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Hardiest breeds- purebred or mix?

 
Sophie Thomas
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We are looking at bringing in 2 Toggenburg does next Spring for milking and eventually eating.

What have you found to be the best dual purpose breed? Are purebred, heritage breeds the best ("tried and true") or do people generally prefer mix breed?

I have not come across mix-breed goats where we are but I'm curious.
 
Chris Griffin
Posts: 54
Location: Eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mnts. Virginia
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Remember, this is just my opinion. There are lots of variables that go along with what you are asking, location, climate, area that you have for the goats and what you want the goats for. Where we are Boer goats don't fare to well, but cross them up one time and they tend to be healthier. Many goat breeds in the US are very inbred. People want big goats for meat or big udders for milk, so they look for those traits and for one reason or another they end up inbred or bred not to have a good physiology. One of the best cross breeding programs is the Kiko goat. Go to one of their registries and read about how the Kiko came about. It took many years to develop this breed, but the end product is probably the healthiest goat you will ever find. So, Yes, we like to do thoughtful cross breeding for traits that we want on our farm.
 
Sophie Thomas
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Excellent points! I suppose where I am the climate is temperate and most species flourish here so we see every breed from- Bohr, Alpine, Sannan, etc. Most people tend to keep the lines pure and choose the dual purpose breed that works best for their personal aesthetic and character tastes.

It sounds like the Kiko came about very similarly to the San Clemente Island goats. There doesn't seem to be any Kiko breeders here but there is a San Clemente Island goat breeder in the Gulf Islands.
 
Doug Mac
Posts: 79
Location: Humboldt County, California [9b]
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The differences between Kiko and San Clemente are huge. Years were spent breeding up the feral goats of New Zealand to achieve the Kiko. I wouldn't keep either as a milker. I think the best dual purpose pure bred is the Saanen. Good big goat with fair growth rate and good milk production. Saanen were used to improve the feral New Zealand goats to create the Kiko breed. Some people cross Nigerian Dwarfs with milk breeds to get a smaller milker with good meat conversion.

You can compare a lot of different breeds of livestock here:

http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/
 
Sophie Thomas
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I only meant similar in that they both derive from feral goats to create hardier breeds, that's all.

 
Doug Mac
Posts: 79
Location: Humboldt County, California [9b]
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Got ya! The San Clemente goats are pretty cool too! I didn't mean to poo poo them. The more uses that can be found for them the better. Have you looked at Kinder goats? They are a new smaller (non dwarf?) breed started in Oregon. I believe.
 
Sophie Thomas
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No worries at all

I looked up the Kinder goat- looks like an excellent option for a small homesteader! There doesn't seem to be any real availability up here in Canada though. Are they fairly established in the States?

I do love the history of the Toggenburgs and love that they are cold hardy. My family in Britain owns a small herd and the weather is extremely variable with harsh winter storms. Our weather doesn't get extreme (very often anyways) but it changes quickly and we get very long stretches of rain.
 
Doug Mac
Posts: 79
Location: Humboldt County, California [9b]
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I hear you about rain. We are in Humboldt County California. My goats have sheds they go into every night for predator protection and on rainy days I leave them open during the day. They can burn a lot of calories staying warm and that's calories they aren't using to grow or make milk.

Kinders are a newer breed, we don't see them around here.

In the end, for a small holder, I think it's most important to get what you like. If you had a 100 goats the difference might be a big deal, but if you have 5 or 10 not so much.
 
Joseph Fields
Posts: 170
Location: Berea, Kentucky
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I don't have goats. I do have some hair sheep, and game chickens. I definitely see the wisdom of going against the grain. I have game chickens because a fewer smaller eggs is better than no eggs. I had road island reds and red stars before, but they got picked of by hawks and other critters one by one.
Anyone who says sheep are dumb has never tried to catch up a Barbados. I am aiming at mixed breed flock. IMHO mutts are healthier animals.
 
Sophie Thomas
Posts: 36
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I like the idea of sticking with what I know and then playing with crosses later. I am a huge advocate for crosses in dogs and am a firm believer in hybrid vigour. At the same time I have a real appreciation for heritage breeds for agri animals
 
Chris Griffin
Posts: 54
Location: Eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mnts. Virginia
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In your area I would stay with Toggs or any of the alpine goats. They will provide milk better in the winter and they can still handle the normal summers.
 
A Philipsen
Posts: 58
Location: OR - Willamette Valley
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we get very long stretches of rain
This does not make goats happy, they might melt There are problems that go along with that, since goats are more of an arid-country critter. We get lots of rain too and the two problems that pop up over and over are one, they have a high mineral requirement and constant rains can leach that from the soil. And two, they can be very susceptible to foot-rot and other fungal stuff. I guess what I'm trying to say is that getting goats from a successful breeder nearby in the same rain might be more important than actual breed because they will be selecting for goats that thrive in your climate.

