Choosing Keeper Dairy Doe Kids

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by SundewFarms, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. SundewFarms

    SundewFarms Active Member

    Sep 23, 2014
    Weldon, CA
    What criteria do you guys personally use when deciding which doe kids to keep and which to sell? I'm having a heck of a time trying to decide with my own kids. Do you mainly base it on the appearance of the kid herself, or on the udder/production of her dam and sire's dam? Or some thing else? I need some ideas on how to narrow it down.

    Last year, I didn't have many does born, and I was able to keep everything, freshen them out as yearlings, and then make keep/cull decisions after I saw their udder. This year; however, I'm a bit inundated with doelings, and I have to make some cull decisions. I'm still very new at evaluating dairy goats, and I feel I might be a bit barn-blind, since I can evaluate other people's goats, but then struggle to do my own.

    Can anyone share some helpful tips?
  2. Goats Rock

    Goats Rock Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    NE Ohio
    It is hard for me to decide who to sell. I had 93 kids born this year. 50+ were does. I try and decide when I breed who's doe kid I will keep. Then, I look at the doe and her new kid and go from there. Right now I have 30 doe kids, I really only should keep 15-20. They are all 6-8 mo. old. The first to go will be the annoyances, then those with poor estruchions, poor teat placement, hard keepers, ones that get colds easy, the escape artists, the jump on me girls, (especially after repeated lessons on "down"), the ones I just don't really like (how silly is that?), etc.

    Unfortunately, most are from good milk and show lines. Sometimes I just toss a coin. It is hard to sell good kids!
    SalteyLove and ArborGoats like this.

  3. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2014
    SouthCentralKY, USA
    It is really hard sometimes. I agree. I have to say that, well, it depends on what I've decided to work on improving next, and that changes every few years. Poor conformation gets eliminated quickly, out of a set of twins, one gets moved on, usually based on who is more of an improvement over mother in some way, who does not get sick or wormy all the time...

    Right now I'm looking at who does not fall apart the moment I neglect the mineral buckets. Who has learned to drink from the creek instead of insisting on a water bucket. Who will go actively forage instead of hang around the house crying because I won't fill the hay feeder for her. Who, given the same management, stays in the better condition and is more survivable on my rough farm.

    And yes, " I just don't care for you that much. " is a legit reason. Goats are a lot of trouble, and it really helps when you like them personally.
    nancy d, SalteyLove and ArborGoats like this.
  4. ArborGoats

    ArborGoats Well-Known Member

    Jan 24, 2013
    My biggest deciding factor is choosing where I want to go. Do I want better attachments? Do I want a doe that can milk through? Longer lactation? Easier to dry off? Easy keeper?

    Look at buck/dam, is the doe an improvement? If her dam was a first freshener how is her udder? Is that the udder you want to keep reproducing? What can keeping that doe do for you?

    And it might not always be the easiest answer. For example I am keeping a doe this year that originally I had no intentions of keeping when I bred her mother. But she ended up being the only doe born from my Alpine buck. So for now she is staying simply so I can see what my buck will contribute when crossed with my current stock as far as udders go.

    Personally I am still new enough and haven't bred enough to be able to make informed guesses on who will have the better udder in doe kids. But I certainly know who is easier/fits with my program/and I will enjoy having long term.
    mariarose likes this.
  5. Ranger1

    Ranger1 Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2014
    I have a lot of requirements for a kid to stay because we don't have much space, but the first test they must pass is quietness and good nature. Screaming and shrieking at feeding time, when it rains, etc. will get their bags packed in three seconds. They must be level headed, and not a crazy maniac.
    After that, I take into account the dam, sire, etc. Also, by not selling does until they are three months old, I get a very good idea of their conformation. I want to see a nice level topline, straight rear legs, and an overall good appearance. One more thing that I do consider, is whether of not I plan on keeping the dam and/or sire. If I am, then I'm not in a huge hurry to retain kids from the cross, and may retain from other dams or sires that are being sold. Doing that though, I have to take into account the reason why the parents were sold. If it's just because I have too many milkers then I'll probably keep the kid. If she had an udder that I couldn't milk, the kid never stays-I don't want to take the chance of the daughter having the same problem.
  6. goatblessings

    goatblessings Fair-Haven Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Southwest Ohio
    I would also closely examine the granddam and grandsire on both sides -they contribute about 70% of the genetics to your kids. Agree with Ranger1 - I like to keep them until about 3 months. I also will ask some knowledgable folks to give me their opinion. I too have a very hard times evaluating my own kids. Sometimes their loving personalities get in the way of other things. ;)
    mariarose likes this.
  7. lottsagoats1

    lottsagoats1 Well-Known Member

    Apr 12, 2014
    Middle Maine
    All things being equal (nice udder, production, body type on both sides) I try to decide when I breed the does if I want to keep their daughters or not. If I already have a full sister, then probably not.

