A Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test was initiated at the Western Maryland Research & Education Center in Keedysville, Maryland, on June 10, 2006. Forty-seven (47) male goats are currently grazing at the facility. The goats will remain on test until October 7, 2006. While on test, they will be evaluated for growth performance, carcass merit, and parasite resistance.
The goats in the test have been consigned by breeders from seven states: Maryland (23), Pennsylvania (1), Virginia (12), West Virginia (3), Georgia (4), Tennessee (1), and Oklahoma (3). Of the 47 goats, 35 are intact males, 12 are wethers. The goats are mostly Kiko and Kiko x Boer crosses. There are a few high-percentage Boers on test.
The goats will be handled every two weeks to determine FAMACHA© eye anemia scores, body condition scores, and the need for deworming individual animals. Every four weeks they will be weighed. Fecal samples will be collected at 0, 28, and 56 days and analysed for fecal egg count determination. Towards the end of the testing period, back fat and ribeye area will be determined using realtime ultrasound.
While on test, the only supplementation the goats will receive is free choice minerals. Minerals are being provided by Summit Livestock Minerals, of Pulaski, Virginia.
To follow the progress of the test, be sure to visit the Performance Test Blog at http://mdgoattest.blogspot.com.