As far as mixed or purebred, mine are mixed because I'm cheap, but I have good does and I make sure to pick good quality bucks at breeding time because milking ability is important to me. In general, though, I think purebred breeders might be a little more careful than mutt breeders about the quality they breed.

Kinders are, I think, a nice compromise between milk and meat if you get a good quality one. The problem being that almost no one considers milking ability when breeding Pygmies. Just breeding them to a dairy breed does not guarantee that the offspring will have decent udders or production. However, that's all they were to begin with, a Nubian x Pygmy. If you want one and can't find one, get a Nubian doe or two and a Pygmy buck and make your own. If you get less than ideal udders, it gives you a goal to breed for.
 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator
Posts: 420
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Nubian cross!

Nubian boer cross goats are nice milkers and meat goats and good eaters. Quiet, gentle disposition, lots of delicious creamy milk, big meaty kids.

I am going to cross a kiko to my 50/50 boer cross and keep a buck from that cross probably, she always has HUGE kids and her daughters have big kids, even though I was using dairy bucks before. She is a hard worker and a good grazer and browser.

I have a few colored goats that I guess are boers and a bunch of dairy cross goats with a bit of boer in most of them. I am going to breed them a couple years to kiko then I will probably try to get a Tennessee Meat buck but perhaps just use one of the 50% or 75% sons. TMG's are hardy too but are more recommended as a terminal sire breed.
 
Doug Mac
Posts: 79
Location: Humboldt County, California [9b]
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Here are my Kiko does! You can see how chunky they are.
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Rocco Hagar
Posts: 16
Location: Texas
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We've tried a few cross breed experiments. Boer-Spanish, Boer-Nubian, Full blood Boer-percentage Boer, Boer/Nubian-Myotonic and Boer-Myotonic.

IMO the crosses do show a vigor. Some other breeders of Boers have conducted their own X-experiments and, keeping better notes than I do, illustrate that there was no real advantage to a hybrid at weaning date at least as far as weight gain.

I like the personality of the Boer-Nubian cross. They do tend to be leggier than full blood Boers and less meaty in the hind quarters (which is roughly 30% of the meat on a goat). If I were wanting a cross for milk-meat I would definitely consider this cross.

For meat alone, in my area anyway, I like the Boer-Myotonic cross. You get the quick growth of the Boer and the better muscling of the Myotonic. The cross yields about 6-10% more muscling. The Myotonic breed is also an easier kept goat - less parasite problems, easier on fences, etc. And, just based on my own observations, are less picky eaters. They will clean up hay that my Boers turn their noses up at!
 
Carolyn Pindzia
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IMO the Kiko is the hardiest breed, whether as a pure bred or to cross with. I have a 5 year old Kiko buck, that I raised as a bottle baby. He has the best feet, I've only had to trim his feet maybe 3 times, ever. My Boers have to be trimmed every 2-4 months.
He is very parasite resistant, I have wormed him maybe once a year, and he keeps a very low fecal egg count, and good FAMANCHA score.
His mother was a very good milker as well, and I can milk his half Boer daughters as much volume as my purebred Toggenburg or Nubian does.
 
Carolyn Pindzia
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IMO the Kiko is the hardiest breed, whether as a pure bred or to cross with. I have a 5 year old Kiko buck, that I raised as a bottle baby. He has the best feet, I've only had to trim his feet maybe 3 times, ever. My Boers have to be trimmed every 2-4 months.
He is very parasite resistant, I have wormed him maybe once a year, and he keeps a very low fecal egg count, and good FAMANCHA score.
His mother was a very good milker as well, and I can milk his half Boer daughters as much volume as my purebred Toggenburg or Nubian does.
 
Melba Corbett
Posts: 164
Location: North Carolina
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I think there are hardy animals in nearly every breed, you just have to select for them. I raise American Nubians and cull extensively. Out of 8 kids born, I may not keep any. I select for the dual purpose Nubian, meaty and stocky in every respect and adequate milk, about a gallon a day. I give them until age 2 to meet the milking requirement, and if they don't, they get culled out, along with any offspring. I still get some that are bony, wiry, and every bite they eat makes milk but not flesh. They are a cull. The few I have left are extremely hardy, good foragers and great mothers.

A friend of mine raises Boers and has crossed some with Nubians who made really good milkers, although teats were a little tougher and harder to milk, but great animals.
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Midnight's udder
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Cinnabar (herd sire)
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Red Cloud (herd sire)
 
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