Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Conformation Part 1 - Feet

Being dual purpose, Kinder goats carry a great deal of weight on relatively small feet and legs. Carrying their own weight, the weight of multiple kids, and lots of milk, they often carry as much or more weight as their full sized relatives, but do so on smaller frames. This makes strong feet and legs even more important than ever for our goats.

Your goats' feet and legs are literally the foundation of your herd, so making sure that they will hold up for the lifetime of your goats is imperative. Once a goat begins having foot or leg issues, problems begin to compound, and their productive life dramatically decreases. Goats with foot and leg problems forage less, play less, and become less fit. Because they are less fit, kidding becomes more difficult and dangerous. Unfit bucks are less virile, and breeding becomes more difficult. Does lay down more, creating a greater risk of mastitis and infection. Avoiding problems like these can often be as simple as buying goats with good feet and strong pasterns.

So what should you be looking for? In this first illustration, the goat to the far left has the feet and legs that we should be breeding for:

Strong, solid, tight feet are ideal. Toes should point straight forward, not point in or out. Here are examples of goats that toe out in the front and rear feet, respectively:

Toes should also sit tightly together, not spread out to form a V between them:

Even with her winter hair, you can see that there is no separation in this doe's toes:

Look for goats with level feet, as well - they should be the same depth at the heel and the toe, and run parallel to the hair line at the top of the hoof. They should not be flat, low in the heel, crooked or malformed. Although her hair hides the top of the hoof, this is a good example of a nice level foot:

Regardless of whether your goats are headed for the show ring, the backyard, the milking stand or the freezer, breeding for good feet will reward you with a happier, healthy, more productive herd.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Conformation - Introduction

Every year, many Kinder goats are bought and sold. Some by experienced breeders, others by people with a working knowledge of goats, and still others by beginners wanting a family milker or a pet for their children to show in 4H.

As breeders, we need to be very conscientious when deciding which goats to sell. After all - they are all cute as kids, but when a goat that doesn't conform to our breed standards ends up being shown at the local fair, they do so with your herd name, and the Kinder name on them. Every goat you sell helps or hurts your reputation as a breeder, and the reputation of all Kinder goats. Because of this, each one of us need to know the Kinder breed standard, and recognize when a goat does not conform to it. When we find a goat lacking, we must be willing to make the hard decision to cull that goat. It is the only way that the Kinder breed, and our individual herds, will improve.

As buyers, it pays to learn as much as we can about conformation and the Kinder standard, too. None of our goats are perfect, but if we are aware of the fault within our herds, we can purposely buy or breed to animals that can improve upon the weak areas within our herds, while maintaining the strengths.

In order to better understand the breed standard, and to more easily recognize strengths and faults within our herds, we will be discussing each aspect of the standard in great detail over the coming months. Hopefully, this will make it easier for everyone to buy, breed and sell good stock, and work toward improvement within their herds.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Votes Are In!

The votes are in for the 2013 Kinder Goat Breeder's Association board positions!
Membership voting was higher than in past years, so thank you all for your enthusiasm and participation. The elected board members for 2013 are as follows:

President - Sue Beck

Vice President - Lisa Lamm

Secretary - Jean Jajan

Treasurer - Lisa Nauman

Member at Large - Carla Durham (on-going position)

Member at Large - Deb Ezzati

Member at Large - Beth Ten Dolle

Congratulations and welcome to all new board members! These members bring a diverse set of background experiences and leadership qualities to the KGBA, and I look forward to working with the entire board as we pursue exciting new opportunities to grow and improve.

While we are thrilled to welcome these new members to the KGBA board, the change is bittersweet, as we bid farewell to three long-time members and KGBA leaders.
Sue Huston, Ramona Birdsall and Dawn Leaming have all been on the board or years, working tirelessly for our members and our beloved goats. Dawn spreads the word about the Kinder goat at every opportunity she gets, and Sue and Ramona have worked hard to get Kinders into the show ring, and improve the breed through herd evaluations and education. Ladies - thank you so much for your hard work and dedication - the breed is better for having you in it, and we look forward to your continued involvement in it!

Thank you again to all our members for your hard work, support and participation!


Sue Beck
Vice President