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ORIGIN: United States

Extension Goat Handbook

This material was contributed from collections at the National Agricultural Library. However, users should direct all inquires about the contents to authors or originating agencies.

DOCN 000000045
NO F-2
H. Considine; Portage, WI
G. F. W. Haenlein; U. of Delaware, Newark
Anatomy and Physiology

1 The identification of a correct physical trait, or its lack, is known as type-trait evaluation or more commonly ''classification''. It is the comparison of an individual animal and it parts with the ideal for that breed, sex and age. Recognizing that physical appearance of an animal has a relationship to its usefulness and concerning ourselves with those traits that help an animal function more successfully, is the basis of classifications.

2 Type evaluation is nothing new, for all livestock breeds and species have been developed through the centuries by breeders selecting their stock by looking at them. Fundamentally, type evaluation, is the art of trained people, examining animals by eye to determine physical strengths and weaknesses.

3 The idea of description type identification and its aid in developing superior dairy cattle was developed by Dr. George Trimberger of Cornell University. Holstein cattle breeders adopted the system followed by other cattle breeds, and the American Dairy Goat Association. The dairy goat industry is now collecting into its computer data banks, information on sires that can be of great importance to world goatkeeping. Bucks will be located who not only have the ability to sire high producing daughters, but also who have physical characteristics that make them valuable overall.

4 Breeders are recognizing that the true worth of a good dairy goat is not only based on milk production in a particular lactation, but on lifetime production, at a relatively low feed cost, with few health problems, and while also producing a large number of good offspring. These characteristics can be determined. Does have yielded 20,000 to 30,000 lbs of milk while living fourteen years and delivering thirty offspring. Invariably, such animals have physical properties that a trained classifier will observe and point out in a program designed to develop durable, useful, long-lived goats.

5 It is recognized that the ideal program for dairy goat improvement employs production testing and type evaluation. A random sampling of 10,000 scores of dairy goats of the five major breeds in the United States indicate a positive correlation be tween front end scores (width of chest and smooth shoulders) and length of life. Of the animals five years old or more, 86had front end scores of 1 (Excellent) and the rest was 2 (Acceptable). Those aged one through four years, had 59 with scores of 1 (Excellent) in front end. This would indicate that the higher front end scores are associated with longer life.

6 It is essential that a classifier is well-trained so that accurate coding and scoring is done. As a milking doe is brought to the classifier, his trained eye will note length of bone, overall width, strength and power as well as the correlation of parts, e.g. how well the animal ''fits together''. The ease of motion and leg action will be observed from front, side and rear. Udder and teat sizes, shape and placement will be considered. While individual techniques vary as to the order of examination, the usual method is to handle the udder and make a final appraisal of the tightness and area of attachments, ease of milking and softness of udder tissue. Usually a squirt of milk is drawn from each teat. Then a code number is assigned in each of five areas. These descriptive codes range from one to five and each has a specific meaning. ''ONE'' is the excellent code and means 900r more perfection. ''TWO'' is the acceptable code and covers the range from 70to 890f perfection and includes those who are nearly undesirable to those nearly excellent. Numbers THREE, FOUR and FIVE are used to describe different characteristics that are undesirable and will probably affect the usefulness of an animal. Each number is used for a different fault in a specific area.

7 Fore Udder The Fore Udder is scored as follows:
(1) Means a strong, wide, tightly attached fore udder, extending well forward and blending smoothly into the abdomen.
(2) A moderately firm attachment of fore udder but with a noticeable degree of either looseness, bulginess, pocketing, or failure to be far enough forward.
(3) Short; a term used to indicate a fore udder that inhibits usefulness by failing to provide capacity in a safe place, that is, close to the body. It does not extend well forward and often does not extend ahead of the stifle joint.
(4) Loose, pocketed or bulgy fore attachment. A loose attachment would allow the udder to swing from side to side as well as possibly being carried too low so the chance of injury, especially while the doe is running would be greatly increased. A pocketed fore udder means that there is an open space of considerable size in between the side attachments at the front of the udder. Such a characteristic forces a doe to have more of her milk secreting tissue, the delicate alveoli, carried at a low level, down between the hocks perhaps, where the chance of injury is greater. A bulgy fore udder consists of nonmilk secreting tissue, often fat or connective tissue, extending forward and usurping the place of milk-secreting tissue.
(5) A broken attachment, a fore udder held only by a couple of folds of skin and so disastrously low that udder injury is imminent with its consequent likelihood of disease.

