We participated in the American Dairy Goat Association’s Linear Appraisal program this month. An independent appraiser came out and appraised all of our goats. She looked and measured individual attributes such as their height and rump width. They received values for individual parts of their bodies such as their shoulders or rear legs. Then they were given an overall score based on general appearance and mammary system. Finally they were given an overall number value.
The highest score that can be received by an individual appraiser is a 93. A 94 can be achieved, but it requires going to a committee.
In the past, the highest score we’ve achieved was an 87. We are super excited that this year we received our first 90 with Fantasmic!
And we had many in the 86-88 range.
We participate in the program because it helps us to constantly improve our herd. After our first appraisal (years ago), we learned that our rumps were getting too narrow. This could result in difficult kiddings and not enough room to support larger mammary systems. We’ve dramatically improved that in our herd.
Our next appraisal showed that our chests were getting a little too narrow. So we’ve been improving that.
With this appraisal we learned that we need to start to pay more attention to legs and shoulders.
Improving the conformation of our goats helps us breed goats that can support themselves over years of milking. And better understanding their conformation helps us to choose which kids to keep and which ones to sell based on how we’re trying to improve our herd.
Overall it’s a great program and we learn so much from it every time we participate!