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Growth of Spanish, Boer × Angora and Boer × Spanish goat kids fed milk replacer

J. Luo, T. Sahlu, M. Cameron, and A. L. Goetsch

Small Ruminant Research. 36:189-194. 2000.

Contributions of heterosis for economically important traits have been well documented in other species. The Boer goat has long been recognized for its superior meat producing ability and is widely used to improve growth and carcass traits of local breeds through crossbreeding. It has been noted that Boer crossbred kids were 15 to 20% heavier at weaning than purebred kids of the dam breed. Greater BW and BW gain for Boer crosses than for Spanish goats also has been reported, although feed efficiency was similar. Under an extensive management system, Boer crosses (Alpine, Spanish and Tennessee stiff-legged goats used as maternal breeds) were heavier at 4, 8 and 12 wk of age compared with purebred Boer goats, although the advantage diminished postweaning with advancing age. However, a computer simulation suggested that Boer goats may not excel in growth and reproduction under extensive management conditions, implying genotype × environment interactions. Though performance of Boer goats under extensive management systems has not yet been well characterized, benefits in offspring performance with Boer use as a terminal sire breed under intensive management conditions are generally accepted. Acidified milk replacer has been widely used in rearing young calves and kids, with advantages of reducing milk feeding and labor costs and simplifying management. Kids fed cow milk replacer can grow as rapidly as kids given goat or cow milk. Milking ability of the dam can greatly influence the opportunity of kids to express growth potential; therefore, hand-rearing eliminates such maternal effects. However, information is lacking on how performance of Boer crosses compares with Spanish goat kid performance during the preweaning period under identical feeding and management conditions, such as with feeding of milk replacer. Therefore, the objective of this study was to compare preweaning performance of two Boer crossbreds and Spanish goats under standardized nutritional conditions - feeding acidified milk replacer in an intensive management system. In summary, Boer × Angora kids consumed more milk replacer from birth to 3 wk of age than did BS and S kids, although intake was similar among genotypes in wk 3 to 8. Starter diet intake was greatest among genotypes for BS, and the feed conversion ratio was 13% greater for Boer cross kids than for S kids. This study reflects that Boer crosses exhibit superior growth and feed efficiency during the preweaning period compared with Spanish kids under intensive management conditions.


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