Introduction

 

Meat goat production represents the most rapidly growing animal industry in the US today, and is becoming a mainstream livestock enterprise.  To further genetic progress through the identification of superior sires in the industry, Langston University and the Oklahoma Meat Goat Association established a meat goat performance test in 1997.

 

Entry

 

The ninth annual meat buck performance test started May 7, 2005 with 62 bucks enrolled from 19 different breeders.  Breed and geographical distribution are given in the table below.

 

State

Boer

Kiko

Savanna

Grand Total

KS

2

 

 

2

MO

4

 

 

4

NE

4

 

 

4

OK

5

6

3

14

TX

36

2

 

38

Grand Total

51

8

3

62

 

Bucks were given a physical examination by Dr. Lionel Dawson, dewormed with Cydectin (moxidectin), deloused with Atroban De-Lice, given a preemptive injection of Nuflor for upper respiratory infections, and those bucks that needed booster or initial vaccinations for enterotoxemia and caseous lymphandenitis were given vaccinations.  Four weeks after check-in, all bucks were given a booster vaccination for enterotoxemia and caseous lymphandinitis.

 

Half of the bucks were randomly assigned within breeder to either Calan feeders or Feed Intake Recording Equipment (FIRE) system. 

 

Average age in days and entry weight are detailed in the table below.

Feeder Type

Trait

Average

Calan

Average of Age (d)

97.9

 

Average of Entry Weight (lbs)

51.8

Fire

Average of Age (d)

102.0

 

Average of Entry Weight (lbs)

51.3

 

Entrance weight for the 62 bucks averaged 51.5 lbs with a range of 30.8 to 78.2 lbs.  Age at entry averaged 100.0 days with a range of 86 to 157 days.

 

Adjustment Period

 

The performance-testing facility only has 53 Calan feeders but 62 bucks enrolled.  To accommodate all animals, the new Feed Intake Recording Equipment (FIRE) system was used.  The FIRE system is a completely automated electronic feeding system, which was developed for swine but we have adapted it to goats.  Animals wear an electronic eartag, which is read by an antenna in the feeder.  The FIRE system automatically records body weight and feed intake.  This year, half of the bucks are in the FIRE system and half are in the Calan feeders.  For producers, who enrolled more than one buck in the Buck Performance Test, the test supervisor randomly assigned half of their bucks to the FIRE system and half to the Calan feeders.  The training period was much shorter for the FIRE system than for the Calan feeders.  However, the bucks on the Calan feeders mastered the Calan feeders and did quite well.  With the combined FIRE system and Calan feeders, the Oklahoma Buck Performance Test Buck now has a capacity of 100 bucks.

 

Because the FIRE system has not previously been used with goats, Langston University determined the appropriate stocking density per FIRE feeder.  As many as 10 young goats can share a FIRE feeder without adverse effects.  Langston University also compared the FIRE system with the Calan feeders.  We found no differences in average daily gain or feed intake of growing goats on the FIRE system and the well-established Calan feeders.

 

All bucks underwent an adjustment period of two weeks immediately after check-in.  During the adjustment period, bucks were acclimated to the test ration and to the Calan feeders or to the FIRE system.  For the Calan feeders, each buck wears a collar with an electronic “key” encased in hard plastic.  The key unlocks the door to only one Calan feeder, thus enabling the buck to eat out of his individual feeder.  Each morning, yesterday’s feed that remains in the Calan feeder is weighed and removed from the Calan feeder.  Fresh feed is weighted and placed into the Calan feeder.  The difference in weights between the fresh feed place in the Calan feeder one morning and the remaining feed the next morning is the amount consumed.  Because only one goat is capable of opening the Calan door and eating, it is possible to calculate the feed intake of the individual bucks. For the FIRE system, feed intake is automatically recorded every time a buck enters into the FIRE system to eat.  The area immediately around the Calan and FIRE feeders and waterers is concrete, however, the large majority of the inside pen is earth and is covered by pine shavings.  Pine shavings were periodically added as needed to maintain fresh bedding.  Bucks had free access to water provided by float-valve raised waterers.  Whenever the weather was permitting, the bucks had access to the outside pens as well as the inside pens.

 

This year we were fortunate to hire a second year veterinary student from Oklahoma State University, Ms. Jennifer Howard.  Jennifer has done a wonderful job with the bucks. 

