I’m sad. The 2023 Type Evaluations were coming to the Maritimes this year, finally, and the program has now been cancelled due to a shortage of entries. Not enough of us breeders valued the evaluation system enough to put our time and money into the program. So, what is it, and why do I care?
According to our CMGA (Canadian Meat Goat Association), “Type Evaluation (or Classification) is a program that has been utilized for many years by other livestock groups (primarily the dairy industries). Type evaluation is the comparison of an individual animal (and its parts) against the ideal Canadian Boer Goat – according to the current CMGA scorecard and breed standards. “
So how can this tool be utilized by Nova Scotian Boer goat breeders who have not had access to this program yet, you ask?
I use Evaluation scores a lot to choose my next herd sire from far-off breeders in Ontario and/or Quebec, that I may never get the chance to visit. Because I am still new to the Boer goat breed, and maybe not so sure what is considered better in one specimen over another, having that black and white score where an impartial, knowledgeable person has seen the animal and given it a score, helps me out a lot. Photos may say a thousand words, but fluffy coats, blurry photos, lighting at the wrong angle (I’ve taken all those bad photos!), makes it pretty hard to judge an animal from a few photos. The buckling that I buy will not have been given an evaluation score yet, as bucks must be at least a year old to be evaluated and does have to have kidded at least once and within the last year, but maybe his dam, granddam, sire, grandsire, or half sibs have been evaluated in the past. I can look those scores up in past issues of the ‘Meat Goat Journal’, going back to 2008. Not perfect for sure. But the genetics should be there. If I keep picking goats with lots of high scoring ancestors in their pedigree, eventually the quality of the goats I have in my barn must go up.
I’m learning as I go, from year to year, so I can see what wild cards genetics can throw at us. For example, a couple years ago I bought a buckling that had an amazing pedigree, full of high scorers on both sides. But he didn’t grow well, looked small and short-backed. Yes, he had contracted mites, at least twice in his formative youth, and I didn’t give the mites enough credit for sucking the life out of him so much that they could affect his growth. I only used him for 2 seasons and then sold him cheaply. Looking back, my biggest, nicest, longest backed does are his daughters, just as his pedigree had promised me.
I’m not dismissing showing and show wins. Not at all. Many breeders put a pile of work into showing their goats, and it is a pile of work, especially when you are striving to keep clean herds. But locally, we have nothing for meat goat shows. And in the show ring, you are only competing against whoever else showed up to that day’s show. I’ve shown Bernese Mountain dogs and won ‘Best-of-Breed’ locally, but I can’t give that ribbon any value as I had the only dog of that breed on that particular day. If we lived in Quebec or Ontario with big shows like the Royal Winter Fair, now those are impressive placings and maybe evaluation scores wouldn’t be so important to us.
So yes, I was one of those breeders that did sign up for the 2023 Evaluation Program. It wouldn’t have been cheap event, but I feel that with the knowledge that I would have gained about my herd and evaluating goats in general, it would have been an invaluable learning experience in helping me choose the keepers and the cullers going forward and helped me become an even better Boer goat breeder.
So in the interest of promoting what the evaluation program can do for us, I compiled this Excel spreadsheet with ALL the goat’s evaluations, going back to 2008. Feel free to download it and be able to sort it, enlarge the font, find a goat by name or registration #, and then use the link to the CLRC website to see the full pedigree.
If you find any errors, please email me directly to let me know so I can make it right.
You will not be able to make the corrections to this one yourselves. I do hope that breeders find it useful.