- Some general management practices are discussed here, namely condition scoring, ear tagging and record keeping.Condition scoring
Producers should be concerned with the body condition of their breeding animals. The term body condition refers to the body fat content of an animal. does should not be allowed to become too thin or too fat. Failure in reproduction, low twinning rates and low weaning rates will result if does are too thin. Overly fat does can suffer pregnancy toxemia, but fat does are rarely a problem.
The standard way of assessing the condition of individual goats on a scale of 1–5, where 1 is very thin and 5 is obese. It is a way of telling whether your goats are getting too little feed or too much. You assess three different things:
Loin eye area (either side of the backbone above the tail).
Table 7.1 Condition scoring criteria
|Score||Condition||Backbone||Rib cage||Loin eye area|
|1||Very thin||Stick out sharply (can even see), can feel individual vertebrae||Can feel each rib sharply||No fat covering|
|2||Thin||Can feel vertebrae but smooth||Smooth, need slight pressure to feel ribs||Smooth even fat cover|
|3||Good condition||Smooth and rounded||Smooth and well covered||Smooth even fat cover|
|4||Fat||Can feel with firm pressure||Cannot feel individual ribs, but can feel indent between ribs||Thick fat cover|
|5||Obese||Cannot feel individual vertebrae||Cannot feel individual ribs or indent
|Fat accumulated around the tail area|
A condition score of 3 for the doe is ideal at weaning, breeding and kidding.
|Body condition score|
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Record keeping is a key to any business to be successful. Records may include:
- Stock record; this is where the number of animals at the farm are recorded to their category.
- Sales record; this where you record the sales you make from your animals
- Expenditure record; this is where you record any expenses on your animals, and this helps to track the profitability of the animals you are keeping at the farm.
Your system should also be able to give you the following information:
- The exact number of goats that you have (broken down into different age categories)
- The dates when your does give birth and the number of kids born
- The number of goats that die (and the age when they die and cause of death)
- The exact goats that have been treated (for what and with what)
- Who the mother of any particular kid is
- When a particular buck was brought into the herd
- The age of any particular goat (the year it was born)
- The number of goats sold, time when they were sold and prices obtained.
Checking age of goat
The age of goats can be determined by looking at the goats’ teeth:
- The first permanent incisors come through at approximately 15 months of age – thus the goat will show 2 teeth
- The next two incisors come through at 21-24 months of age – thus the goat will have 4 teeth
- The next two incisors come through at approximately 30 months of age – thus the goat will have 6 teeth
- The last two teeth come through at approximately 36 months of age – thus the goat will have 8 teeth (it is said to be full-mouthed at this stage).
A young goat has “baby teeth” before the Using the teeth to determine the age of the permanent incisors emerge (left) while an adult goat goat shows permanent incisors (right)
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