8 Rear Udder After ascertaining which of the above codes applies to the fore udder attachment, that number is recorded and the Rear Udder attachment is likewise evaluated:
(1) Great width, tightness and height, often just an inch or so below the vulva and blending smoothly into the escutcheon. The higher the attachment, the safer the udder from scratches or injury.
(2) Adequacy, but some degree of lowness, narrowness or looseness has been observed.
(3) An udder attached very low between the hind legs.
(4) The rear udder is narrow and pinched. This is frequently found in udders with unsatisfactory production.
(5) The attachments are broken, the udder is pendulous and the doe frequently has great difficulty walking with the rear legs because the udder swings with each step.

9 Udder Support and Floor This area is closely allied with the structure and strength of the medial suspensory ligament.
(1) Applies to the area where the medial suspensory ligament neatly divides the udder halves with a small inverted ''V'' and proceeds horizontally right and left towards the teats for a distance of 2 to 3 inches. Normally a Code 1 in this area is used only if the codes on fore udder and rear udder are both ''1'' or ''1'' and a ''2''. The length must be strong enough to keep the teats in proper placement and the udder tight against the body. The contribution of the udder support and floor to overall mammary excellence cannot be overemphasized.
(2) Some degree of: a. shortness b. over-length c. failure to carry well forward on the doe d. failure to carry high enough into the escutcheon e. too much cleavage f. not quite enough cleavage
(3) A lack of defined halving - the udder floor flat or even curving downward. Often teats point outward because of this trait.
(4) An udder floor that is too low making the udder subject to injury with each step the animal takes.
(5) A broken suspensory ligament and/or weak floor. In either case the udder hangs so low as to be a burden to the goat and is subject to injury and sanitation problems.

10 Udder Quality (1) Reserved for those few does (currently about 1 in 20) who have extremely soft tissue in the udder. The udder usually requires observation both while extended with milk and then immediately after milking out before a Code 1 is given. Very little connective tissue can be palpated and the skin is soft and smooth.
(2) Most animals have a Code 2, acceptable, but not outstanding, with a bit more connective tissue in proportion to the extremely soft alveoli - the milk secreting cells.
(3) If, for various reasons, such as closeness to parturition, the udder texture can not be determined a Code 3 is applied.
(4) In those extreme cases when an udder has so much connective tissue usurping the place of milk secreting tissue that it is limiting production.

11 Teat Size and Placement (1) Teats that are about 21/2 to 3 inches long, 3/4'' to 1'' in diameter, placed evenly and squarely on the udder, nearly plumb but pointing slightly forward. (This latter reason because all dairy goat milking in the United States is done from the side of the doe and teats pointing slightly forward are easier to grasp and milk.)
(2) Some deviation from ideal in length, shape or placement but still functionally useful.
(3) A size or shape that is either hard to milk or subject to injury. An overly large teat is both difficult to grasp by hand or milk with a machine, and it also has the disadvantage of being more easily stepped on or torn by sharp objects the doe is climbing over. On the other hand, teats that are too small may make hand milking so difficult and time consuming as to render the doe almost useless.
(4) Teats that point outward to such a degree that both hand and machine milking are made difficult.
(5) Occasionally, does are found with abnormal teat structure, such as a double orifice (two openings for the milk to emerge in the same teat) or extra teats, some of which may actually give milk resulting in an extra chore at milking time. When abnormalities are discovered a Code 5 is used.

12 Mammary System Five areas of the mammary system are now coded and along with a general observation of the shape and capacity of the udder, a final score is given. Three general guides are:
If all 5 areas are coded ''1'', the score must be above 90.
If all 5 areas are coded ''2'', the score must be between 70 and 89.
If all 5 areas are coded in combinations of ''3'', ''4'', or ''5'', the score must be 69 or lower.
Most udder codes are combinations of acceptable ''2'' with an occasional excellent ''1'' and some unacceptable ''3'', ''4'', or ''5''. The classifier must use his skill and expertise to arrive at the over-all score.

