This article first appeared in the Fall 2019 Kinder Quarterly. Derek's insight and advice has been incredibly helpful to me as a new breeder!
Derek Eddy received his first Kinder doe and wether via the doe chain, from Sue Huston. Twenty years later, Derek’s Kinder Goats is still going strong! He shares some of his advice for breeding Kinders and describes what it takes to make a “milkable” Kinder doe. What is a breeding quality Kinder, to you? A breeding quality Kinder is a goat that is equal meat and dairy traits and blends those traits into a beautiful animal. My ideal doe is 110-125 pounds and 23-26 inches at the shoulder. Feminine and strong, medium-boned, not heavy-boned or coarse. She kids easily with two or three kids, and raises those kids with plenty of milk leftover for the house. The kids need fast growth rates and low birth weights. That is something I pay a lot of attention to – I do not want to spend extra feed getting kids up to market weight, whichever market that might be. A buck should be growthy and a good weight for his age, with adequate muscling and bone. Kinder bucks should not be frail, light-boned, or narrow. He should be thick in his shoulders and throughout to his rear end, with strong, muscular rear legs. I prefer bucks that come from easy-kidding and prolific lines. Ideally, a buck has a deep body, but keeping in mind that the Kinder is a mid-sized goat, I don’t want a buck that is too heavy. In my experience, goats that are heavy-boned are not as efficient – they take more feed and time to gain the same amount of weight as a medium-boned goat.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF DEREK'S KINDERS
Any advice on culling? I am willing to work with almost any goats and their conformation flaws, to make improvements through their kids. I have average Kinder-type does and does with average udders that, when bred to the right buck, will put consistency into that next generation. But culling is a great way to improve your herd quickly. To be honest, I have culled entire family lines before. Was it hard? You bet. But my herd only benefited from those tough decisions. Culling becomes addicting – once your herd starts looking better, you strive to keep that quality. Not every kid born is breeding quality; stay away from breeders who think otherwise. One of the biggest things I cull for is disposition. I do not like needing to chase and catch does to bring them in at milking time. So, does with unwilling dispositions get culled first.
Have you found that udder texture and orifice size are highly heritable or not so much? In my herd, I’ve found I can improve orifice size within one breeding, as long as the genetics are there. Udder texture sometimes takes longer and is a two-point trait for me. First, the doe has to milk down well – no meaty udders. Second, the doe has to have soft, supple, stretchy skin. So, sometimes, it takes more than one breeding to get both qualities in the same goat.
Can you share a little bit about one of your does you consider to be a very “milkable” Kinder?
This is Derek’s Kinders SD Delphine, out of DKG Streak X DKG Delphi. Delphine freshened for the first time in November 2018. I was a little disappointed with milk production, but her tenacity and willingness to milk made me take a second look at her. Not many does want to milk when it is -50 degrees outside. If she wanted to milk, I wasn’t going to let a little cold weather and my frozen fingers get in her way. Fast forward to her second lactation, and she is not disappointing me. She is everything I wanted when I crossed her parents. She is milking just shy of four pounds once a day and raising twins. In addition to being a very willing milker, she milks very easily and has nice orifice size.
Do you have any advice for breeders just starting out? Start small with the best stock you can afford. It is hard to achieve consistency or make solid improvements starting with too many animals and too many genetic lines. A quality Kinder is hard to breed for, in my opinion, but worth the effort! If you can improve one or two traits a year, by the time you have been breeding a while, you will have a nice-looking herd. Don’t be afraid to make crosses just to see how they turn out – you might be pleasantly surprised by the results. Most importantly, have fun doing it, and don’t get so caught up on with perfection or improvements that you start doubting yourself and burn out. Have fun and enjoy the goats!