I hope you each had a memorable Christmas and have moved into 2023 with positive things happening.
The major issue on most breeders minds at present seems to be the Myotonic gene with the reaction to identifying Myotonia in Australian NDs becoming a very divisive issue in the Australian ND industry.
Interestingly, a lot of the discussion around Myotonia seems to have failed to grasp that it is a genetic mutation that is NOT a biosecurity issue, is NOT a disease, is NOT Painful, is NOT fatal and is NOT catching.
It should also be noted that the Myotonia gene is actually a requirement for registry in several goat breeds that are internationally recognised. Across the meat Goat Industry it is largely acceptable and even sought out by some as it can increase muscle (Meat) bulk. Australian meat goat breeders have been importing myotonia+ goats for several years.
While it is certainly not a trait that we would like to see widely distributed in the Australian ND Herd the only way it can spread within the Australia ND Herd is if ND Breeders breed Myotonia + carriers or NDs potentially carrying the gene to each other.
The NDGSA Board believes Myotonia is something that requires further testing to identify carriers, particularly new genetics prior to import, and education provided to the breeders. A coordinated program of Testing & Education is required across all the societies that register NDs in Australia as piecemeal implementation of policies by individual registration bodies will not provide a consistent industry wide solution.
While not a newly discovered genetic mutation it is a mutation that has not been known to exist in the ND population in any great numbers. In the wider context it is likely that Myotonia may not actually be as problematic as knowingly allowing Polled goats to breed producing Hermaphrodite /Intersex progeny or unknowingly breeding several rare lethal genes known to exist in the goat population.
Testing for the Myotonic gene is now commercially available from Infogenenz, the NZ company that performs most genetic testing for the Australian Goat industry. The NDGSA Board firmly believes that all imported genetics held in Australia should now to be tested and the results made publicly available. The transparency would allow informed breeding decisions to be made by ND breeders going forward.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact any member of the NDGSA Board if we can be of any assistance.
NDGSA Membership Adjustments
The recent NDGSA Board approved changes to the membership structure and associated cost has resulted in changes to Membership renewal dates and costs.
All Full Memberships have been extended for a further 12 months. This has reactivated a number of memberships that had recently expired.
All Social and Memberships have now been converted to Full Memberships.
Several Members who have paid memberships subscriptions during the changeover period will be contacted separately. If during the changeover period you have been accidentally charged the higher membership rate please contact please contact us.
Australian Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Database
In December 2022 Members of the NDGSA and some Breeders and ND owners were invited to participate in the Australian ND Dairy Goat Database.
The holiday period and illness have delayed the gathering of information from Owner/Breeders for inclusion in the system.
However, the project is still on course and as information is provided we add it to the system for publication in the near future.
In the meantime all Owner/Breeders are offered the opportunity to provide their breeding data for inclusion. If you or your friends are interested in participating email us to obtain a copy of the input spreadsheet.
Participation is voluntary and NDs registered with any organisation are welcome for inclusion. IT IS NOT A REGISTRY.
The database will provide Australian ND Industry participants with a single source detailing Australian NDs, who owns them, their pedigree. important ancestors and their potential impact on the Australian industry will also be included. A wide range of historical data on early USA and Australian breeders and a range of ND ancestors will also be available.
Inclusion of your NDs in the database is free of charge and a basic version of the database will be made available as a free public information resource via the NDGSA website. It is intended the Database will provide the Australian industry with wide ranging access to information regarding the Australian ND herd bred in various States and registered with various organisations.
A snapshot of the proposed database can be found at the following link Australian ND Information (ndgsa.org.au)
The linked page is a snapshot of data from the development database and reflects what the database will look like and how it is proposed to present information when it goes live before the end of the year. The NDGSA Board is now liaising with members regarding the final design and implementation of the database. If you would like to provide any input to the project you can do so to email@example.com
Members of the NDGSA will have access to the basic data plus a range of links as an education, promotional & marketing tool. Data available to Members will include pedigrees and wide ranging information on Australian NDs, their ancestors and breeders – all of which should be helpful in making breeding decisions.
The public will have access to the same database but without access to the Pedigree and Information pages which will remain limited to Members. This will allow Members to use the database as a marketing tool, publicising the animals they have bred and where the public can find your stud to seek more information.
It is proposed the public will only have access to links to Member Facebook and Member Website pages where they have one and wish it to be publicised. As an NDGSA Member you may wish to have input to what other data should be made available to the public.
Your comments on the proposed database are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
BUILDING THE BREED
CASTLE ROCK FARM
A recent source of high quality stock for the Australian ND gene pool is Castle Rock Farm based in California USA.
