Monday, November 2, 2015

Top Ten Bucks

The top-10 bucks in this year's Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test have been selected. The primary criteria for determining the top-10 was growth rate (ADG), parasite resistance (fecal egg counts), and parasite resilience (FAMACHA© scores and treatment).

Other factors which were considered included birth type/type of rearing, weight per day of age (WDA), first and second half ADG, rib eye area (REA), USDA grade, and scrotal circumference (SC).

You can't tell who the best bucks are by looking.

The top-performing buck in this year's test was 539, a commercial Kiko consigned by Jodie & Randy Majancsik from Kentucky. The Majancsiks also had last year's top performing buck with another commercial Kiko. In 2014, the Majancsiks tied Brent Ballenger for top consignor. They were also in contention for this year's top consignor award.

The rest of the top 10 bucks (in no particular order) were 501 (Craig Adams, IL), 505 (Brent Ballenger, KY), 527 (Jarred Dennison, KY), 543 (Steve Maynard & Darla Dishman, TN), 550 (P.J. Murphy, NJ), 551 (Waldo Nelson, MD), 556 & 557 (David Peters, NC), & 584 (John Weber, IL). All  consignors with top-10 bucks have had top-performers in previous tests, with the exception of Maynard/Dishman, who are first time consignors.

David Peters has two bucks in the top 10. He is this year's top consignor, an award given to the consignor with the three best bucks in the test. David had the most resistant buck in this year's test. 557 had an averaged fecal egg count of 217 epg and never had an egg count above 500 epg. David had a top-performing buck in last year's test.

Click on table for a larger view in another window.

The only other buck that met the traditional Gold standards for parasite resistance was 505, consigned by Brent Ballenger. 505's average egg was 432 epg. It never had an egg count above 1000 epg. The average egg count of the top 10 bucks was 630 epg.

The most resilient buck in the test was 550, consigned by P.J. Murphy. Each time he was scored, 550 had a FAMACHA© score of 1. The average FAMACHA© score of the top 10 bucks over the duration of the test was 1.7. None of the goats in the top-10 required deworming.

It is suggested that this year's top 10 bucks be retained for breeding and/or sold (as yearlings) at next year's Bluegrass Performance Invitational or a similar performance-based sale.

 Download all summary data from top 10 bucks

Special thanks to Dr. Dahlia O'Brien at Virginia State University for doing fecal egg counts and larva ID for the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test. 

NKR Supports Buck Test

The National Kiko Registry (NKR) would like to congratulate all the participants in this year’s Western Maryland Pasture-Based Buck Performance Test. Remember that performance data can be added at any time to your NKR certificate of registration.

Just send us an official announcement of the performance status, along with your original certificate, and we will add it at no cost. Performance testing plays an important role in the Kiko industry and NKR wants you and your goats to get the recognition you deserve.

The list of Kiko breeders who choose the National Kiko Registry as their registry of choice continues to grow each month with nearly 500 clients to date!  No other registry serves as many breeders, DNAs more goats, or registers more Kikos than the National Kiko Registry.

Support performance testing

Nor does any other organization representing any breed of goat offer more educational opportunities to the meat goat industry - and we do this free of charge, investing our profits in facilities, travel and lodging for speakers, goat meat meals, promotional DVDs, brochures, advertising incentives to private sales, and more!

Ninety-five percent of the goats sold at the Southeast Kiko Goat Association sale were registered with NKR, and 100% of goats sold at the Spotlight Kiko Sale, Oklahoma Hills sale, Appalachian Kiko sale and Cream of the Crop sale are registered with the NKR.

NKR representatives attended nearly a dozen meat goat functions this year promoting the Kiko goat and NKR breeders, and the NKR partners with the Southeast Kiko Goat Association each fall to promote Kiko goats at the Sunbelt Expo, one of the largest ag expositions in the nation.  In the December issue of GoatRancher, the NKR will purchase 6 full pages to promote the Kiko and publish the NKR Breeders List.

Professional management, great customer service and the best group of Kiko breeders in the world make NKR the No. 1goat registry anywhere. To learn more about NKR, scroll through our Facebook page, visit, or call or e-mail the contacts listed on our website. If you have questions, we have answers! The NKR management is thankful for the support so many breeders have shown.

Information provided by Terry Hankins

Editor's note:  The Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test does not endorse any meat goat registry. In fact, registration is not a requirement of the test. The test is open to any breed or cross of goat, with or without registration status or eligibility. The test appreciates the support of goat breed associations and registries and believes that all groups should be united in their support of performance testing.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Predominantly Haemonchus Contortus

The fecal egg count of the pooled sample collected on October 1 (the last day of the test) was 5,025 epg. This was similar to the average of the individual fecal egg counts, especially if the unusually high egg count (of 59,350) is removed from the data set.

The October 1 fecal sample was composted of 75 percent Haemonchus, 16% Trichostrongylus/Teladorsagia mix, and 9% others. Haemonchus, better known as the barber pole worm, is a blood-sucking parasite that causes anemia and bottle jaw.  It can also cause sudden death. Chronic haemonchosis can cause loss of weight and body condition.

