Setting up a dairy goat

Discussion in 'Show Circuit' started by TheMixedBag, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. TheMixedBag

    TheMixedBag The Hoofcare and Repro specialist

    Oct 16, 2010
    Glencoe, OK
    My first show is May 16 (milk test 15th), and I'd like to start working with them now to get them ready (hopefully I'll have 3 does to take). The nubian will only have a month to get practice in, but the saanen's got at least 3-4 months.

    So, anyone have a video, or tips for getting them to stand? The saanen is leash and halter broken, so that's no issue.
     
  2. comingsummers

    comingsummers New Member

    335
    May 6, 2010
    Northern New Mexico
    I'm of no help on this, but I would be really interested to hear others have to say. I want to learn this too!
     

  3. Coyote Night Acres

    Coyote Night Acres New Member

    498
    Dec 26, 2010
    Missouri
    I've been learning since last summer and still haven't gotten it just right yet. From what I've been told you want to have their front legs up under their shoulder and then the back legs slightly back and wide. The biggest thing that has helped me with learning is to look at a bunch of pics on the internet of goats set up. You'll see what looks best and what just looks silly and then just try to set your doe's up based off of that picture you have in your head. Works well if you have someone to step back and give you feedback. Or you can step back a little while still holding them to get an idea of how it's looking. Then just do it every chance you get with your girls, that way you get more practice setting them up and they get more practice being set up. Some doe's have shorter legs and others longer, so if you have a few with different hights and body types that will help you diversify and be able to set up the different body types. Like I said I'm still learning this skill, maybe others have better dirrections or something to add/change.

    I don't like the over stretched look, and it takes practice to get it just right.
     
  4. yellowstone

    yellowstone New Member

    61
    Jan 8, 2011
    Colorado
    I am just getting better at showing myself but here is what I do when showing:

    first i set up the front feet. just make sure they are coming straight down from the shoulders and have a decent amount of space between them. you don't want the shoulders to look narrower than they are. miniature breeds and jr. does are easy -- you can kind of lift them from under the chest and their legs will drop down straight.

    the back leg should be straight down (90 degrees to the ground) from hock to pastern. if it is at an angle, she is over stretched and this will spoil her topline. place the feet just about as wide as they fall naturally from the hips -- any wider and you make the udder look smaller.

    at this point i double check the front legs and make sure they haven't moved out of position.

    now i just scratch/tickle their back (find the sweet spot) until they squat a tiny bit and their tail goes up. this will make their topline as smooth and uphill as possible and also make their back legs look springy.

    making sure the head is held up (again not too roughly or too high -- you want the neck to look long but not at the expense of the chine) i then step a little bit back from the doe. you want the judge to see the doe, not see you forcing her into position continuously. here is where it pays off to work with the animal frequently and get her used to going to shows. the does that are the most fun to show are the ones that will stay just as you place them and then close their eyes and chew cud while they're in the line! then you know that the judge got a good look at the animal rather than seeing the behavior (jumping around, pulling, laying down in the ring... yes this has happened to me).

    definitely practice walking with the animal as well. you want to be able to walk slowly and effortlessly, without pulling her or her pulling you. if your goat won't behave for you, just be sure you do NOT go into the ring first. let a better-behaved goat lead the way and your goat will follow.

    as a precaution, always put your knee in front of the doe's chest when the judge comes to feel her udder. even easy milkers can get jumpy when they're touched by a stranger. also, be sure to know the freshen date and number of freshenings when you walk into the ring.

    there are lots of "pro-tips" but i don't know them, or even particularly want to know them. in my opinion the reason for showing is to help us produce the healthiest and most productive dairy goats... so if i win i want it to be because my goats have good genetics not because i've learned to hide their flaws. the judge will look at the animals "on the move" too -- so you can't really hide all that much with the setting up. if she has weak pasterns or something, the judge will see that when she circles around anyway. so basically i just try to let the natural shape of the goat be shown without being too tricky about it.

    i don't know how much you know about goat conformation, but for me that's been one of the most fun things to learn about through showing. i try to learn about one area of the goat or the scorecard at a time. mammary system is pretty easy -- i think most people with dairy goats can recognize a great udder. for general appearance, back legs, pasterns, and topline are pretty clear to me, but i am still working on identifying good shoulders and front end assembly. dairy character is still a little hazy (what does flat-boned mean?) but it is becoming more clear to me with time. so i'm looking forward to learning much more with each show season.

    can you tell i'm excited for summer?

    alyssa
     
  5. Coyote Night Acres

    Coyote Night Acres New Member

    498
    Dec 26, 2010
    Missouri
    Awesome post Alyssa. Thanks this helps me a lot.
     
  6. TheMixedBag

    TheMixedBag The Hoofcare and Repro specialist

    Oct 16, 2010
    Glencoe, OK
    Thank you so much for that Alyssa. I think my Saanen doe will do fine in every area but her back legs...she's pretty cow-hocked, but she's got a beautiful topline, good front assembly (I think), and a gorgeous mammary system, even though her udder's still pretty small.

    These are the only shots I've taken trying to set her up, she cooperated alright for the front and back shots, but the side shot, well...just no.

    [​IMG]
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  7. Squires

    Squires New Member

    181
    Sep 14, 2010
    Having done a little bit of showing and fitting eons ago as a child in 4H, I was really hesitant to even THINK about showing. Practically gives me hives thinking of all the stuff I don't remember how to do anymore! I feel worse than a beginner, because it seems I ought to remember some of what I did in 4H and I DON'T! Then a woman I know with some nice goats she just got to put milk in her coffee, shaved her goats, took a nice doeling into the ring with NO knowledge of showing technique, and her doeling won the class! WOW! That made me rethink things.

    If the competition is stiff, the classes large, and the judge is in a hurry, it may really help to know some tricks and tips to setting up your goat well for best presentation, but a good judge will recognize a good goat if it is cooperative. The woman who did not know showing technique DID spend time walking around with her goats every day just for fun, so they liked to follow her wherever she went. Then she practiced a few times with a show collar on some of her goats. And then, of course, the doeling was a very nice doeling so the judge couldn't miss it. Sometimes shows really are about the goats themselves! :)

    I still really appreciate tips from those of you who have this experience and do it up right. Thank you. :)

    Chris
     
  8. One thing you want to remember, ALWAYS set up the 2 legs closest to the judge FIRST. This is a big they taught us last year and because of it I won Master Showman. You want the front legs to be set up squarely under the doe. It is easy to see if they are not square so pay close attention when doing this. Now that back feet are trickier. Depending on where you put them decide how the top line looks. Here is a picture of one of our doe who was being really stubborn and wouldn't set up right. He back feet are back way to far and it looks like she has a dip in her top line, which she doesn't really:

    [​IMG]

    The part of the leg between the hock and the hoof should be perpendicular to the ground. The legs need to be spread apart to show off the udder, but not to far. If they are too far apart it is uncomfortable for the doe and she will not want to cooperate. Here are some pictures of some does that are set up pretty well:

    [​IMG]

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    Here is the same doe as above not set up. See a difference?

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    Here is another example of a doe that is not set up. Here legs are too close to each other. It makes her top line look very bad.

    [​IMG]

    Setting up a goat correctly is very important and if it is not done well, you could place much lower than you should be. The first year we showed the goats did not like being set up because they were not used to being played with. It will take work to get them to a point where they are easy to work with so I suggest you start practicing now. Good luck!