Here are a few (you guessed it)
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I get started in Miniature Dairy Goats?
Just because an animal is 'registered' doesn't make it a good one. And poor ones cost the same to feed as good ones...
Having said that, starting out it is best to first learn what a 'good' dairy goat looks like. There are many websites and educational materials available which can help you learn this. 4H materials are especially helpful to beginners.
Being dairy animals, milk production is important. You will want to find animals that have milk production records of some kind, either official or unofficial, so you can pick animals with the genetics to be good milkers.
You will want to find animals that are conformationally correct, having well attached udders and good feet and legs. If you are interested in showing you will want them to be competitive in the show ring, so you will probably want to get them from a herd that already shows. To train your eye to recognize a good animal when you see it, nothing beats attending dairy goat shows. You will learn a ton from watching them and also find people with the type of animals you like.
Remembering that blue eyes, moonspots, and cuteness have nothing to do with dairy ability or the showring, might help you pick out better animals in the long run.
Remember that actual records (of milk production, show wins, etc.) are generally more reliable than hearsay, though bearing in mind that not all breeders can or want to participate in the programs that award these. Look for animals where the breeder can show you actual parents, or at least pictures of FORE udders (not just rear udder shots 3 days fresh), as many generations back as possible on both sires and dams, and allow you to actually milk dams or other relatives yourself if you can.
And remember, that once you do your homework and find animals that meet the above criteria, you will likely also have found a mentor that will help you REALLY learn about dairy goats.
What's with that Generation stuff?
A registered Nigerian Buck bred to a registered standard Doe is the foundation breeding (F) in the TMGR
Herd book. F1 simply means that animal is one generation from foundation. F2 is two generations from foundation, etc.
At Purebred status (F6), the F designation is dropped. If both parent animals are Purebred, their progeny will be Purebred and registered as such.
A registered Nigerian bred to a registered standard dairy breed produces a 1st Generation Mini (F1).
An F1 bred to an F1 produces an F2, an F2 bred to an F2 produces an F3, etc. Breeding two animals who are the same generation (Fx) will produce the next highest generation (Fx+1).
When breeding animals of different generations together, the resulting kids will always be one generation higher than the lowest generation parent. For instance, an F2 bred to an F5 will produce F3 kids.
A breeder may want or need to bring additional desireable genetics into the next generation by breeding a mini animal back to a standard or nigerian. Kids resulting from a standard parent are always F1. Any generation bred back to a standard (F) still produces an F1.
How do I upgrade to American or Purebred herdbooks?
Any F3 through F5 animal meeting the breed standard requirements can be considered for American status.
Any F6 animal meeting the breed standard requirements can be considered for Purebred status.
If an Experimental animal currently has registration papers, send the original papers with quality pictures that include a front and side view and height measurements at 1 year of age or more. Do not be concerned that if, at 1 year, the animal is slightly under minimum height standard for that breed. Animals often continue to grow into their 4th and 5th year.
Height measurements need to be taken and signed by another breeder, veterinarian, or show judge on the original registration certificate. New registration papers for qualifying animals will be issued as American or Purebred, depending on the generation.
Offspring of Purebred animals will automatically receive Purebred status when registered unless they do not meet Breed Standard requirements.
Most animals can be upgraded to American or Purebred provided they meet registration requirements and Breed Standards. Animals not meeting Breed Standards will still be registered in the Experimental herdbook and can be used in an individual breeding program. However, Breed Standards will be adhered to in the show ring.
All breeds of Mini Dairy Goats have a minimum height requirement of 21” for does and 23” for bucks once they
reach Purebred Status (F6).
Why are Pygmy crosses not allowed?
By definition Miniature Dairy Goats are dairy animals and the result of crossing standard dairy goats with Nigerian Dwarfs, which are also considered dairy goats. The introduction of non-dairy goat genetics is not allowed. This means no Pygmy, Boer, Kiko, or other meat type crosses can be considered for registration.
Why should I care about health testing? They're just goats.
Knowing you are starting out with animals free of diseases and detrimental health conditions will save you time and money in the long run. Introducing disease into an otherwise healthy herd is a heartbreaking event. Some diseases can be detected by blood testing. The two of most interest to goat breeders are Caprine Arthritis (CAE) and Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL). There is much information on the internet about these diseases and how to test for them. Other diseases such as pinkeye and soremouth, and parasite conditions (worms and lice) are things to be aware of.
Reputable breeders either test regularly for CAE/CL or have reasons for not doing so that they can explain. Do not be afraid to ask to either see paperwork validating negative test results, or ask to have the animals you are interested in blood tested before you buy them.
Percentages..... what's that about?
In Miniature Dairy Goats, the foundation animals consist of two separate breeds. The resulting offspring from a standard animal and a Nigerian Dwarf are always 50% from each. From there it gets complicated. (OK, not really.)
As each generation progresses, the percentage of standard dairy goat 'blood' and Nigerian 'blood' can vary depending on the percentages carried by the parent animals. Some can be say, 75% standard/25% Nigerian, or vice versa. Those animals could be bred together and the offspring would still be 75% standard/25% Nigerian. Other percentages may not be quite as obvious.
The easy way to determine the percentage of the offspring is to add the parents' percentages together and divide by 2. When percentages differ (say 60% Nubian/40% Nigerian sire and 50% Nubian/50% Nigerian dam) the same rule applies. 60+50 (nubian side) divided by 2 = 55. This means the offspring are 55% Nubian and (the other side) 45% Nigerian. (100-55=45)..... get it?
Many breeders have found that the percentages with the most desireable charactistics are generally within the 60/40 (or 40/60) ratio. The beauty of Miniature Dairy Goats is that breeders are free (within the limits of the Breed Standards) to breed whatever percentages they like best.
Can I register a goat with no papers?
In some cases you can. TMGR will register some Native on Production animals if they have official production records available. It's best to check with the Registrar if you have questions about registering grades. Please read the Registration Rules to determine if your animal qualifies.
Tattoos, are you kidding?
According to many state laws, goats require identification in order to be transported across state lines. Animals must also be permanently identified if they participate in Milk Testing. And, goats must be properly identified when they are first registered, and when being shown, in order to prove their identity. These tattoos must be listed on registration forms when animals are registered. TMGR tattoos are recognized by USDA as valid methods of ID.
All animals except LaManchas are tattooed in the ear. LaManchas are tattooed in the tail web. The right side tattoo is reserved for the tattoo sequence assigned to breeders with a registered herdname. The left side tattoo consists of a year designator letter, and an individual unique number assigned to that animal alone. Example: CCP/F12.
TMGR requires tattoos to be assigned to animals upon registration but does not require tattoos on the animal IF the animal carries an RFID microchip. Animals with microchips need to be accompanied by a microchip reader whenever they are transported, and if shown, a microchip reader must be available at the show (usually provided by the owner) in order to read the ID. Animals may carry both a tattoo and a microchip. Microchips are generally inserted in the tail web of the animal.
I still have questions!!! Help!!!
Of course you do. That's why we're here. You can ask questions or join the conversation by checking out the TMGR FaceBook pages at https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheMiniatureGoatRegistry