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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so this seems to be a fairly controversial topic that I have seen, but I think it should make for a fun discussion. This is all your opinion, no wrong answer. What do you think is better to start off with average/above average animals and breed up or buy the best quality you can afford right from the start? I would like to see your opinion and why, especially from our fellow show breeders. Ready, set...go!
 

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Not a show breeder at all, but... when I first started I was not experienced in judging quality/conformation. To buy the best you can afford from the start, you would have to do a ton of research before buying. If you go by what the breeder tells you, you might think you bought great animals, but find out later, as you learn more, you didn’t...
In my experience a lot of learning happens while doing.
 

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Definitley buy the best you can afford. To me, there is no point in buying and possibly making the breed worse.
That's pretty much what I'm trying to do and its kinda a pain in the butt, and more expensive in the long run, constantly trying to find goats that will do well for my herd, especially bucks. Buy the best you can and improve the breed from there
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Not a show breeder at all, but... when I first started I was not experienced in judging quality/conformation. To buy the best you can afford from the start, you would have to do a ton of research before buying. If you go by what the breeder tells you, you might think you bought great animals, but find out later, as you learn more, you didn't...
In my experience a lot of learning happens while doing.
Sooo true. And most beginners don't even know where to start and are very reliant on others' opinions until they develop their own eye. Very steep learning curve with breeding goats and finding what works and why!
 

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Definitely, do your research and start with the best. You may have to save up a little longer, but it definitely pays off in the long run. If you have a goat that is the product of 20 years of breeding, you've just gotten that far ahead in your own breeding program vs starting from scratch. I didn't do my research when I got into registered goats at first, then I did and starting selling until I could afford better quality and develop my own line. Every year, I was able to afford a higher quality goat, but it would have been much easier and saved having to sell some favorites if I had started with better animals. I decided I wasn't going to make that mistake with horses and started with the best I could afford. It's already paid off.
 

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I bred up. When I first started my husband was seasonal and we were adjusting to another baby so I simply did not have the money. Looking back I am REALLY happy I did it this way for a lot of reasons. 1. I learned a lot the hard way. It sucker as it was learning on “cheap” goats and it probably would have broke me if they were expensive goats. 2. It took awhile to get a name. For people to see that I wasn’t all about money and I was a decent person. Every year I did better and better with my stock and I’m still doing better and have a ways to go for perfect. I’m 11 years in now and it was probably about 5 years ago my sales really took off. And 3. Is probably more important to me then others but when I started to dip into a lot better (more expensive) I was having a heck of a time finding good quality that would thrive with my management. I had a few that I ended up having to cull and it was a huge financial loss. If all my goats I had were those few it would have really sucked.
BUT I am NOT a show person. I think for those interested in showing it would be a total different ball game. Lesser quality doesn’t win. You would have to go for the best to fulfill your dreams. And if one isn’t even coming close to winning then It’s not fun or worth it to them and I could see them getting out of goats altogether. If that was the master plan for my goats then I most definitely would have gone for the best of the best. I also would have gotten my name out there faster by attending shows, and my management would have been different.
 

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Our method in the beginning was buying average (and above) does and breeding up. I'm glad we did! We had a limited livestock background and needed to learn the ropes before buying the best we could afford.

We started by buying several 4H quality does and breeding up from there. It has taken almost 8 years, but we've slowly improved our herd by both retaining/purchasing does and increasing the quality of our herd sires.

After our most recent kidding season, the majority of our top quality does are ones that are multiple generations deep into our genetics. By 2021, the majority of our breeders will be our very own does, and it feels so rewarding.

