Saturday, July 16, 2011

To Cull or Not To Cull.....

 Sooo Sometimes there is a decision to be made about an animal you have.. I am going to talk specifically goats.. (Hmmm imagine that huh?)
 This last year I did some major culling of different goats for different reasons. I try to look at the whole picture when making the decision.
 Do they keep good health? Thriving or Barely hanging on?
 How often do they need dewormed?
 And what dewormer had to be used? And how often?
 Coat shiny and soft?
 Do they have bare spots for no apparent reason?
 Eyes bright pink often?
 Hooves grow fast or slow?
 How many ribs are showing one or more? All the time or certain times of the year?
 How well do they eat?
 Do they eat what they should or pick through everything?
 Do they have a good layer of muscle over their bones? (this depends on the breed but even on my dairy I like to see a good layer of muscle)
 General personality and order in the herd needs to be taken into consideration. Sometimes Personality plays into it more than all of the above.
 How do they milk?
 What does their udder look like?
 How well have they kidded?
 How often did they need assistance with kidding?
 How did their condition hold after kidding and going into milking?
 Do they need lots of extra TLC to make it?
 Are they good mothers?
 If  they have kidded multiple times how many live kids over all?
 How have the kids thrived?
 How well did they grow?
 How does the scrotum look? This plays into future daughter for the shape, attachment and size of udders.
 Is it high and attached well?
 Large or small testicles?
 Split or rounded?
 Are the bucks easy to handle?
 What have the kids he has sired so far been like?

I go through all this. I don't have many goats so I can pretty much remember most of this but I do keep records to help. I also keep a book type calendar and write down everything I do for the goats or things they may do worth writing down.
 As I go through the list on each goat I consider each question to see if the good out weighs the bad. If it doesn't and its not anything I can fix  then I will consider what needs to be done in the issue of culling.
 Then you have to decide how to cull..Ugh!
 Do you sell the goat or do you send it to the processor? Or if its bad enough do you just put the goat down for good? I have at one time culled by selling one I should have put down. I wont do it again. But it was before I knew all I do now about goats. Since then I have sold some to be culled. But they were either going where they wouldn't be bred or they were going for meat. Not that I can guarantee that is the way they will always be but I do what I think is best for the animal at the time..
 When you buy animals of any type you have to be prepared to do what is necessary. Sometimes its no fun at all and can even be heart breaking.
When I did my culling last year I had one doe, April that milked well and kept good condition.. BUT I had had to assist with each and every kidding.. Out of the 13 babies she had when I had her only 3 made it to adulthood. Out of those 3 one is a fantastic doe(still have her), another was destined for the freezer and the other doe(sold her as a weanling) made it to her 1st kidding then died shortly after because of parasites. The doe didn't breed last year and got extremely aggressive. She was bred several times but never was pregnant. 3 out of 10 babies is not a good average.
 Then there is Sunshine.. She milks consistent peaking at about a gallon and then dropping to 3/4 and hates to dry up. Doesn't have good udder attachments but she has well formed teats and milks easy. She is skinny as a rail but hair is nice and shiny.. She has never lost a baby given me more does than bucks. Every time I think I may lose her she gets back up and keeps going She went Ketosis once and her hip popped out last year during kidding.. She does not pass on the skinnies to her offspring, her does are nice girls. I kept one last year and  now have a grand daughter. She also struggles with parasites but does not pass that on to her offspring either. Of course I also have an emotional attachment to her. She was one of my first goats.
 Then there is Hope who to me is an excellent doe. She was out of April the first one I mentioned above. But she has Fantastic Udder attachments. Easy to milk, Very calm, and friendly. I have never had to help her not even once with kidding. I go out and she has babies,up, dry and nursing, end of story..
 She rarely has parasite trouble. She keeps a nice slick coat and doesn't need BoSe shots as much as the others. The first bit of trouble I had was this year she started getting mastitis. But she came out of it in 3 days with no more than an antibiotic treatment and keeping it milked out. She milks good, peaking at a gallon and staying there for most of the season except this year when she got mastitis it dropped and didn't pick back up..  She has also won Grand Champion at our local fair 3 years in a row.  We didn't show her this year since we didn't show anyone but she will probably go next year 2nd time as a Senior doe..  I tell her she is just about perfect!lol.
 So this is how I do it.. I am sure others have different ways of doing things. I don't show in the big time so conformation is usually not a culling reason if they have other qualities. Our focus is family friendly milkers that are healthy, produce well and kid well! There are several reason to raise goats or other animals. You should have a reason why you have them, even if its just pets and take care of them well enough to meet that goal..
 I think I have covered everything for the most part. Hope this helps somebody..Have a good night all!
Proverbs 27:26-27

26The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.
27And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.



Brenda said...

Great post! Culling is sometimes hard and sometimes not so hard. Making the decisions based on the criteria you've covered helps it make sense. - I really like your verses from Proverbs!

matty said...

Good post! As you, I struggle with culling. So far, I have sold my bucks to folks I felt would keep them as pets and not eat them. As much as I pet them, I feel terrible when I think they might be dinner. If it is planned to sell for food, then I don't pet the animal any more than necessary to manage them. And, I don't name them! LOL Good advice and criteria!

Anonymous said...

Been there, done that! Now we're not breeding or selling goats anymore though.