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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm trying to learn how to spot potential kids better. Anyone want to play along and help me see something I'm not or confirm what I do? Adults are easier, but not kids. They change daily it seems. LuLu is 3 weeks today, a standard Nubian. And a little stinker.

So some things I'm seeing:

- Nice level brisket developing.
- Pretty wide between the front legs (passed from her sire).
- She stands wide between the back legs (I don't have a pic from today but have one from a few days old) She def gets that from her dam and I love that.
- Topline...meh...much like her dam's which is distinct in the lines we're using. However, her sire is very level and LuLu looks very level when on the move, AND I've seen kids go straight then high rump then straight and back and forth for a while until closer to a year or so.
- Back legs are not overly curved and hocks sit under pin bones
- Not in pick, nice spacing between rib bones

Some things I'm iffy on here:
- Neck, seems longer at times and shorter at others. Can't see the "dairyness" of it yet nor the blending
- Front legs - I never noticed before how knobby their knees can be as growing. To me her legs don't seem straight in the front....but, how much is due to still being young and growing?

Anything else?

How does everyone else choose their keeper kids? I can't keep them too long past weaning to be able to choose the best, so I want to figure out how to get a better eye for kid confirmation. I absolutely love everything about her dam's udder as a FF with a couple of minor changes which her sire hopefully changed. Our focus is more on udders, milk production and long lactations. So I do want good confirmation but I focus a bit more emphasis on milking.

lulu 3 wk 1.jpg
lulu 3w 2.jpg
lulu 3w 3.jpg
lulu 3w 4.jpg
lulu 3w 5.jpg
 

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First, with a few exceptions, good conformation is all about milk production. Everyone will have their own methods for this, but here is how I chose keeper kids. My goal was more does in my herd name, so before the kids were born, I would have a set number of kids I would be retaining, usually 3. Then, after the kids were born, I would compare them with each other and pick the best 3. I would keep them past 6 weeks, because while some kids stand out from day one, others can be much harder to judge because they grow out awkward or they are late bloomers. Nubians can be especially awkward growing. Sometimes I would even take them to a show and see how they did. My final decision was always done by laying out all the pedigree information of the kid, trying to look at everything about her in an unbiased way as if I were thinking of buying her. I would ask myself, is this what I want in my herd? Will she improve my herd? Would I purchase her if I saw her for sale? And if the answer was no, I sold her and bought a better doe. If yes, then I would keep her until she freshened and re-evaluate then.
With Nubians, I usually kept my keepers about 3 or 4 months. With a small herd, I had room for that. Others may have better ways, but that was how I did it and I was usually pleased with my keepers who I decided could stay until freshening. I never regretted selling any of my kids either for conformation reasons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes I agree about confirmation goes inline with milk. I guess I meant that I am aiming my focus a little more there than trying to have perfect confirmation in every area. But I'm working on both hence why I am trying to get a better eye at kids.

All the doelings will generally stay until 4-6 months as I decided anyway. I want them here as they are raised on milk so I can grow them properly. If there is one I know right off the bat won't be staying, then they'll move on as bottle babies. Our herd is pretty small so there isn't always a lot to choose from (last year we had 7 boys and 2 girls!)

I've def sold some on confirmation and on udder/production. I'm ok with culling for that. I've also culled based on personality, even with a good pedigree. I just don't want to get "barn eyes". All signs point to her being a great doe...and so far it's seeming that the sire improved some things, even at 3.5 weeks old I see a few things. But like you said in the post, I have a set number I'm keeping as I want to keep my herd a certain number esp to make room NEXT season too as I am planning on specific breedings to accomplish certain goals. I just don't want to make the wrong decision! Lol.
 

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Some don't think you can tell much by looking at kids, but I think knowing your genetics is key.

I am a believer in finding a good, strong dam line and working with the minimum number of does as possible, then retain kids and build up. This really helps teach you about your animals. You may have a decent doe who produced the best kids and a phenomenal doe may produce culls. I find when a breeder brings in so many different animals it is really hard to find what "works" for you. I've seen breeders have 30+ does from 20+ different farms and genetics. All may have "great genetics" but what really works for YOU? Don't have the "best" goats? That's okay. Breed up. It's better to breed up (from animals that may not be quite what you want) then to breed down (from stellar animals)- and many people end up breeding down because they didn't know how to work with the stock they had (it happens!!)

I've found that kids that are not clean kneed don't end up being clean kneed as adults, but it may be less apparent. So, watch this kid and see if she grows out of it.

Generally the kids we pick as the "best" stay the best. There have been some kids where it really is a toss up but there may be very subtle differences and you have to decide what you rather have. Normally I like to retain sisters, but last spring I just couldn't and needed to make cuts early on. You have to decide what is the biggest thing your herd needs work on.
If you need better feet, keep the kid with the better feet even though she may dip slightly in the chine.

There are generally several kids that just catch my eye right away. Those kids tend to end up being our best. I've had several kids just blow me away moments after being born, when they stood up, everything just fell into place and lined up as it should. Those kids grow up to be our best kids/dry yearlings, and then eventually milkers.

