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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(Split from longer thread on Packgoat Breeds... admin)

I read through the thread, finding the posts quite interesting, but, nobody brought up my biggest concern with Nubians, for those of us further north.

About 40 miles from me, in an actually warmer area is a herd of mixed meat goats, with a number of Nubians and some crosses.

Among the cross youngsters of this years are two doelings with their ears froze so short that they look like Lamanchas.

Their goats all run in and out of a good sized barn that is open. They have Boers(their main breed) plus Alpine does, several Saanen cross does and a number of Boer crosses. The only ones with ears getting frosted or frozen are their Nubians and their crosses.

We had a few days in the -25s last winter, and more in the -teens. So I seriously wouldnt reccommend them to anyone where they get serious cold weather.
 

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Re: Nubian cross for a pack goat?

Or you just buy some mittens at the thrift store and turn them into earmuffs.
[attachment=0:36h8v9tf]Cuzco_earmuffs.jpg[/attachment:36h8v9tf]
Cuzco's ears got crispy around the edges when we had a weeklong spell of -30 degrees one winter while he was living in a horse pasture with no shelter. But I don't think most people make their goats live in such conditions. I felt really bad for him, hence the earmuffs. We also blanketed him during that time.

I wonder if the ears actually froze when they were newborns. I've seen cows and horses with missing ears here in Colorado, but it was always because the animal was born out on the range during a blizzard. If the Nubians were bred at a different time than the Boers, this could explain why those particular goats were missing their ears. Because Boers have pretty long floppy ears too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: Nubian cross for a pack goat?

The Anglo Nubian was one of the parent breeds of the Boer which is why so many do have ears more like the Nubians.

These kids were about 4-5 mos old so its quite possible that they were born in some of the cold weather in feb or even march. But I would be hesitant to on purpose add any to my herd just based on what I saw. In warmer climes they could well be another story.
 

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Re: Nubian cross for a pack goat?

But wouldn't any animal be at risk of losing their ears (and even their tail) to frostbite if they were born out on the range during the colder months? We've had some pretty brutal weather as late as April or May--enough to cost young animals their ears if they are born during one of those late spring blizzards. I've seen enough sheep and horses with missing ears to know that it's not just long ears that are at risk... even the short foxy ones can be lost when the animal is born with his wet little ears exposed to the elements.

Cuzco has fairly (but not extremely) long ears, but I've not had to cover them except for that one brutal year when he had no shelter at all and was in a windy pasture. The tip of his tail got frost-bitten that winter because I couldn't cover it well enough. But they don't breed goats without tails. ;) The pipes in our house froze twice that winter, so it was COLD! If you have any kind of decent shelter, it seems that frozen ears would be a minor enough problem in adult goats that I personally would not worry about ear length when looking at a pack goat prospect. I would worry more about a dog or another goat (I've heard LaManchas can be brutal) damaging the floppy ears than about cold weather bothering them. Just don't let them kid out on the range in cold weather if you want your goats (any breed but LaMancha) to have ears!

And whether his ears are long or short or non-existent, learn from my mistakes and please try to find your goat some kind of shelter! It was horrible to go out to feed horses and watch poor Cuzco shivering in the cold with his poor tail tip turning black. Unfortunately, I had nowhere else to put him that year and it was not our property, so we just had to blanket and earmuff as best we could. I sewed a flap over the back of his blanket to protect his tail a little, but what he really needed was a shed or even some trees out of the wind. No goat should have to live out in the elements at 9000 feet elevation. He would cuddle up to the horses for warmth, but that wasn't enough for his extremities. The earmuffs worked really well and probably saved his ears (he still has a couple of little notches around the extreme edges to remind us all of that winter). I'm sure I would have had to do the same thing for any straight-eared goat. It was just that cold for that long. Don't let your goats freeze, folks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: Nubian cross for a pack goat?

I think that I would have made him a tarp tipi or lean to.

Good friends had an excellent herd of Longhorns in CO, but one winter there was a blizzard and many froze to death and a lot of them actually lost their horns, so in a few years after that they moved to Ohio. Have a big ranch there now and one of the best Texas Longhorn herds in the world.

Sometimes we are lucky but there is always going to be the winter that is always remembered. So prepare for the worse and hope for the best. Part of my preparation is going to be choosing away from long ears on breeding stock. And thanks to Nanno I think I will be looking for some trimmable mittens. Good idea.
 
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