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Should I breed for milk or conformation?

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Old 06-24-2013, 02:17 AM   #1
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Default Should I breed for milk or conformation?

Last year my only milking doe gave me two doelings. I had them bred in the fall and this spring they kidded. I kept good records and one sister gave an average of a quart a day more than the other. But the low producer had a bit better conformation, slightly lower rump and better attached udder. I never would have guessed she would give less unless I had bred them both at the same time.

I'm a home milker and milk production is why I keep breeding. I have access to high quality show bucks to breed to and believe in breeding up each year. Both of these first fresheners gave me doelings. Is there any way to predict who will be the best milkers without having to breed a total of five does (one established milker and four doelings) this fall?

Since I am breeding up each year to a different really nice buck with good milk lines, am I hurting the long term milk production or health of the herd in any way by choosing to breed the daughters of the "not as nice looking but better producing" doe over the "nice looking but less milk" doe?

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Old 06-24-2013, 02:44 AM   #2
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I would go with what is most important to you. Is there a significant difference in udder attachment. The other doe could be a great producer next year too. Poor attachment will only be helped so much with a good buck. But then again if milk is most important. You still want good conformation since you want these girls to lactate a long time.

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Old 06-24-2013, 02:49 AM   #3
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Well, I would definitely say breed for both, but if you just want milk, than breed for udders.
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Old 06-24-2013, 03:34 AM   #4
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Well, being that these are both FFs, I wouldn't expect too much in the milk department. As the does grow, so does the udder capacity so maybe next season she'll give 2 quarts. Does always produce more on their second lactation than on their first. So, I would breed her again, but if you still aren't pleased with the amount of milk she's giving then I would consider selling her.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:58 PM   #5
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Personally, I would rather have a more correct doe that gives a little less than a doe that pounds out the milk but has a horrible body. The one with the less amount of milk will last a long time (all things being equal) because her body will stand up to the test of time, and produce more over that life time than one who only lives/produces a few years because he body breaks down. I want my does producing well into their teen years. That is only achieved with good dairy conformation.

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