Castle Rock Farm is the home of ADGA registered Nigerian Dwarf goats, various laying hens, one guard llama, an Armenian Gampr (livestock guardian dog) and the best Border Collie evah. They are located in the rolling hills of northern Vacaville, on the Western edge of the Great Central Valley with Sacramento to the East, Napa & San Francisco to the West.
In 2019 Castle Rock Farm was effectively destroyed in the California bushfires that year. Sarah Hawkins has been rebuilding since that time and the new homestead is almost ready for habitation. Regrettably a number of the stock were also lost in the fires and Castle Rock has not been as prominent in the ND industry Show and Milking scene since that time. That is hopefully about to be rectified.
Castle Rock say they are always happy to discuss their animals with anyone (including unsuspecting passers-by) including both their strengths and weaknesses. CRF participate in 305 day DHIA milk testing, although they did take a couple of years off from it a few years ago (finding a tester willing to actually come once a month is more difficult than one would think and testing is not cheap!). CRF, when possible, update the does’ milk records on a monthly basis as results are received. In 2008 CRF did one day tests for a few of our does at the AGS National Show, and were quite happy with the results, including CH-MCH Castle Rock Once Ina Blue Moon 2*D making Top 10 while standing a mere 16 3/8 inches tall!
Even in years that CRF have not been able to participate in 305 day milk test, all does are milked twice a day for at least 8-10 months. Because CRF use herd’s milk for their business as the herd is run and managed as a dairy, and a doe that does not meet CRF milking standards does not stay on the farm.
CRF participated in ADGA’s Linear Appraisal program in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2015 and found it to be an invaluable source of information. All does who have been appraised have their scores listed, as CRF feel it is more honest to give an accurate picture of the whole herd, not just the very top does. Few of our bucks have any show wins since they mostly stay home, and prove their worth through their daughters.
Currently CRF are still rebuilding after horrific forest fires in 2019 but have not lost enthusiasm and will be back bigger and better than ever..
Castle Rock has had a significant influence on the ND industry in Australia. Imported Castle Rock buck genetics include:
Castle Rock Harvest Moon
Genetics imported by First Fleet Dairy Goats Victoria
Has at least 11 permanent champion daughters, 4 SG daughters and Brash Ice is his SG son!
Harvey’s daughters have done quite well in the show ring!
Permanent Champion daughters include GCH Castle Rock Snownamie 2*M 4*D VEEE 90, CH Castle Rock Helen of Troy, CH Castle Rock Penny For Luck, GCH Castle Rock Ice Floe, GCH 3G Family Farm HM Peaches, and CH-ARMCH Castle Rock Sweet Heart.
Castle Rock Mad About The Moon
Genetics imported by First Fleet Dairy Goats Victoria
Was only used as a sire two times while he was at Castle Rock Farm, siring one daughter and two sons before he was sold. He came back to Castle Rock in 2017 because the herd to which he was sold was closed. Fortunately, First Fleet Dairy Goats in Victria were able to purchase him at that time.
(The one daughter he sired while at Castle Rock Farm, Dog Island Skylla, was the result of an outside breeding with a Castle Rock doe, Castle Rock Lady Rainicorn, owned by Dog Island Farm.) Skylla was Linear Appraised in 2021 at VVEE 90 as a third freshener.
What is clear, is that “Mad” was the product of absolutely wonderful genetics:
SIRE: Castle Rock Black Oak (Ex93)
DAM: SG CGH Castle Rock Moon Beam (EEEE92)
Castle Rock Guy Noir
At the 2008 AGS National Show, a trio of Guy Noir’s doe kids won Best Get of Sire, and two of his daughters- Little Dipper GN Flashdance, and Sly Farms GN Catalina, have won best junior doe in show at all-breed goat shows. I’m very pleased with the general appearance and dairy character of his offspring so far.
Guy now has at least five finished champion daughters-
CH-MCH Sly Farms GN Catalina,
SGCH CRF Castle Rock Penny Wise 1*M 3*D VVEE 90,
GCH-ARMCH CRF Castle Rock Black Ice 4*D 2*M EEEE 92,
CH Castle Rock Lunar Eclipse VEEE 91, and
GCH CRF Castle Rock Roxanne *D 1*M VEEE 91.
At the 2010 REDGA Nigerian Specialty show three of Guy’s first freshening daughters won Senior Get of Sire, and CRF Castle Rock Roxanne was Best Udder of Breed,.
Guy Noir daughters repeated this at the 2013 REDGA Nigerian Specialty Show as five year olds, with Roxanne again getting Best Udder of Breed.
At the 2015 ADGA National Show, a trio of his daughters won 3rd place Get of Sire. The judges have noted that Guy’s daughters were stamped with dairy character, and all had very good height and arch to the escutcheon.
All CRF imports to Australia each have their own page on the NDGSA Database.as do a number of their important ancestors.
