Choosing a Herdsire, Part 2

Reader Contribution by Caitlyn Menne
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Choosing a herdsire, part two! I had originally thought that this would be a quick blog post for me to write, but now I’m seeing that this is actually quite an intimidating project! Before we get too far into this, I would like to state here that I am not a licensed dairy goat judge. Someday I would like to be, but right now I’m not; I’m just an ordinary breeder who wishes to give some tips and pointers here. So let’s dive in and start critiquing!

Both of the above goats are Nigerian Dwarfs, and I must say they are both quite stunning. The black kid is from Zanzabeez Nigerians, in Michigan (, and the golden buckling is from Thoma Homestead in Tennessee (

These two bucklings are actually a little hard to critique, since they’re both so nice! Let your eye follow each buckling’s contour; do you see any parts that jut out awkwardly, or seem rough? Or do they look pretty smoothly blended throughout? I’m leaning towards the latter, as I say that both bucklings look very balanced and blended; these breeders know what they’re doing! Looking at the first red line that has the “A” above it, your eye is drawn to their toplines. Both are built “uphill”, which is desirable, their withers are pronounced, but not too sharp, and they are both pretty level in the rump. If I could change either of them though, I would like to see a straighter rump on the golden kid. See how his rump begins to slant past the hips, whereas the black kid is more level?

The red letter “B” is at the brisket on both bucklings. What do you see? Which one is better? If you think the golden kid has a better “brisket extension” then you’re right! The black kid still has a very nice brisket extension, but between the two of them, the golden kid wins. The interesting thing about dairy goats is that every part of the conformation standard relates directly to productivity. Some animals need to look a certain way simply for looks, but dairy goats differ in this; it’s not just looks, every flaw and virtue is going to affect their potential as a dairy animal. The brisket extension shows how much chest capacity the animal has. The more extension, the more room there is inside for the heart and lungs.

On to “C” now. Your eye is sweeping down their depth line, going towards the rear legs. What do you think? Looking at these two handsome boys, I see much more depth on the black kid, but we have to keep in mind that we don’t know the ages on these kids. As an animal matures they will continue to get deeper and deeper, so the black kid could very well be a month or two older than the golden kid. But I do like the black kid’s setup. His barrel (stomach) is big, which not only hints that he can eat formidable amounts of forage, but there’s also room in there for good rumen capacity. To pass that depth onto his daughters would mean that they could eat more, digest more, and ultimately produce more milk. I’m going to guess that the golden kid is roughly four weeks younger than the black kid, so I think he is going to mature nicely and get some really nice depth throughout as he gets bigger.

“D” shows the “rear leg angulation” (can you say that five times really fast?). Both kids are absolutely lovely on this score, so I’m not even going to nit-pick it. [wink] So those are the four basics to look at, but what about everything else? Take another look at both boys. Do their feet “toe-out” (point outwards, as if they were splayed), or are they straight? Can you see their shoulder blades up near the withers, or are they blended well? I don’t have any rear or front views on these boys, otherwise we would also look at their width, escutcheons, check and see if their testicles are even, and overall balance. But, I personally like their legs, and stance; both kids look very nice and straight. The golden kid appears to toe-out slightly, but the owner has informed me that it is due to his stance at the moment. The black kid’s shoulders are excellently blended, and are very smooth. If you look at the golden kid, you can see his shoulder blades up near his withers, so I would prefer to see better blending there…

Overall, both are extremely nice kids, who will mature into bucks that will be an asset to any herd. If I had to choose one buckling over the other, though, I would go with the black kid from Zanzabeez. We haven’t seen the dams of either of these boys, so my mind could be changed from that standpoint, but from what I see before me, I think the black would be my choice.

Now, it’s your turn to be the judge. Below are pictures of three Nubian bucks. Which do you like best, and why? What faults vs. what good points do you see in each one? If you could make changes on them, what would you do? This is your turn to speak out; next week, I’ll write the next post and chime in my two cents worth on each buck. 

First buck is from a breeder is Australia (no website at this time).

Second buck is from Prairie Trail Nubians.

Third buck is from Day Dream Farms.

You can read more about  my goat adventures at, To Sing With Goats.