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Editorial by
Keith Smith
I thought I'd start out the new year (2002 to those of you reading this in the future) by making some people mad. This editorial will be a collection of things that I've overheard (or read on e-mail discussion lists) in the last couple of weeks. As usual, I've added my two cents worth.

One breeder contends that
"A Boer buck should never be bred to a Myotonic doe". The reason: the doe would have a very hard time carrying the larger framed, more muscular offspring to term and then delivering them. The same breeder contends that "a Boer is no more than an overfed, fat milk goat".
My response: Uh, ma'am?... which statement about Boers do you want us to credit to you - too much muscle or not enough muscle?

Another breeder complains that
"The Boer show circuit is a waste of time because the judges consistently show bias toward white goats with red heads."
My response: Wouldn't it be nice if someone would tell that breeder that the main criteria the judge must follow is the breed standard. You know... a white body with a red head. I, personally, would never enter my purple goat in a Boer show.

Then there is the crowd that says
"Big breeders win all the shows - I don't stand a chance in the ring".
My response: The big breeder has 1000 head of goats to choose from. He has a pretty good chance of finding at least one good goat in that mob.
The "little guy" has 6 does (well, they're really nannies) that he bought at production sales for an average of $825 each. The reason the nannies were in the sales was because a "big breeder" wasn't getting good production out of them and was hoping to get $500 each. The nannies are now being bred to a $250 buck because the service is free and nobody with a good buck will let him breed these nags.
The complainer needs to know something else... the big breeder has invested big dollars in some very good breeding stock and still only gets about 10-20% show stock out of each crop. Plus, only about 50% of his high dollar stock is producing anything worth keeping. Why do you think there are such things as production sales in the first place?

"Show goats and production goats are not the same".
My response: Uhn... DU_UH! How very observant of you!
No, I do not pull my show goats right out of the pasture and stick them in the ring. I select what I consider to be my best overall prospects for competitiveness. Selection is based on conformation to breed standards, structural soundness, body style, maturity within the age class, trainability, and ring presence (attitude). My show goats are trained to exhibit their good points both in the ring and in my pasture. They are groomed to look their best while still adhering to the breed standard. I utilize a fitting service to trim and train them. Then I hope that the judge agrees with my selections. Winning also requires that no other breeder selected as well as I did on that day.
I would not expect any one of my show goats to be successful producers of meat crops. That's not what they do! Their purpose is to produce more show goats and replacement production animals. Sure, 10-20% of their offspring will be as good or better than their parents and will go on to be in shows themselves. But the majority of the offspring will be production animals. And you can buy them cheap!
Experience tell us that 10-20% will be meat, 10-20% will be show quality, and the remainder will go into commercial herds to produce meat kids. And that's using "high power" genetics. If we were using production quality animals we would end up with 10-20% replacement production animals, 10-20% barely edible meat animals, and the remainder good meat animals. That's the way genetics and statistics work - regardless of breed!

Boers from the United States couldn't survive in South Africa. The writer gave the following reason: we are saving too many of the animals that should have died at birth, thus weakening the genetic base.
My response: Oh, Come Onnnnn! Goats do just fine by themselves, thank you. They only get in trouble when we start overfeeding them, overcrowding them, overmedicating them, and make fatal breeding selections for them (such as a big chested buck over a small butted doe). Enterotoxemia can take a lot of your goats, Boer or otherwise. All you have to do is suddenly switch them from brown pasture graze to free choice green alfalfa hay - doesn't matter if you immunize them or not. Pregnancy toxemia? Death rates can approach 100% for some fools. Just try sticking a two pound coffee can full of 16% feed in front of an already fat p.g. doe every day during her 4th month of gestation. Oh, and let's not forget the classic "my goats have cocci from living in moist filth" whereupon we administer a strong thiamin antagonist (CoRid) to kill the cocci - in the process we can kill the goat's immune system.

And, while we're on feed... Don't believe everything you hear. Someone wrote that he was told to feed 27% protein processed feed and to counteract the resulting scours with Spectam Scour Halt. This sure wouldn't work for open or jackpot shows where the animal is expected to live a while. It might work for a terminal show. Two things come to mind here. First, whoever made that recommendation should be more careful who he tells "tall tales" to - the listener might not know any better and take him seriously. Second, The person who was told this just might want to go so far as to check another source.


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