1 MINUTE WITH ????
THIS MONTH WE SPENT “1 MINUTE WITH CATHERINE IRELAND from Free Selectors Farm NSW and asked her for her thoughts.
How long have you been breeding goats?
We are about six years into owning dairy goats. Andrew has had goats on and off throughout his life, mainly as household pets and weed control. However it was not until we met did the true obsession begin.
We have both had a keen interest in the art of cheese for years before we met. We are now over six years into our joint goat cheese journey, focusing on sustainability, animal health and bringing the cheese making skills and methods learnt from times spent helping on a goat farm in the west of Latvia!
When did you get your first Nigerian Dwarf Goat?
It has been a real learning curve over the last six years getting into dairy goats. When we first started out and decided to progress with the Nigerian dwarf breed, we felt out of our depth. While the breed is well established in the States, the breed is still considered relatively new in Australia compared to other dairy goat breeds. Our breeding focus is to continue to develop the our ND herd as a dairy goat herd and we have had to make careful breeding decisions to meet this.
What led you to buy an ND?
The ease of handling and versatility of the breed ticked the most boxes for the size of our enterprise. With cheese production at the forefront of informing our decisions over traditional dairy breeds.
What is the most attractive thing about ND Goats?
The quality of their milk- there is no other milk out there that’s tastes as delicious and yield such great ratios for cheese production.
How many NDs do you have now?
We are about to undertake our first ever AI programme, we have sourced semen from a number of different breeders focused on productivity. We have 10 does with CIDRs in situ. We have another 7 First Fresheners that will be put with a chosen buck. We also have another 6 young doe kids that will be bred once they come of age and size. We currently keep two bucks, FF Cas (100%) and Dandalee Park Timtam (75%) and a cute little wether named Jeremiah.
Do you see a rosy future for the ND Dairy Goat in Australia?
We believe that if breeders continue to develop the Nigerian dwarf as a performance breed for milk production PLUS with careful and informed genetic selection the breed could continue to develop a strong reputation as the choice breed for artisan cheese producers and homesteaders alike.
What single piece of advice would you offer to new Members?
Determine what your breeding goals are early and align yourself with those that share similar views and ethics on responsible animal breeding.
MYOTONIC "FAINTING GOAT" UPDATE
Subsequent to the initial announcement by First Fleet Dairy Goats that Highpoint Arnoth had been identified as carrier of the myotonic gene First Fleet have conducted further testing. The results are as follows:
- First Fleet Chloe is positive as a carrier (carries a single copy of the mutated gene).
- First Fleet Pan is positive as a carrier.
- First Fleet Hermes is negative.
- First Fleet Frederik is negative.
Note: of the three descendants of Highpoint Arnoth that were the only First Fleet Arnoth derived Australian born kids, only one tested positive as a carrier.
- Pecan Knoll Bob the Builder is negative.
- Dav-lyn Appolossa is negative.
- First Fleet Molly (a Pan daughter) is negative..
- First Fleet Miranda (a Pan granddaughter) is negative.
It should be stressed that myotonia is not a disease; it cannot spread through a herd except by breeding. The progeny of two goats, neither of which is a carrier, cannot have myotonia, nor be a carrier of the mutant gene.
Descendants of First Fleet Pan & First Fleet Chloe are apt to be carriers, but it should be noted that being a descendant of Chloe is not a certainty of being a carrier (see above, Molly and Miranda).
First Fleet have advised they will be testing more goats which are antecedents of First Fleet goats and the results will be made public. As more information is made available from wider testing in the community, and the results are made public, you will be kept informed. It is hoped everyone who conducts testing will make the results publicly available.
The NDGSA will include Myotonic Test results in the NDGSA Database as they become publicly available.
READING USA PEDIGREES
UNDERSTANDING USA DAIRY GOAT PEDIGREES
Before buying Nigerian Dwarf goats, it’s a good idea to learn how to read (while understanding) dairy goat pedigrees. However, understanding goat pedigrees can be difficult as there are multiple USA registries and each has unique methods of signifying superior milk production, conformation, and genetics on the pedigree.
As NDs in Australia are bred largely from USA imported stock this article is intended to provide NDGSA Members with skills to interpret USA based ND pedigrees.
The USA Nigerian Dwarf goat registries most likely to be referenced in USA pedigrees are ADGA and AGS. The table below provides an explanation of how milk production awards and show designations are earned for both ADGA and AGS.
In its most basic form, a pedigree identifies the ancestors of a particular goat. Designations signifying milk production awards from testing, showing, and linear appraisal or classification are added to the pedigree.to indicate the quality of ancestors.
MILK PRODUCTION AWARDS (*M, *D, *B, & *S)
Since Nigerian Dwarf goats are dairy animals, a good place to start understanding the pedigrees are with the *M (ADGA) or *D (AGS) designations. These identify that a doe has participated in a milk production performance program and has successfully passed the required production levels.
