Breeding and Performance Records
Keeping records can provide valuable information about how the animal has performed over its productive life. Keeping records can help producers meet their performance goals and make sound selection decisions. Visual appraisal does not always indicate how the animal will perform or how its offspring will turn out. Basic records should include the following:
- Animal ID
- Birth date
- Birth weight
- Sex of offspring
- Number born
- Birthing difficulties
- Frequency or number of kiddings
- Number weaned
- Total pounds of kids weaned
As the animal matures, the producer can add other records such as health, vaccinations, and marketing results. The resistance to foot rot or internal parasites can also be recorded to aid the producer in identifying superior genetics for future selection and mating. The number of kids born is very important, but the number of kids weaned is more important in determining profitability.
Producers would like every doe to breed in the first cycle (in 21 days or less). Replacement animals from does that kidded early in the breeding season will be more productive over their lifetime compared to kids from does that did not breed until the third or fourth heat cycle. Recording the frequency, or number, of kiddings will allow producers to cull does that do not kid every year.
Growth performance records can aid the producer in animal selection and culling (removing from the herd). These performance records are produced at different phases of animal growth. Pre-weaning growth rate is how kids grow from birth to weaning and is primarily due to milk production in the dam (mother). Kids should be weighed at weaning, which is generally at 60 to 90 days of age.
Once the kids are weaned, they no longer have the dam’s milk to help them grow. They then depend on their own genetic potential for growth, assuming proper nutrition. This is known as post-weaning growth rate or post-weaning gain. Purebred producers may place buck kids on a test to determine post-weaning growth rate.
Other performance weights such as birth, 150-day, and 365-day weights may aid the producer in making culling and mating decisions.
Adapted from www.luresext.edu.
For more information on record keeping click here.