Knowing whether or not a kid will freshen with that perfect udder is difficult and IMO one of the hardest things to predict, tough you can get some "hints" you just need to see them fresh.

Evaluating kids from pics an be tough as often times it is not representative of the kid- the just don't stop moving!

Here's a kid we picked within a hours. Everything just tried to line up as it should. She's less than 24 hours in the newborn pic. But you could see she was something special Lemon drop.PNG

Rather then type it all out, here's a really good link for understanding conformation. It's ADGA and their scorecard is not the same as MDGA but it's a good resource http://adga.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Pre-TCTrainingMaterials.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Some don't think you can tell much by looking at kids, but I think knowing your genetics is key.

I am a believer in finding a good, strong dam line and working with the minimum number of does as possible, then retain kids and build up. This really helps teach you about your animals. You may have a decent doe who produced the best kids and a phenomenal doe may produce culls. I find when a breeder brings in so many different animals it is really hard to find what "works" for you. I've seen breeders have 30+ does from 20+ different farms and genetics. All may have "great genetics" but what really works for YOU? Don't have the "best" goats? That's okay. Breed up. It's better to breed up (from animals that may not be quite what you want) then to breed down (from stellar animals)- and many people end up breeding down because they didn't know how to work with the stock they had (it happens!!)
Oh yes, this is something I thankfully learned early on. I studied lines for a while that kept the same goals and such that I was aiming for and only really limit myself to 2-3 herds that I know work well together. I didn't want a large herd and I def didn't want so many lines to work with. It was also something that clicked with me that I wanted to breed my own "foundation" so to speak instead of buying the best of the best and starting there. I know the best ones in my herd will not be "the best" for a bit, def breeding up!

There are generally several kids that just catch my eye right away. Those kids tend to end up being our best. I've had several kids just blow me away moments after being born, when they stood up, everything just fell into place and lined up as it should. Those kids grow up to be our best kids/dry yearlings, and then eventually milkers.
Very helpful!

Here's a kid we picked within a hours. Everything just tried to line up as it should. She's less than 24 hours in the newborn pic. But you could see she was something special View attachment 168587
Ahhhh yes totally can see it right away in her 1 day old pic! And she's stunning grown!

Rather then type it all out, here's a really good link for understanding conformation. It's ADGA and their scorecard is not the same as MDGA but it's a good resource http://adga.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Pre-TCTrainingMaterials.pdf
Thanks! I've been studying all the LA information (and signed up for LA this year) as well as the scorecard too. I feel like I've gotten the hang of adults (but always still some skill to strengthen) but kids, I guess because they change so much, I worry about sending off the best and keeping the not so good. I'm probably way overthinking it!
 

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I'm glad the info was helpful!

It's hard to NOT overthink it! I completely get it!
Even though we are pretty good at picking, I still get nervous esp when picking really young kids! Before my does ever kid, I try to tell myself who I'm going to keep kids from, and who's kids will be sold. Summer 2016 my doe "CarolinaGirl" was due to kid. I already had two of her daughters (both already earned their dry leg) and would be selling these upcoming kids. I expected nice kids but the sire wasn't my most favorite and I need to downsize anyway. Easy, right?
Then... the unthinkable happened (rofl) She kidded triplets. 2 does and a buck. This one doeling just took my breath away, and the sister was really nice. I didn't care what I told myself before, I'm keeping those kids. The kids hit a week old. I loved them. After a few weeks I kept thinking "Wow, this might be the nicest kid I ever bred". They were all nice, but little Willow was just special. I showed her twice last year. She was GCH twice and BEST IN SHOW TWICE! Her sister also earned her leg at her first show in 2018. Just goes to show you, wait until those kids are born! ;)
 

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I am a believer in finding a good, strong dam line and working with the minimum number of does as possible, then retain kids and build up. This really helps teach you about your animals. You may have a decent doe who produced the best kids and a phenomenal doe may produce culls. I find when a breeder brings in so many different animals it is really hard to find what "works" for you. I've seen breeders have 30+ does from 20+ different farms and genetics. All may have "great genetics" but what really works for YOU? Don't have the "best" goats? That's okay. Breed up. It's better to breed up (from animals that may not be quite what you want) then to breed down (from stellar animals)- and many people end up breeding down because they didn't know how to work with the stock they had (it happens!!)
What would you consider a minimum number of does? We're going into our second kidding season of registered goats with the following:
2 coming 7 yr old does who are sisters
2 does related via grandsire
Mother/daughter pair, daughter will be first freshener
Second freshener, will likely be up for sale after kidding

The above represents four different genetic lines. Is that a reasonable start or too diverse? We've retained 3 doelings from last year (one each from the coming 7 yr olds) and one from the coming second freshener and purchased another doeling last year from different lines. I plan on retaining more doelings this year, but will need to make cuts too. I don't want to exceed 14 does/doelings.
 
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