the breeder with a particular style. When we look at the mini lamanchas we see a variety of style. Here we prefer our mini lamanchas (at maturity 3-4 years of age) to resemble our standards just shorter. We want that body capacity, strength, and width. Quite literally just a miniature version of a lamancha. We prefer our does at 25-26" and 110-130#. Dairy goats are not long thin animals, they cannot function well without capacity. We breed our minis for capacity without sacrificing general appearance. Our goals for our program are as outlined in the ADGA blue book- [Quote] "The total volume of a goat (length, width, and depth of body) with regard to correct shape is considered in evaluating body capacity. A large, strong, vigorous animal generally has the ability to consume and utilize larger quantities of feed. Goats that are wide and deep in proportion to their stature, as indicated by a deep, strongly supported barrel; ribs that are wide apart and well sprung and tend to increase in width and depth toward the rear barrel; a large heart girth resulting from long, well-sprung foreribs; and a wide chest floor between the front legs and fullness at the point of elbow." [End Qoute] As our program slowly develops we hope to continue to keep that strength & dairyness.
What is important on an Udder?
Ultimately, and udder that is well attached, with good width and height is best. Looking at capacity and where the milk "sits" will be helpful in understanding how the udder will hold up over time. Teats, orifices are a major consideration especially if hand milking. We prefer a longer plumper teat, easier to hand milk than long skinny or short teats. Teats pointing too far out (think sheep teats) will be very difficult to milk. Soft dairy skin and teats that do not go below the hocks are ideal. Careful not to judge those FF udders too harshly. If the structure is good but capacity is lacking wait on that 2nd udder. Is the udder easy to work with?
We base our udder evaluations off of the Linear Appraisal Program of the ADGA . The program is based on a scoring done by measurement. The minis do not have this mathematical evaluation but through the program we try to implement those principles. Keep in mind as you look through the pages the "25" IS NOT the ideal standard for each trait. The range of ideal is noted beside each trait. Attached is a link for the Blue Book of LA from the ADGA. WE ARE NOT APPRAISERS! We participate in the program to help us learn more and develop better traits for our program. Appraisers are highly skilled, highly trained individuals that sacrifice a great deal to help goat enthusiast understand their herd better. We are grateful for the program.
Fore Udder attachment - 35-42
Rear Udder Height - 40-45
Rear Udder Arch- 32-40
Medial Suspensory Ligament- 28-32
Udder Depth- 22-27
Teat Placement- 25-30
Teat Diameter- 18-28
Teat Length- currently be added to the program
Rear Udder Side view- 25-35
In a nutshell, you are looking for smooth extension of foreudder, udder height that is high (close up to the vulva) this also includes arch as both play a role in capacity. An upside down U shape is more desirable then an upside down V shape. When looking at those traits a FF may lack in this area, however if you know the history of your program you can then determine if that will improve by second freshening.
The medial, teat placement, length, and diameter are all very stubborn traits that the mini world contends with. Ideally a good medial, with plump, moderately long, centered teats are ideal. Of course the side udder view is 1/3 in front of leg 1/3 behind and 1/3 covered by leg.
Why should most bucklings be wethered?
Lets face it, it sure is tempting to list that F-3, F-4 (or higher) American Mini. You have been breeding and moving up in those generations, you have true gopher ears and an American status and surely that makes him more valuable right? MAYBE. Sadly many list that buck because those ears and gen # can demand a higher price and he has the right "look", but is that buck quality? Again we go back to the dam's udder. Do you want a whole herd of that udder? Buying a buck that is lacking will quickly destroy a program faster than a good buck can improve one. Not every buck is breed worthy. Do the breed a favor and wether those boys! There are many heritable traits that a buck influences. It takes years and many does to actually prove a buck. Generally 3 years before you can effectively see what he improves, traits passed etc. Even with mature proven bucks not all bucks genetics will line up with the does. If you breed long enough you will experience this. Retaining does from several different dams where the sire was the same will give the best feedback but often kids are born and if a buck looks promising he may be worth leaving intact. A good rule of thumb is if you don't love the dam's udder then snip snip! ;)