 

On July 13, buck #3242 was having problems with his back legs.  He was breaking over on his pasterns and slightly dragging both hind hooves as he walked. Dr. Lionel Dawson was contacted and examined him.  There was some swelling and pain along the spinal cord but his temperature was normal and he was eating, defecating, and urinating normally.  Possibly another buck in his pen injured him.  He was isolated and treated with analgesics and steroids.  He improved slightly; however, he still tended to knuckle under as he walked.  He then gradually started to deteriorate in movement, eventually went down, and was unable to stand.  Dr. Dawson continued evaluation and it was decided that the best option for the buck was euthanasia.  The owner was contacted and granted permission to euthanize the buck.  On August 3, the buck was euthanized and the body transported to OSU College of Veterinary Medicine for necropsy.  Results from the necropsy showed that the buck suffered from a congenital constriction of the cervical vertebrae and there were no signs of trauma.

 

Ration

 

Nutritionists at Langston University formulated the following ration.  In 1999, the amount of salt and ammonium chloride was doubled due to problems with urinary calculi the previous year.  Except for the increase in salt and ammonium chloride, the ration was unchanged from that which was used in the first two meat buck performance tests.  The ration was fed free-choice during the adjustment period and during the 12-week test.

 

Ingredient

Percentage (as fed)

Cottonseed hulls

29.07%

Alfalfa meal

19.98%

Cottonseed meal

15.99%

Ground corn

15.99%

Wheat midds

9.99%

Pellet Partner (binder)

5.00%

Ammonium chloride

1.00%

Yeast

1.00%

Calcium Carbonate

0.95%

Salt

0.50%

Trace mineral salt

0.50%

Vitamin A

0.02%

Rumensin

0.01%

TOTAL

100.00%

 

The crude protein content of the ration is 16% with 2.5% fat, 20.4% fiber and 60.6% TDN.  Calcium phosphorus and sodium levels are .74%, .37% and 1.07%, respectively.  Zinc concentration is 33.04 ppm, copper is 17.15 ppm and selenium is .21 ppm.  In 2003, competitive bids were sought for the buck-test feed and Bluebonnet Feeds of Ardmore, OK was awarded the contract to supply feed for the buck performance test for 2003, 2004, and 2005.

 

ABGA Approved Performance Test

 

In early 2000, the Oklahoma performance test was designated by the American Boer Goat Association Board of Directors as an ABGA Approved Performance Test.  Qualified fullblood or purebred Boer bucks will be eligible to earn points towards entry into the "Ennobled Herd Book".  Candidate bucks must pass a pre‑performance test inspection conducted by one (1) or more ABGA approved breeders.  Ten (10) points will be awarded a Boer buck who shows an average daily weight gain (ADG) in the top five percent (5%) of the animals on test.  Five (5) points will be awarded a Boer buck who shows an average daily weight gain (ADG) in the next fifteen percent (15%) of the animals on test.  All bucks must gain at least three‑tenths (.3) pounds per day to be awarded any points.

 

International Boer Goat Association, Inc. Sanctioned Test

 

In 2003, the Oklahoma buck performance test was sanctioned by the International Boer Goat Association, Inc.

 

The Oklahoma performance test continues to grow and to serve the meat goat industry.

 

Gain

 

The official performance test started on May 25 after the adjustment period was finished.  Weights at the beginning of the test averaged 63 lbs with a range of 36.3 to 96.9 lbs.  Weights at the end of the test averaged 115.3 lbs with a range of 71.6 to 157.5 lbs.  Weight gain for the test averaged 52.4 lbs with a range of 29.7 to 80.4 lbs.

 

The type of feeder (Calan or FIRE) had no significant effect upon gain.  Bucks on the Calan system averaged 52.6 lbs gain and bucks on the FIRE system averaged 52.1 lbs gain, which is a difference of 0.5 lbs.  Figure 1 shows the weekly body weight gains for both feeder types over the course of the performance test. 

 

Figure 1. Calan vs. FIRE - weekly body weight gains

 

Average Daily Gain (ADG)

 

At mid-point, the bucks gained on averaged 0.62 lbs/day with a range from 0.31 lbs/day to 0.92 lbs/day.  For the test, the bucks gained on averaged 0.62 lbs/day with a range of 0.35 lbs/day to 0.96 lbs/day.

