Monday, June 29, 2015

84 Bucks Start Maryland Test

Eighty-four (84) meat goat bucklings started the 2015 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test on June 26. The test is conducted at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research & Education Center in Keedysville.

The purpose of the test is to evaluate the performance of meat goat bucklings consuming a pasture diet with natural exposure to internal parasites, primarily the barber pole worm. The top-ten bucks will be selected primarily on the basis of growth performance (ADG), parasite resistance (fecal egg counts) and parasite resilience (FAMACHA© scores and need for treatment).

A sample of this year's test bucks.
This year's test bucks were provided by twenty-four consignors from twelve states:  Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia. There are ten new consignors to this year's test. Fifteen consignors  have previously consigned bucks.

This year's bucks are all Kiko or Kiko-influenced. This is the first year in which no fullblood Boers were consigned; only some crosses are in the test. Upon arrival, the bucks ranged in weight from 31.6 to 71.8 lbs. and averaged 49.0 lbs ± 8.4. The median weight was 47.8 lbs. FAMACHA© scores ranged from 1 to 4 and averaged 2.2 ± 0.7. The median score was 2.0.

After a 13-day adjustment period, the bucks will be evaluated for 84 days. They will be handled every two weeks to determine body weights, FAMACHA©, body condition, coat condition, dag, and fecal consistency scores. Individual fecal samples will be collected bi-weekly. While on test, the bucks will be managed as a single herd. They will be rotationally grazed among six ~2 acre paddocks planted in a variety of cool and warm season annual and perennial plants. They will be fed a daily supplement of soybean hulls, 0.75 lbs. per head per day.

To follow the progress of this year's test, visit the blog at

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