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Animal Science
Basic Goat Biology
Undergraduate 1

Additional Agriculture Flashcards





Basic Goat Biology

Puberty from ___ to ___

 small breeds reach puberty ____ than larger breeds

Breedings seasons?

____ seasonality as you approach the equator

Estrus is detectable by humans unlike ____


a) Puberty: Variable with breed and nutritional status; from 120 days to 1 year; small breeds reach puberty earlier than larger breeds
b) Seasonally polyestrus - If not impregnated, does will cycle as do ewes, from late August through Winter. Less seasonality as you approach the equator. Unlike sheep, however, estrus is detectable by humans - swollen, red vulva, often accompanied by a mucous discharge.


Basic Goat Biology


Estrous Cycle?

Estrus period?


Birth Weight?

Estrous Cycle - 21 day average (19-23)
Estrus Period - 2 days (1-3)
Ovulation - 24 hours after the onset of estrus
Gestation - 150 days (range of 144-155; longer in larger breeds)
Birth weight in goats is between 5 and 6 lbs (range of 1.5 to 11 per kid), where twins are the usual number born, with a low incidence of dystocia. Fun Fact: It is common to find does in visible estrus when pregnant.

Basic Goat Biology


Digestive Anatomy


They are like sheep in the sense that

They are not grazers, rather they are ____


Goats have a _____ instead of top front teeth

How does the rumen work?

Digestive Anatomy: Ruminants. Goats, like sheep, are obligate herbivores, although they are browsers not grazers. A browser is a selective eater, who is willing to eat stems, twigs and brush- plant products high in ‘woody’ fibers. Goats have a dental pad instead of top front teeth. Goats shed ‘baby’ teeth and age like sheep, regurgitate and re-chew their food, using microorganisms in the rumen to ferment fibrous plant material - producing food energy and methane (to be belched) in the process.

Basic Goat Biology

Does must _____ before she can be milked.

Average lactation length range?


Average daily production for a goat __ quarts


Breeding is done (artificially or naturally?)


Bucks smell therefore...

Lactation: Remember - a doe must give birth to a kid before she can be milked. On average lactation extends for about 230 days, but can extend to the 305 day figure of cattle. However, outstanding does are usually not rebred in the ensuing autumn and thus can be milked for up to 20 months (pregnancy has a depressing effect on lactation). This is when you see does with production figures of 5000 lbs of milk or more. Otherwise, average production is 2,100 lbs of 3.6% fat, 3.5% protein milk. Average daily production is about 6.5 lbs per day (approx 3 quarts), just right for a family of four.
e) Breeding: 99% of does are bred naturally (a more accurate number would be 100%, but there are probably some artificially bred does). Bucks smell, so that one should keep them away from the herd until breeding is necessary. This is particularly true in a milking herd, where the buck odor can find it’s way into the milk.

 Basic Goat Biology (Capra Hircus)


Kid Management:

Kids need colostrum the first __ to __ days of life.

 Kids raised on a bottle need _% of body weight per day, fed ___ times a day


Weaning occurs when?


a) Kid Management: Kids need colostrum for the first 3 to 5 days of life. Kids raised on a bottle (rather than nursing) should get approx 8% of body weight per day, fed two or three times a day. Weaning can occur between 6 to 12 weeks, with hay and creep feed being available. Castration and dehorning is usually done between 2 and 5 days.


Basic Goat Biology (Capra Hircus)


Raising Replacements:

What is breeding size? At what age?


Managing the Milking Herd?

Typical milking diet is how many pounds of hay? How much grain?


In 're-charge' mode, body can store on ___


b) Raising Replacements: Replacement kids are fed to reach breeding size (85 to 90 lbs) at 9 to 10 months of age. This can be accomplished by providing a good-quality pasture, perhaps with some grain supplementation (1 lb or less per head per day).
c) Managing The Milking Herd: A typical milking diet would be 2 to 3 lbs of good-quality hay per day, along with .5 lb grain per quart of milk produced. At peak production (2 months into lactation), hay can be fed ad libitum with a more generous grain supplement. During the dry period does can ‘re-charge’ their body stores on hay alone, unless it is of poor quality, then some grain (1 to 2 lbs per day) should be fed as well.

Basic Goat Biology (Capra Hircus)


Goat milk is ____ than cow's milk

Goat milk is easier to ____ than cow's milk

has _____ fat globules

has _____ protein curd

_____ in minerals like calcium and phosphorus, vitamin A, E, and various B vitamins

Milk: Goat milk is: whiter than cow’s milk; easier to digest than cow’s milk; has smaller fat globules; has softer protein curd; higher in minerals like calcium and phosphorous, as well as vitamins A, E and various B vitamins.

Basic Goat Biology (Capra Hircus)


Breeds of Goat (Name 7)
Origination? Color and Characteristics?

Alpine - Originally from the French Alps; alert eyes and erect ears; variation in color - white, gray, brown, black & mixtures; mature doe wt - 130 lbs with production of 2100 lbs milk per 8 month lactation at 3.4% fat. Nubian - Originally from Sudan; long droopy ears; coat color is usually mix of black and tan; the 'Jersey' of goat breeds with 4.6% milk fat and production of 1800 lbs per 8 month lactation; Nubians are a little 'meatier' than other dairy breeds with mature doe wt of 130 lbs. La Mancha - Developed in California in 1959 from Spanish meat goats; Earless - with Gopher ear <1 inch long and Elf ear < 2 inches long; somewhat lower milk production at 1800 lbs per lactation and 3.9% fat. Saanen - Originally from Switzerland; erect ears, large white (usually, although there are jet black Saanens) doe of 140 lbs with high milk production - 2150 lbs milk per lactation and low fat at 3.5% (the 'Holstein' of Goats). Toggenburg - Originally from Switzerland; erect ears, small goats (often around 110 lb does); coat color is generally a shade of brown, with a stripe of white down the sides of the face; Togg's often have longer hair, including beards; milk production at 2000 lbs per lactation at 3.3% fat. Angora - Raised exclusively for their fleece (mohair); 90% of American Angoras are in Texas; diet is almost entirely browse and broadleaf plants; usually shorn twice a year with weights of 4 to 6 lbs per clipping; mature doe wt - 80-90 lbs, bucks weigh 125 to 175 lb. Pygmy goats - Originally from west and central Africa for meat production, now in US as unique pets; no seasonality in breeding (any season since they are equatorial animals); adapted to humid subtropics and tolerant of trypanosomes.

The most important disease in dairy goats is?


Antibiotic treatment is effective if infected by bacteria however what must be done to the milk?


What is contagious ecthyma?

It IS transmissible to humans


What is the largest predator to goats?



The most important disease in dairy goats (as it is in dairy cattle) is mastitis (inflammation of the udder). Clinical mastitis includes the infection of the mammary gland by bacteria (principally streptococcus and staphylococcus). Antibiotic treatment is effective, but the milk must be discarded until medicine is cleared from the gland. Another common affliction is contagious ecthyma (soremouth, also seen in sheep) characterized by sores around the mouth (like a herpes cold sore). The cause is a herpes virus that can be prevented with vaccination but not cured (some producers purposely infect kids with scabs of adults, in the ear, to create an immune response in the kids, but in an unimportant locale). This disease IS transmissible to humans. Coyotes were also the largest predator of goats in the five major producing states (AZ, MI, NM, OK, and TX) accounting for 29.3 percent of losses. The value of goats lost from all predators was $5.48 million.
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