13 Body Capacity The classifier will observe the comparative length, width and depth of the animal, noting especially the length, depth, and spring of rib and width of chest floor. A comparison will be made mentally between the animal being classified and the ideal of that breed, sex and age. As the animal approaches the ideal, the score may go into the high 90's, or may be as low as 50 for an extremely small, frail animal. Younger animals, yearlings, 2 year-olds and 3 year-olds, are not expected to be as large as a mature 4 year-old; nor are does as large as bucks. Toggenburgs are not required to be as large as the other breeds. A guide of acceptable breed standards in minimum weight for mature does is:
Toggenburgs 120 lbs LaManchas 130 lbs Nubians 135 lbs Saanens 135 lbs Alpines 135 lbs

14 Dairy Character In arriving at this score, careful observation is made since this is to indicate the animal's ''will to milk and the strength to sustain it''. Many factors are considered in arriving at the final score. These include:
A long, lean neck.
Proper degree in fleshing throughout.
Smooth shoulders.
Sharp withers.
Prominent vertebrae.
Incurving thigh.
A chiseled head.
Cleanly molded hocks.
Tortuous mammary veins as related to age and stage of lactation.
Production evident in the udder as related to age and stage of lactation. This score should be closely related to an animal's ability to produce milk, but is also influenced by the soundness of the udder. In general, a dairy character score is lowered by 10 points if the score previously given to the mammary system is below 70.

15 General Appearance To aid breeders in their program, this area is descriptively coded in 8 subareas much as the mammary system.

16 Stature -- This term loosely defines overall size and length of bone.
(1) This animal should be tall at the withers, at least 2 inches over breed minimums which are:
26 inches for Toggenburgs 28 inches for LaManchas 30 inches for Alpines, Saanens, Nubians
These standards are for mature does, but the Code ''1'' doe must also have a correct length of cannon bone (from knee to pastern) and be above average in overall length of body and general size. Height at withers must be slightly more than at hips, and bone must be of good size. These characteristics make an animal ''upstanding''.
(2) Animals meeting breed minimum standards but not up to Code ''1'' level are coded ''2'' - ''intermediate''.
(3) These animals are too short and small for breed and age or have extremely short legs. Code ''3'' describes low set - short legs.

17 Head -- It should be noted that on the head there may be observations that can be termed aesthetic besides being functional. Conformity to breed ideals in structure of nose, shape and size of ears are considered. This is balanced by the practical considerations of length, width, strength, set of jaw and overall symmetry.
(1) This head is beautiful when judged by a breed fancier or the practical eye of the commercial dairyman. With beauty of eye, nose, ear, and overall form it must also be a combination of strength and refinement. It should have a balance of length, width and substance that insures an ability to consume large amounts of forage with ease.

(2) Acceptable, lacking some in either strength or breed character.

(3) Sometimes the head is coded ''3'' because it is too short - a trait often associated with lack of will to eat plenty of feed.
(4) Frequently, crossbred animals are such a hodge-podge of breed characteristics as to be unflattering plain - just not pretty - and they are coded ''4''. A head is also coded ''4'' in the case of a large coarse animal with little indication of refinement. Often associated with poor productivity, the ''4'' in this case means coarse.
(5) This last code, applicable to some heads, is for those whose strength is lacking everywhere and is shown in the head by frailty with a narrow muzzle, weak jaw, pinched nostril, narrow forehead and sunken eye. It says simply ''weak''.

18 Front End - This is a combination of chest and shoulder features.
(1) A wide chest floor and prominent brisket with smooth blending of shoulder blades and sharp withers. Such a front end ensures plenty of room for the heart and lungs to do their life-giving work with ease and also is evidence of proper muscle and ligament strength in tight shoulders. As pointed out earlier, preliminary research indicates a strongly positive correlation of high front end scores with longevity.

(2) Code ''2'' is frequently used where there is some degree of deficiency in:
Width of chest floor;
Tightness of shoulder blades;
Proper fleshing of shoulders (the animal is a little over-fleshed).

Code ''2'' may mean just acceptable in all three sub-areas.
(3) If the animal is much too overfleshed or the point of shoulder is obnoxiously prominent a code ''3'' is given - coarse shoulder and neck.
(4) A narrow, weak condition - with almost no chest floor or brisket; the heart and lungs are extremely crowded; body capacity is adversely affected and longevity greatly reduced.
(5) An open shoulder, a condition resulting from loose ligaments holding the shoulder blade to the chest wall and often making it difficult and painful for the animal to move.