 

The type of feeder (Calan or FIRE) had no significant effect upon average daily gain.  Bucks on the Calan system averaged 0.63 lbs/day and bucks on the FIRE system averaged 0.62 lbs/day gain, which is a difference of 0.01 lbs/day.

 

Feed Efficiency (Feed Conversion Ratio)

 

For the test, the bucks consumed an average of 335.5 lbs of feed with a range of 193.3 to 482.9 lbs. 

 

The type of feeder (Calan or FIRE) had no significant effect upon intake.  Bucks on the Calan system averaged 328.9 lbs intake and bucks on the FIRE system averaged 338.1 lbs, which is a difference of 9.2 lbs.  Figure 2 shows the average daily intake for both feeder types over the course of the performance test.

 

For the test, the bucks averaged a feed efficiency of 6.55 (feed efficiency is defined as the number of lbs. of feed needed for one lbs. of gain), with a range of 4.53 to 11.34.

 

Figure 2. Calan vs. FIRE - daily feed intake

 

Muscling

 

The average loin eye area as determined by ultrasonography was 1.71 square inches with a range of 0.95 to 2.36 square inches and the average left rear leg circumference was 18.5 inches with a range of 14.5 to 22.0 inches. 

 

Index

 

For 2005, the index was calculated using the following parameters:

 

30% on efficiency (units of feed per units of gain)

 

30% on average daily gain

 

20% on area of longissimus muscle (loin) at the first lumbar site as measured by real time ultrasound adjusted by the goat's metabolic body weight:

 

area of longissimus muscle (loin)

BW0.75

 

20% circumference around the widest part of the hind left leg as measured with a tailor's tape adjusted by the goat's metabolic body weight:

 

circumference of hind left leg

BW0.75

 

The adjustment to metabolic body weight gives lighter weight goats a fair comparison of muscling to heavier goats.

 

The deviation from the average of the parameters measured from the goats in the performance test was used in the index calculation. Thus, the average index score for bucks on-test was 100%.  Bucks that are above average have indices above 100% and those below average have index scores below 100%.

 


Congratulations

 

The Oklahoma Meat Goat Association and the Agricultural Research and Extension Program at Langston University congratulate:

 

·        Mr. A.L. Paul of Aubrey, TX

              for having the Top-Indexing buck

              in the 2005 Oklahoma Meat Buck Performance Test

 

Also, deserving congratulations are:

 

·        Mr. Orlin Scrivener of Cabool, MO

              for having the #1 Fastest-Gaining buck

 

·        Mr. A.L. Paul of Aubrey, TX

              for having the #2 Fastest-Gaining buck

 

·        Mr. Marvin Shurley of Sonora, TX

              for having the #3 Fastest-Gaining buck

 

·        Mr. Marvin Shurley of Sonora, TX

              for having the #4 (tie) Fastest-Gaining buck

 

·        Mr. Dan Wagner of Sonora, TX

              for having the #4 (tie) Fastest-Gaining buck

 

·        Mr. Marvin Shurley of Sonora, TX

              for having the #4 (tie) Fastest-Gaining buck

 

·        Mr. Martin Peters of Barksdale, TX

              for having the Most-Feed-Efficient buck

 

·        Mr. Martin Peters of Barksdale, TX

              for having the Most-Heavily-Muscled buck

 


Acknowledgments

 

The Buck Test supervisor wishes to acknowledge Dr. Lionel Dawson of Oklahoma State University for his contributions as the admitting and on-call veterinarian, Ms. Jennifer Howard, and Mr. Yonas Seid for their management and oversight of the day-to-day activities, Mr. Jerry Hayes and Mr. Erick Loetz of Langston University for aid and supervision, Mr. Les Hutchens and his associates at Reproductive Enterprises, Inc. for conducting the ultrasound measurements for the loin eye area and the breeding soundness exams, and Bluebonnet Feeds of Ardmore, OK for custom mixing the feed.

 

 

 

Report prepared by Dr. Terry A. Gipson

Goat Extension Specialist

Langston University

 

 

The Cooperative Extension Program at Langston University provides educational programs to individuals regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability or status as a veteran. Issued in furtherance of Extension work, Act of September 29, 1977, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.