For example, a *M doe is one that has produced a sufficient amount of milk for her age to qualify as a star doe in ADGA. A *D doe has done the same in AGS. A 2*M doe is a second-generation star doe (her dam also earned her milking star). A 3*M is third generation, and so on. It’s the same for the *D’s in AGS.
Stars and pluses in the pedigree are a good indicator that the goat has great potential for milk production. Goats can also earn milking stars based on their progeny and this is obviously the only way a buck earns milk production awards. When a sufficient number of a goat’s progeny have earned their milking stars, then that goat also earns its milking stars. For bucks, these are the *B (ADGA) or *S (AGS) designations. If you look in the table below, it explains exactly how a doe or buck can earn their milking stars.
SHOW TITLES (CH, MCH, GCH, ARMCH)
Goats are awarded titles for show wins, and MCH is the title for a Champion in AGS while CH is a Champion in ADGA. To reach Champion status a goat must win three shows as grand champion (beating all other goats of that breed in a show) under at least two different judges.The
MILK TESTING BASICS
Milk testing is the foundation for breeding selection in serious ND Dairy farming as it provides the opportunity to select does that have larger milk volumes and longer lactations when making breeding decisions.
Breeders can participate in a Milk testing program in a private manner to gather data for their own breeding aims (No Milk Awards) or as part of a supervised program such as the DGSA Milk Award System to obtain Milk Awards.
DGSA MILK TESTING
Although there are minor state differences the basic procedure to conduct DGSA milk testing is as follows:
Contact a State Milk test Awards Officer and register your intent to participate in Milk testing. Some states have a small fee for this service.
Contact a Milk Test Recorder who lives in your area and arrange a time to test your doe(s). Your DGSA State Branch will have a list of Milk Recorders who are available to assist.
Choose a Milk Testing Laboratory – your test recorder will assist with selecting the best lab for your purposes.
Obtain Test Bottles and recording sheets from the laboratory.
Co-ordinate your testing with your Milk Test Recorder:
First Recording – 12 Hours after Strip Out
Your Milk test recorder will weigh the milk, record the weight and take/send samples to the laboratory.
Second Recording – similar to First Recording.
The laboratory will return your Milk Test Results.
If you are interested in milk testing for your herd contact Board Member Glennys Fletcher (email@example.com) who is providing mentoring for members wishing to take part.
Dandalee Park have kindly made their Milk Award result data available as an example of a DGSA supervised testing program – see below.
EXAMPLE MILK TESTING RESULTS
- NSW GOAT SHOWS coming up and known to have ND Classes
- February 2023
- Bega Show – 17th to 19th – Goat Display Only
- Gulgong Show – 17th to 18th DGSA
- Maitland Show – 17th to 19th DGSA
- March 2023
- Goulburn Show – 3rd to 5th MGBA
- Tamworth Show – 3rd to 5th DGSA
- Robertson Show – 10th to 11th MGBA
- Yass Show – 18th DGSA
- Camden Show – 24th to 25th DGSA
- April 2023
- Hawkesbury Show – 28th to 30th DGSA
- May 2023
- Bathurst Royal Show – 5th to 7th DGSA
- Wellington Show – 13th DGSA
Send us the Dates for Shows near you and we will put them in the Mar/April Issue.
NANANGO SHOW RESULTS
TASMANIAN SHOW RESULTS
As part of the annual Goat Fest in Tasmania an All Breed Show is held to showcase goats in all their types to members of the public.
The MGBA, DGSA, Boer Goat Society and Mohair Breeders all run concurrent shows on the one day, a fantastic opportunity for anyone to see the types of goats available and which one might suit their needs.
Their were good numbers of Nigerian Dwarf Goats shown in both the MGBA ring and the DGSA ring.
With a Nigerian doe receiving Best in Show in both rings. An outstanding achievement considering there were at least 8 other breeds on display, with good numbers of entries in all classes.
In the MGBA ring a stunning young doe received Runner up Best of Breed Nigerian and it will be great to see how she performs in the future.
All in all both rings had good numbers of ND’s with some stunning animals on display.
We have a bright future ahead as a breed.
First Fleet Karina
Exhibited by Thelina Goats
Krystal Rose Penelope 84.4%
RECENT BOARD MEETINGS
Members present , Wayne Graham, Kylie Whelan, Megan Brennan & Glennys Fletcher. Apology from Lesley McDowell.
Meeting was held by teleconference.
Members present, Wayne Graham, Kylie Whelan,, Megan Brennan, Melanie Thayer & Glennys Fletcher.
Apology from Lesley McDowell.
Meeting was conducted by teleconference.