19 Front Legs (1) Those legs which are straight, perpendicular to the ground, sound in the knees, full at point of elbow and move with the front feet pointing correctly straight ahead.
(2) Sound legs but not quite straight or moving quite correctly.
(3) The front legs bow forward at the knees when viewed from the side. For a stimulation of the undue strain put on muscles and tendons when this occurs, one is advised to try standing upright for some minutes with the knees curved forward. It is no wonder, the animal quits feeding before it should, and lies down; consequently producing less when this condition is present.
(4) Swollen knee joints - normally this is associated with an arthritic condition and interferes with mobility. It is frequently associated with a short cannon bone in the forelegs.
(5) Front legs which point outward as the animal walks; a peculiar ''paddling'' action is observed and the points of elbow continually dig in to the sides of the chest wall.

20 Back (1) A straight, strong, wide, long, level back; denotes strong physiology, indicative of strength to carry copious quantities of feed, milk and offspring for many gestations and lactations.
(2) Means acceptable and is numerically from 70 to 890n the ideal score card.
(3) A severe dip in either the chine and/or loin.
(4) An animal is lower at the withers than at the hips and is appropriately called ''low in front''. This condition can be a serious detriment to the health and well-being of an otherwise sound animal, for as parturition approaches, the digestive and reproductive organs tend to follow the pull of gravity and fall forward onto the diaphragm. This compresses heart and lungs, making it hard for the animal to breathe and have proper circulation. A survey of classification scores shows it is rare for an animal with this trait to survive past 5 years of age.
(5) A severely roached back - very arched and high through the loin. While not especially dangerous in itself, it is frequently associated with a weak chine, steep rump and makes the topline indicative of lack of overall strength and symmetry.

21 Rump -- Affects leg set, kidding ease, and potential udder attachment, this area is of great importance.
(1) Long, wide, level from thurl to thurl, cleanly fleshed, and having a correct slope from hips to pins.
(2) Some degree of impropriety in the above descriptions.
(3) A narrow rump - this condition often leads to a rise in the vertebral processes making the rump resemble a gable roof. Naturally, kidding ease is lessened by the narrow rump and pelvis.
(4) A very steep slope from hips to pins. Actually this condition, when combined with great width, frequently makes for easy kidding. But since it also lessens the area for a large attachment and makes for an awkward rear leg set, it must be tempered toward what is termed the ''proper slope''. A perfectly level rump is not desired either.
(5) This last deficient condition is short. It is not often found.

22 Hind Legs (1) Rear legs that are very wide apart and straight when viewed from the rear, with clean hocks and just the right combination of bone refinement and strength. Observed from the side, a plumb line originating at the pin bone would fall parallel to the leg bone from hock to pastern and touch the ground at the heel of the foot. The resulting angles produced at the hock and stifle joint will be the most ideal for an easy walk and a minimum of joint problems. These angles are seldom, if ever, found in a leg beneath a code ''4'' rump (severely sloping).
(2) Acceptable rear legs will have a noticeable deviation in angle, straightness or strength, but are not yet affecting the animal's walking ability.
(3) The rear legs turn inward when observed from the rear. In such a condition, a couple of things happen. First, the udder, if of any size, is battered first one way, then the other by the doe as she walks; Secondly, the animal usually has a tendency to point the feet outward and ''paddle'' as he/she walks. It is not comfortable for the goat and results in less movement for feeding and especially when heavy with kid.
(4) This animal has hind legs that are too close together. When associated with a larger udder, the mammary system is frequently twisted by lack of space and is hard to milk.
(5) A leg that is too straight or posty. Most noticeable is the lack of angle at hock and stifle joint, and it seems to get worse with age. Probably causing more trouble than any other single leg ailment, it is of particular concern when the animal walks without flexing the hock joint.