Trichostrongylus and Teladorsagia are often called "scour" or "bankrupt" worms. Scour worms --  because they cause ill thrift, weight loss, and scours (diarrhea). Bankrupt worms -- because they cause productivity losses, which generally affects the bottom line.

Click on graph to view in a new, larger window.

Most small ruminants have mixed parasitic infections. Strongyle-type (roundworm) eggs must be hatched in order to identify the species from the larvae. High fecal egg counts are usually indicative of a significant barber pole worm infection, as the female barber pole worm is a very prolific egg layer compared to the female worms of other species.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Summary of Parasite Resistance

For this year's Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test, the fecal egg count data has been summarized.

Fecal samples were collected every two weeks from the bucks. The samples were collected and shipped on ice via FedEx (overnite) to Virginia State University. Dr. Dahlia O'Brien's lab did the fecal analysis. Her lab also did the fecal coprocultures (larvae ID). The last larvae ID is pending. The first pooled sample was 70% Haemonchus, while the second one was 90% Haemonchus.

Upon arrival, fecal egg counts ranged from 0 to 11,900 epg and averaged 2140 + 2530 epg. This was considerably higher than last year. The sequential deworming reduced egg counts in most goats, but was not effective in all. Some producers need to be concerned about multiple anthelmintic resistance in their herds. The median fecal egg count reduction was 96 percent.

Click on graph to view larger image in a new window.

Fecal egg counts remained low for the four weeks following treatment. Egg counts began increasing at d-28 (41 days after treatment). While fecal egg counts often increase towards the end of the test, this year’s egg counts were the highest ever recorded in the test, even if the unusually high fecal egg count (of 59,350 per gram) is removed from the data set. The high egg counts and lack of clinical parasitism cannot be completely explained. The supplemental feeding of soy hulls most likely improved resilience.

The first two fecal egg counts are excluded from the data set. The first egg count is most likely a result of past management and environmental conditions. A goat should not be penalized for coming from an environment in which the parasite challenge was greater, as would be expected in the more southern states. Nor should a goat that has been dewormed (already) be given an advantage. The purpose of the test is to identify genetic differences, not to reward goats that come from more favorable production environments.

Three of David Peters's bucks had good fecal egg count data.

The second egg count is excluded from the data set because it is the result of the sequential deworming. Most of the second egg counts were very low. A goat should not be penalized for coming from an environment in which the dewormers are no longer (very) effective, though this may limit the ability to effectively treat him, if he becomes paratized during the test. All fecal egg count data that follows a deworming (two weeks prior) is excluded from the data set. In the printouts, these values crossed out.

As previously mentioned, it is not possible to obtain a sufficient fecal sample (2-4 g) from all goats each time (despite multiple attempts). Unfortunately, there is no "fair" way to deal with this problem. A goat should not be given an advantage because he has less data to evaluate. Most of goats in the test had six samples in which to evaluate. For the purpose of selecting the top-10 bucks, only one missing data point (sample) will be permitted.

Download Fecal Egg Count Summary
Download Fecal Egg Count Rankings

Summary of Parasite Resilience

For this year's Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test, data for parasite resilience (FAMACHA© scores and anthelmintic treatments) has been summarized

During the test, the median FAMACHA© score was 2. FAMACHA© scores improved during the first part of the test, then worsened, then showed improvement on the last day of the test, despite the high fecal egg counts. Two bucks had FAMACHA© scores of 1 every time they were scored:  530 (Larr, IL) and 550 (Murphy, NJ).

Click on graph to view larger in another window.

FAMACHA© scores were the primary criteria used to determine the need to deworm a goat. During the test, no goat was observed to have a FAMACHA© score of 5. Only five FAMACHA© scores of 4 were detected. Goats with FAMACHA© scores of 4 or 5 are always dewormed.

Throughout the test, many goats had FAMACHA© scores of 3. If a goat has a FAMACHA© score of 3, other factors are used to determine its need for deworming. These include the Five Point Check© and Happy Factor©. The Five Point Check© includes five check points on the animal's body (eye, jaw, back, tail, and coat) and expands the utility of the FAMACHA© system by adding evaluation criteria for other parasites that commonly affect small ruminants.

The Happy Factor© is a performance-based system of evaluation. In the future, the test may place more emphasis on performance (weight gain/loss) when making deworming decisions. Other criteria which may have factored into the decision to deworm individual goats (with FAMACHA© scores of 3) include fecal egg counts (especially most recent one) and the direction of data and scores (e.g. increasing fecal egg counts and/or worsening FAMACHA© or body condition scores).

All of 550's FAMACHA© scores were 1.

After the initial sequential deworming with albendazole, moxidectin, and levamisole, only twenty-five (25) anthelmintic treatments were administered to 18 goats during the test. A few goats were dewormed more than once. Sixty (71%) goats did not require anthelmintic treatments during the test period.

Despite the lack of clinical parasitism and need for deworming, there is likely a cost (e.g. weight gain) associated with not deworming goats with FAMACHA© scores of 3 and other indicators of sub-clinical parasitism.

Download FAMACHA© and Treatment Summary
Download FAMACHA© Treatment Rankings

Summary of ADG

For this year's Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test, data for growth (average daily gain, ADG) has been summarized.

