MY THOUGHTS ON MEAT GOATS
Goats are not suited to be feed lot animals. Goats are browsers. They need to have space to roam with a forage based diet as nature intended. Which came first the feed store or the goat? Goats are easy to care for when raised naturally. Do not overcrowd them, keep your stocking rates lower than suggested, provide clean dry rain proof shelter for them, fresh clean water, a good free choice mineral, rotational grazing and a varied forage based diet. Limit feeding concentrates, its just not natural! Parasite monitoring and control is necessary. Famacha is a good tool to evaluate a given animals parasite load. Good fencing and livestock guardian dogs are essential. We use Akbash dogs. Goats are great when allowed to be goats .....just don't try to make them cows or hogs.
Meat goat "breeds " are a sensitive subject. Almost every breeder has a favorite. Kind of like politics and religion it can get very personal.
All newcomers should read the research done by Dr. Richard Browning, Dr. Maria L. Browning , Dr. Frank Pinkerton , Dr. Lou Nuti, Dr. Phil Sponenberg and a host of other university research papers. I am convinced that there is NO ONE PERFECT breed for every one.The environment is a factor that shaped the development of many breeds.
I recommend selecting goats that were developed in an environment similar to what you propose to raise them in. Manage them as naturally as possible, select for the traits important to your herds improvement. Apply performance based selection parameters over time and keep good records.For commercial meat goat producers purebred goats are not essential. A first generation cross between two breeds with a high heterosis index makes a good terminal market animal or production doe. Well bred purebreds are desired for the conservation and maintainance of specific traits breeders desire. The key words being well bred .
Since we retain our product for value added production our goal is to raise a kid crop that is ready to process in less than a years time, with maximum yield and minimal input. Dr. Lou Nuti and Dr. Phil Sponenberg helped me to see the light. They convinced me that a good Myotonic buck brings the heterosis needed in a terminal sire breed .We are now using good Myotonic bucks to produce the commercial goats we need. We also breed PUREBRED MYOTONICS selecting for performance based genetics RELATIVE TO COMMERCIAL MEAT PRODUCTION to improve the commercial meat goat industry. We like MYOTONIC GOATS, they work for us !
Try Myotonic meat goats. America's Gourmet meat goat. Its been here all the time! I recommend reading THE MEAT GOAT HANDBOOK written by Yvonne Zweede-Tucker. From page 46 of that book the following quote is taken. "The breed's meat characteristics (tenderness and juiciness) are well liked by customers,and processors wish that more Myotonic or Myotonic influenced goats arrived at their processing facilities".
Keep it simple, do not overcrowd, maintain a forage based diet, have good fencing,minimize or eliminate concentrated feed, provide fresh water,good minerals,dry shelters,rotational grazing , use livestock guardian dogs and control parasites..and enjoy your goats!
I also recommend Dr. Frank Pinkerton's articles on meat goats and his book entitled "A Compilation of the Wit and Wisdom of 'THE GOAT MAN".
A COUPLE OF YOUNG MYOTONIC INFLUENCED COMMERCIAL BUCKLINGS