23 Feet (1) A strong, well-formed foot with tight toes, deep heel and level sole. Such a foot is highly resistent to injury or infection and is easy to keep trimmed.
(2) Slight deviations are acceptable. It might be noted here for some familiar with cattle that the dairy goat is much smaller and is not affected as much by less than ideal feet than the vastly heavier cow. Also, the horny outside of the hoof grows quite rapidly under ordinary commercial dairy conditions and is more frequently trimmed and shaped by the herdsman. Therefore, a degree of imperfection that would cause serious problems in a cow is less likely to occur in a dairy goat.
(3) This is a common undesirable affliction - a spreading toe. Often this is a result of weak ligaments in the pastern area. It produces illshaped toes that are hard to trim and also provide a place for manure and debris to build up and cause infection.
(4) This code refers to a defective condition known as ''shallow heel''. In a normal foot, the hoof hairline should be parallel with the sole of the foot. In the shallow heel there is less depth at the rear of the toe than the forward part, and the animal is forced into rocking back on the pasterns putting undue strain on them.
(5) Feet turning over. A turned-over foot is miserable to trim, hard to walk on and puts an unusual strain on the pasterns.

24 Miscellaneous Conditions Occasionally some conditions are found that need to be noted to properly describe an animal.
(1) Overshot jaw - when the lower jaw is shorter than the upper jaw also known as parrotmouth - it often affects feeding ability.
(2) Undershot jaw - the lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw and can also affect feeding ability.
(3) Winged shoulder - a condition manifest in looseness of the attachment of the shoulder blades to the chest wall and especially at the point of elbow. A winged shoulder makes movement more difficult.
(4) Small for age.
(5) Weak chine - it is used in conjunction with a code ''3'' in the Back to point out that the chine is weak but not the loin.
(6) Sickle leg - in this case the hind leg has too much ''set'' or angle, and puts more strain on the leg structure. It is the opposite of a ''posty'' leg.
(7) Overly refined bone - an indication of frailty, bones too weak to carry the body weight.
(8) Weak or broken pasterns.
(9) Severely cleft udder - the medial suspensory ligament divides too soon resulting in a non-existent udder floor and wasted space between the udder halves.
(10) Tilted or twisted udder - with a tilted udder, the teats will point nearly forward. A twisted udder has one half ahead of the other half to some degree.
(11) Disqualifiable defect in breed character - each breed has its own standards for ear size, set and structure, nose structure and some have color norms. The classifier must be aware of these so he can point out animals ineligible for registry in a certain breed, but this has small importance in this discussion which stresses function.
(12) Swollen or blemished hock.
(13) Dry - indicates the doe was observed while dry, that is, not lactating. More possibility of error exists at such a time especially in udder evaluation, so classifiers tend to be conservative and the possibility of a higher score when in milk should be kept in mind.
(14) Off-color, for example a Toggenburg doe with a large white spot on her side.
(15) High dorsal process in rump - vertebrae higher than thurls which are often narrow and pre-dispose toward kidding problems.
(16) Teats too large. Used in conjunction with code ''3'' teats it indicates exactly why the teats are of undesirable size.
(17) Teats too small. Again used with code ''3'' teats.

25 When the descriptive coding is finished the classifier will now assign a numerical score to the General Appearance of the animal. Lastly, using 30 % for Body Capacity, and 30 % for a doe will be calculated. (When a buck is classified, the formula is 45 % Body Capacity.) A score of 90 or above will place the animal in the Excellent group, 80 to 89 is Very Good, 70 to 79 is Good Plus, 60 to 69 is Good, 50 to 59 is Fair, and below 50 is Poor. A majority of animals fall in the upper 70's to low 80's.

26 A useful part of this program is using it as a guide for corrective matings. For example, a herd may have plenty of production and generally satisfactory body type but has uniformly large, hard-to-milk teats. By locating and using a buck whose daughters have above average type and production and also have a high proportion of Code 1 (near ideal) teats, a good improvement can be made in just the next generation. This is known as Corrective Mating and can be applied to any part of the conformation of a herd or animal to produce superior offspring.

27 Classification of a herd is done by application to ADGA (the American Dairy Goat Association). AGS (American Goat Society) has a different program. There is a fee of about $4.00 per head which covers bookkeeping and travel reimbursement to the classifier, if at least 150 goats are classified in a certain area. Special classifications can also be arranged but may be more costly. Study of a judging book, like the one by Considine and Trimberger and/or the official score cards obtainable from the breed clubs is highly recommended in preparation for type classifications.

ORIGIN;United States


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