Starting and ending weights were determined by weighing the goats two days in a row and averaging the two weights. Starting weights (recorded on July 9-10) ranged from 32.6 to 71.8 lbs. and averaged 49.1 + 8.3 lbs. Ending weights (recorded on October 1-2) ranged from 42.8 to 89.3 lbs. and averaged 62.6 + 8.0 lbs.

Click on graph to view larger image in a new window

The first 13 days of the test served as an adjustment period, to allow the goats to adjust to their new surroundings and pasture mates and to allow time for the worms to clean their systems. Weight gained during the adjustment period does not factor into the test results.

First half:  the growth challenge

The first 42 days of the test served as a "growth challenge." The goats grazed warm season annual grasses and legumes (mostly Dwarf Pearl Millet + Sunn Hemp). Forage analysis showed that the annual pastures were very nutritious, though low in dry matter. While the annual pasture lots should have been free from infective worm larvae, the central lane-way was still a source of parasitic infection.

For the first 42 days of the test, ADG ranged from -0.050 to 0.454 lbs. per day and averaged 0.205 + 0.108 lbs. per day. The top-gaining buck was 548 (Murphy, NJ). Fourteen goats, including three of P.J. Murphy's gained over 0.3 lbs. per day. Only two goats failed to gain weight during the first 42 days of the test.

Pasture was lush in the first half of the test.

Second half: the parasite challenge

The second half of the test served as a "parasite challenge." The intent was to have the goats graze the cool season grass paddocks (mostly orchardgrass and MaxQ™ tall fescue). Due to lack of rainfall, the cool season paddocks had very little regrowth, so the pasture rotation was less structured. In fact, by the end of the test, the goats had access to the entire pasture system.

The cool season paddocks had previously been grazed by sheep and mowed. In a normal rainfall year, they would have had sufficient opportunity to regrow. There was also ample time for most of the infective worm larvae to die-off.

For the second half of the test, ADG ranged from -0.236 to 0.20 lbs. per day and averaged 0.017 + 0.103 lbs. per day. The top-gaining buck was 539 (Majancsik, KY). Other top gainers (over 0.18 lbs. per day) included 510 (Barnes, KY), 543 (Maynard-Dishman, TN), and 574 (Smith, VA). Thirty-six (43%) of the bucks lost weight during the parasite challenge period (day 42-84). While there was still forage available, forage quality and quantity had declined significantly during the second half of the test.

Pasture quality and quantity was poorer in the second half.

For the 84-day duration of the test, ADG ranged from -0.092 to 0.255 lbs. per day and averaged 0.111 + 0.073 lbs. per day. The top-gaining buck was 539. Eight goats averaged over 0.2 lbs. of gain per day. In addition to the Majancsik buck, they included 501 (Adams, IL), 543 (Maynard-Dishman), 551 (Nelson, MD), 568 (Purich, VT), 584 (Weber, IL), 586 (Whelan, KY), and 592 (Wilborn, AL). Seven goats lost weight during the test.

Download ADG Summary
Download ADG Rankings

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Ten Most Worm Resistant Bucks

Despite the record high fecal egg counts, several bucks demonstrated resistance to parasites during this year's Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test. In fact, several consignors had more than one buck with demonstrated resistance to internal parasites (worms -- primarily the barber pole worm).

The previous standards (Gold, Silver, and Bronze) for parasite resistance required average fecal egg counts of less than 500, 750, and 1000 epg, respectively, and high egg counts not to exceed 1000, 1500, and 2000 epg, respectively. While these standards are still being considered, the overall goal of this year's test is to pick the 10 top-performing bucks, given the conditions of this year's test.

Click on table to view in larger window

Fecal samples were collected from the rectum of each buck every two weeks. Occasionally, an individual fecal sample could be obtained without having to probe the rectum. The first fecal samples collected on June 26 do not factor into the test results, since they are the result of previous management and environmental conditions.

The purpose of the initial sequential deworming with albendazole, moxidecin, and levamisole was to reduce fecal egg counts to (near) zero and to ensure that all the goats started the test equally and "free" from parasites. This way, the differences observed in parasite resistance (and other traits) could be attributed to genetics and not environmental differences. While the sequential deworming was not effective in all goats, the median fecal egg count reduction was 96 percent.

For the test to be valid, all bucks must be treated the same. They must comprise a single contemporary group. Test bucks are not a "perfect" contemporary group, but the test offers the best opportunity to make buck-to-buck comparisons for the traits being measured.

Click on graph to view in a larger window

In the test, each buck has seven potential data points for parasite resistance. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to obtain a fecal sample (2-4 g) from a goat, despite multiple attempts. Missing samples (data points) are a dilemma. Every sample that is collected has the potential to yield a high (disqualifying) fecal egg count).  No sample = no high egg count.

Only bucks with at least FIVE fecal egg counts (data points) will be considered for top-10 selection. Missing egg counts during the last four weeks of the test may also preclude a buck from top-10 consideration, since these were the sampling days when egg counts were most likely to be high. Missing samples in the early part of the test, when egg counts were low due to the initial sequential deworming, are less problematic.