1) What are your particular breeding goals for your herd, beyond a healthy herd that reflects the Kinder Breed Standard?
For me, in addition to a correct animal that displays appropriate breed type, function is truly key. At the end of the day, I want my Kinders both to produce enough milk to be a competitive dairy animal for their size and to efficiently convert feed into a quickly developing and muscular carcass.
2) What do you see as the general pros and cons of linebreeding?
Linebreeding intensifies and solidifies traits. Its primary goal is to influence consistency. Unfortunately, this does not mean only positive traits, but negative ones as well. While breeding should always be done with careful thought and clear goals, linebreeding even more so. Ultimately it is a tool that should be wielded carefully, as it has the potential to improve or weaken the resulting offspring.
Please offer an example of a linebreeding you have chosen to do.
Still Meadow Diego. This 3.5 year-old buck is the result of a close linebreeding (sire bred to his own dam). [See pedigree.]
4) What was your reasoning behind this particular match?
After having Diego’s dam for many years and being familiar with her strengths and weaknesses, as well seeing a lot of positive qualities in her son Rusty’s offspring, I decided to experiment with breeding them together to solidify their numerous similar and ideal qualities. In general I prefer to be as familiar as possible with a goat and its lines before experimenting with heavy linebreeding.
5) How did the offspring turn out? Did you get what you wanted?
Arguably, Diego turned out very well. I’d like to see more levelness hip to pin and straighter front legs (he turns out), and he lost a bit of size compared to his immediate family, but otherwise I’m extremely pleased with him. As a sire he’s been very interesting. He nearly universally adds width throughout (including rump width), heaviness of bone, and muscling to his kids. But he doesn’t seem to affect much else. He has a pretty decent topline but didn’t seem to pass that on to any of his kids. Whatever the dam was like, the kids took after her. I noticed that tendency to a much lesser extreme in his sire (influencing levelness in toplines and rumps). Tightening those genetics definitely led to a more pronounced bend toward (not) affecting levelness. To be fair, Diego has not seemed to make any kid worse from my observation; he just lends no improvement whatsoever in that area.
6) What traits will lead you to decide to cull an animal, and how does line breeding affect your willingness to cull?
Any fault or extreme weakness in any area of conformation and type could be a reason to cull. I’m quicker to cull for poor udders and substandard milk production, as well as lacking muscularity and general meatiness. But it depends on each individual and whether that goat has enough positive qualities to be worth keeping in the Kinder gene pool.
7) How do you personally balance linebreeding with outcrossing and at what point do you decide to outcross?
I regularly outcross for various reasons (including maintaining genetic diversity). I tend to outcross when I’m trying to bring in traits I need to improve on, and I linebreed when I’m trying to cement in the qualities I like and want more consistency in.
8) If you are also buying or breeding first gens, what are your strategies for introducing terrific new genetics that don’t derail the traits you have linebred to achieve?
I chose to focus on a few select traits when picking Nubians and Pygmies for my first generation lines. I went with heavy-boned, well-muscled animals (particularly in the Nubians) that displayed a lot of capacity and matured early. I paired that with nice udders and heavy production while avoiding extreme faults such as overly steep rumps, overly weak chines, etc. My first gen kids so far have been displaying the best of these traits, with few and mild weaknesses throughout. I intend to use them to influence better udders and higher milk production in my existing lines, while complementing my general style (heavy, efficient meat traits).
By Elizabeth Sweet and Ashley Kennedy