Spring is almost here, and there are TONS of advertisements for "Lagerians," "Mini Nubians," "Alpine Nigerian crosses", and the list goes on. So, are these really miniature dairy goats?? Lets find out before you buy that cute blue-eyed, floppy eared 'mini.'
How is a Miniature Dairy Goat developed? and WHY?
We have discussed this before, but lets really get into the grit....
Why develop a Miniature Dairy goat?
-Development of a miniature dairy goat breed should be for the intent of producing high volumes of milk on a smaller more economical dairy goat. Miniatures are required to be recorded/registered in order to be recognized. As a result, they are also required to meet outlined breed standards. These quality controls make a well-bred miniature a highly valuable dairy animal, and helps set them apart from any other mixed breed.
Why not just use a Nigerian?
Nigerians are smaller than a Miniature Dairy goat breed, and do NOT produce the milk volumes of a well-bred mini. Making a well-bred mini a more economical, and higher valued dairy animal on any farm.
Why not use a Standard breed?
Standard breed goats are very large, can be hard to maintain/house, and in general do not make the perfect fit for everyone's circumstances. The miniature is smaller than a standard, BUT is still larger than a Nigerian, making them more suitable for families wanting a larger breed with out the expense, or fear of over-crowding.
Aren't miniatures just a 'Designer Goat'?
NO-- unless they are not registered-- Miniatures are required to meet all the same requirements of a STANDARD goat, with the exception of height. They are expected to perform at least 1/3-2/3rds the same volume in milk production, have the same appearance, and conformation as the standard goat breed they are supposed to represent. No other 'designer' mixed-breed (boer-nubian, la-boer, etc.) has the same strict performance requirements.
How are Miniature Dairy Breeds Developed??
A Miniature Dairy Goat breed is developed by FIRST breeding a registered Nigerian Dwarf to a Registered Standard Dairy Goat breed; BOTH of these foundation animals should have very strong dairy genetics backing up their pedigrees. And ideally should have production records themselves.
The buck used should posses very dairy characteristics, and have complimentary traits to the doe he is intended to be bred with. (See Below).
The doe should also posses excellent dairy quality. Should be very productive, and ideally have production evaluation records. (See Below).
Offspring produced are then registered with either TMGR or MDGA to BEGIN a Miniature Dairy goat line.
All these things are necessary to produce a good dairy goat. And a MINIATURE dairy goat IS a dairy goat. Whose sole purpose on this planet is to PRODUCE milk. If poor quality animals are used in the development of a Miniature dairy goat line, then they will be pretty much useless for DAIRY.
What a Miniature Dairy Goat should begin to look like...
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