Here's a small example of our quality from 2015 vs 2020.
Top row: Left is a buckling from 2015. Right is a 2nd Gen buckling from 2020.
Bottom row: Left is a doe from 2015. Right is a 3rd Gen doeling from 2020.
Photograph Vertebrate Ecoregion White Green
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Definitely, do your research and start with the best. You may have to save up a little longer, but it definitely pays off in the long run. If you have a goat that is the product of 20 years of breeding, you've just gotten that far ahead in your own breeding program vs starting from scratch. I didn't do my research when I got into registered goats at first, then I did and starting selling until I could afford better quality and develop my own line. Every year, I was able to afford a higher quality goat, but it would have been much easier and saved having to sell some favorites if I had started with better animals. I decided I wasn't going to make that mistake with horses and started with the best I could afford. It's already paid off.
This seems to be very common where people sort of fall into goats and then start with what they already have vs. buying all new stock. Not a bad thing at all! I think it definitely teaches people HOW to breed and to appreciate all kinds of stock, not just the fancy show does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Our method in the beginning was buying average (and above) does and breeding up. I'm glad we did! We had a limited livestock background and needed to learn the ropes before buying the best we could afford.

We started by buying several 4H quality does and breeding up from there. It has taken almost 8 years, but we've slowly improved our herd by both retaining/purchasing does and increasing the quality of our herd sires.

After our most recent kidding season, the majority of our top quality does are ones that are multiple generations deep into our genetics. By 2021, the majority of our breeders will be our very own does, and it feels so rewarding.

Here's a small example of our quality from 2015 vs 2020.
Top row: Left is a buckling from 2015. Right is a 2nd Gen buckling from 2020.
Bottom row: Left is a doe from 2015. Right is a 3rd Gen doeling from 2020.
View attachment 190093
It is amazing to see the improvement, even in just a couple of generations!
 

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This seems to be very common where people sort of fall into goats and then start with what they already have vs. buying all new stock. Not a bad thing at all! I think it definitely teaches people HOW to breed and to appreciate all kinds of stock, not just the fancy show does.
Yes it is. And as others have mentioned, it is best not to start with high quality when you are just learning, unless you have a lot of hands on experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Where do you think herdsires fall in this? Do you think someone starting out could purchase average/above average does and invest in a high-quality buck who (they think) will cross well with their does and start improving from there? Or better to start over and sell the average/above does they have and buy high-quality does to cross with their buck? I have seen some significant improvement between a generation or two of goats when crossed with a complimentary buck.
 

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You can do both. There is nothing wrong with buying the best you can and breeding up from there. We all have to breed up its just a matter of where do you want to start. In my state 4H you get shamed if you dare to buy a nice doe to improve your herd.
I think everyone thinks breeding up is buying your neighbors 5 year old one eyed one teat doe and going up from there. Building up could be going to a reputable breeder and paying $450 for a doeling. There is no shame in starting where you want to start and we need to quit shaming those who do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You can do both. There is nothing wrong with buying the best you can and breeding up from there. We all have to breed up its just a matter of where do you want to start. In my state 4H you get shamed if you dare to buy a nice doe to improve your herd.
I think everyone thinks breeding up is buying your neighbors 5 year old one eyed one teat doe and going up from there. Building up could be going to a reputable breeder and paying $450 for a doeling.
Very true. And if you think about it no matter what you buy you are breeding up in some way, making improvements, etc. some are just more extreme than others.
 

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I personally buy up, I didn't start out with the best does or bucks but i'm slowly improving my herd every year. I think it works better for me. Let's say i bought a really high up buck and he was $$$$ where would i go from there? Then i would either buy one just as good or more expensive OR down grade...
 

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Both. Buy the best you can afford and breed up from there. There is always room to improve.
 

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Always breed up. Buying or raising your own depends on 1) budget; 2) timeline - breeding up and seeing enough results to judge the results takes years; and 3) available space/facilities/commitment - if you cannot keep enough babies to see your results you can't adequately judge your effectivenes.
The other consideration is purpose: show stock? performance (dairy or meat) gains? pets?
I raise pets for other people. I always look for better bucks, and I have to consider what's in style...I cull problems. Noticing a trend toward more dairyness and people wanting to milk their goats, my last 2 buck choices are more dairy type than in the past. Going away from pygmy-style to nigi-style, my herd is leaner & leggier looking, lighter weight and more colorful than it was 6 or 7 years ago.
 
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