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Choosing the Right Cashmere Buck

By Trisha Esson

Logic dictates that the "right" cashmere buck for one cashmere breeder will not necessarily be the "right" Cashmere sire for another. The ideal Cashmere sire in any instance will be dependant upon:-

  1. The existing cashmere herd
  2. The growers breeding goals. ie. How she/ he intends to improve the existing Cashmere Herd.
  3. The environment in which the Cashmere herd is run.

As the Cashmere is a fibre producing animal, emphasis must be placed upon fibre characteristics in the selection process. Body conformation is another consideration of prime importance, particularly in stud sires. As the buck will be mated over a number of does, he will exert a greater influence over the herd than any individual doe. It is therefore vital, that care be taken in the selection of stud sires, so as to avoid the introduction of any fibre or body conformation faults into the herd. However existing faults within the herd may be lessened or overcome by the choice of the "right" buck/s for use in a "corrective mating" program.

Conformation

Refer to the ACGA Standard for the Australian Cashmere. This describes the ideal Cashmere animal.

Figure 1. Illustrates a well developed Cashmere Buck exhibiting good conformation.

Mouth

The teeth should fit well on the pad; the animal should have neither an undershot nor overshot jaw. An animal's ability to eat is going to be important in determining not only how well it can survive but also if it lead a productive life.

Age

Identification of the animal's age is important. When comparing bucks one must at all times consider the size of the animal and the micron of its fleece in relation to its age. Age can be determined by looking at the bucks teeth.

A kid buck only has milk teeth. A kid buck will have a full set of milk teeth (all the teeth are small). At one year the first two adult teeth will erupt.

Figure 2. Using teath to age an animal

Avoid animals with conformation faults such as those shown in figures 3. and 4.

Figure 3. Goat faults front end.
Figure 4. Goat faults back end.

Reproductive organs

Well grown firm testicles are essential for a sound working buck. They should be identical and have no abnormalities.

Fleece

Refer to the ACGA Standard for the Australian cashmere fleece. This describes the desirable fleece attributes of the Australian Cashmere Goat.

In some cases your environment will dictate the type of cashmere fleece you are best to select for. For example where running Cashmeres in scrub paddocks or areas with a lot of burr, it is probably wise to select long guard haired cashmere sires. The long guard hair will protect the Cashmere fibre from being contaminated with vegetable matter.

When to chose your breeding bucks.

The ideal time to select bucks for the next breeding season is when they are in full fleece, that is just prior to shearing ( about 9 months before the next breeding season). My provisional selection of breeding sires is done at this time and based upon my subjective assessment of the animals and my knowledge of their family pedigrees. I finalise my selection when I have the data from the objective testing of the animals to study. This will include such information as fleece test results and Merrit rankings for various traits.

If buying a buck or semen from another breeder I consider it ideal to view prospective sires when they are in full fleece ( about 9 months before the next breeding season). I would also require fleece test results for the buck/s and be interested in the test results from progeny, should they be available.

If you leave buck selection until the last minute, you will find that in many cases the buck has not grown much fibre and it is difficult to make a true assessment of his fleece. Test results alone do not tell the whole story.

Shearing time is busy, but buck selection is critical to your breeding program, so it is important that you, at least, make a note of those bucks which you consider worth consideration for being used as sires in the next breeding season.

Buck kid in full fleece just prior to shearing. 2010