    Some things I look at for selling:

    Is she obnoxious/destructive?
    Does she seem to be parasite resistant?
    How do her hooves grow?
    Is she needy, both emotionally and in heath?
    Do I hate her guts?
    Is she an improvement on both parents?
    How is her appetite and her growth rate?
    Is she picky about her food?
    Does she have that "Look at me, I'm awesome" attitude?
    Are her hair whorls placed in such a way that shows she will be a superior doe (or buck, though I don't keep many bucks)
    Do I really need another goat??????
    groovyoldlady and goatblessings like this.
  8. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2014
    SouthCentralKY, USA
    I would gladly learn more of this. Is there a good thread?
    GaGoats2017 likes this.
  9. Jessica84

    Jessica84 Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    We are in such a tough business huh!
    I don't have dairy goats I have meat goats but I'll still let ya know what I do and try to do because I don't see how it would differ from one to the other.
    First I had to give myself a limit! This has probably been the best thing for not keeping them all. Of course over the years that limit has gone up but after the first big jump only by a few at a time. So my limit is 70. That means that if I'm sitting at 70 and I want to keep or buy one then it needs to be better then someone else and that someone else needs to go down the road.
    What I'm attempting to do and doing better at is just put them all for sale. Find a fair price and if it's one I really like I'm gonna tack some money on.....if Im really in love I tack even more on lol. If she sells I don't have to make a choice if she doesn't then she replaces someone. Now I have a few lines that I am overly thrilled with and I look at their dams and grand dams and on as far as have. As long as conformation is good. They are lines that I can say man I wish my whole her was this goat.
    But I also try and cull my does hard so if they are something I am not happy about then I don't have to worry about their off spring.
    But I think everyone has the same plan and that is to better their herd. If the kids are not better then what you have then why keep them? (This is a business view I admit I have some pets) with meat goats that's easy, we go off of conformation and growth, im not sure how you can tell on milk but you still have conformation.
    Might be helpful or not but here is my cull list
    Crazy! I don't do crazy any more. They are not worth the high blood pressure and after I lost a kid last year because it's dumb mom wouldn't let me catch her to reposition the kid those are gone.
    Fence crawlers, jumpers, climbers slide under. I want them to stay where I put them.
    Always needing more. More food, more attention in any way then the others be it worming or doctoring whatever.
    Singles. Second single a doe has they are gone. Singles don't pay bills around here.
    Fast growing feet.
    And just flat out having blah kids. Blah kids don't bring as much Money. I understand sometimes a doe will get down on her luck but if it's a constant then it's not something that I want.
    And bad mothers. First timers get a pass as long as in the end they realize that's my baby and I need to love my baby. After that though if a doe rejects her kids, doesn't clean them and love them they are at the next sale.
    Really I just want Hardy and easy going. When I only had a few goats I didn't mind little issues here and there but my biggest eye opener was when I was having to help a doe with her kids because her attachment was crap and hold another doe and make her feed her kids and go help this doe kid and move that doe into a stall I realized it was all total crap when the majority was just fine but those few were running me all over the place.
    I'm not sure if any of that was helpful or not but hopefully so ;)
    mariarose and wifeof1 like this.
  10. Ranger1

    Ranger1 Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2014
    There are a couple of threads, I think. Supposedly the hair whorls in the escutcheon are where the udder attachments are going to be, so the higher the better.
    mariarose likes this.
  11. nancy d

    nancy d Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    near Seattle
    We raise meat goats. I have found if there are more than a dozen of them including a buck or two
    (not a whole lot of space here & very little browse) the feed bill is astronomical for the budget.
    First time bad mamas are given a 2nd chance. After that they are gone. There have only been two of those over the years.
    Then there's the one or two who are a pain to catch. Bye bye. Jerky personalities as well.
    One doe is a regular screamer but she loves me and only gets loud at feeding time.
    mariarose likes this.
  12. SundewFarms

    SundewFarms Active Member

    Sep 23, 2014
    Weldon, CA
    Thank you everyone!! This was all super helpful!! I took some of your thoughts and ideas and got 2 kids sold over the weekend! And I managed to get several others posted for sale!

    Main thing that helped was taking the idea to set limits for myself. I decided to set the limits at 10 Nigerians(currently at 10), 10 Nubians(currently 4), and 20 LaManchas(I was at 25 before the weekend, so selling those kids drops it to 23). After the kids I have posted are sold, I'll be at 20 LaManchas. So now if I keep any Nigerian or LaMancha kids next year(which I most certainly will), adults have to be culled!
  13. Goats Rock

    Goats Rock Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    NE Ohio
    With adults, I've set goals with them. Milk amt. quality, udder type, then all the reproductive stuff and then back to the personality and Likability. If there is the prettiest goat with the nastiest personality and you dread dealing with her, get rid of her!
    SundewFarms likes this.
  14. SundewFarms

    SundewFarms Active Member

    Sep 23, 2014
    Weldon, CA
    I'm working on deciding what goal minimums to set for the adults. I know I will definitely require all of my mature girls to make enough milk to earn their milk star. I haven't decided yet if I will require yearlings to milk enough for a star or if I'll give them a pass until their 2nd freshening. I didn't milk any yearlings a full 305 this year, but did have several that were projected to earn their star, so I'll probably just see how next year's yearlings do on a full lactation before deciding to set a minimum.

    As far as linear appraisal, this year I culled any doe that appraised less than 80(thankfully only one). Next year I think I will cull any less than 85, with 80 the minimum for yearlings. I'd like to have a herd that all appraise 89 or above for mature does, 85 or above for yearlings, but I'm not there yet.

    Udder type, I'll likely cull next year based on ease of milking, udder attachments, and teat placement.
    ArborGoats and mariarose like this.
  15. Right now I look at dam's udder, sire's dam's udder and the conformation of the kid. I don't have the best eye, and I'm lucky to have space to keep any likely doe kids.