Certified Judge with AMGA
Board member of OMGA
Showing meat goats can be fun for you and your whole family. It is our family project
and has been a learning experience. After selecting your new project, remember all goats are different. What will work with
one many not work with another. We will try to look at a few things that can be done to help make sure your project gets to
the show healthy and in good shape and ready to show. HOUSING, FEEDING, FITTING, EXERCISE, SHOWING can all play an important
roll in how your project will go.
Meat Goats should be evaluated on type and market desirability. Type refers to frame
size, skeletal correctness, capacity and general appearance. Remember we will have does bred just like our wethers at home
that need to make mommas. Market desirability related to how much finish the goat has in relation to its weight, size and
Your goat should be rectangular in appearance from the side with a straight, level
top line. (Acceptable to have a gentle slop from hocks to pins) Length of rump, length of body and length of leg are important
to market desirability. The overall body should be trim. The legs should be straight and placed square under the body. The
front forearm and hind legs should show evidence of muscling.
From the front, your goat should show width between the front legs, with muscling
in the forearm and shoulders. The chest and forearm of a goat are the best indicators of muscling in thin goats.
From the rear, the hindquarter should be muscular, and showing good width down its
top. They should have a deep, heavily muscled leg and rump, with the widest part of the leg being the stifle area. They should
have a broad, thick top and loin that in naturally firm and hard handing.
Stature: The term stature
refers to the overall skeletal size and length of the goat. They need to have an adequate length of cannon bone from knee
to pastern and above average in overall length of body and general size. The cannon bone length is a good indication of skeletal
size. The goats height measured at the withers should be slightly more than at the hips; the bones should be of good size.
Head: The head should
combine the beauty of eyes, nose, ears, and overall from with strength and refinement. It should have balance of length, width
and substance that insures an ability to consume large amounts of forage with ease.
Front End: The front end
is a combination of chest and shoulder features. The goat should have wide chest floor and prominent brisket with a smooth
blending of shoulder blades and sharp withers. This insures room for the heart and lungs to do their work with ease and also
is evidence of proper muscle and ligament strength.
Front Legs: The goats
front legs should be straight, perpendicular to the ground, sound in the knees and full at the point of the elbow. The legs
should move with the front feet pointing straight ahead.
Back: A back that is straight,
strong, wide, long and level is desired in goats. This denotes a strong body build with good muscling and is indicative of
strength to carry large quantities of feed.
Rump: The goats rump should
be long, wide and level from the stifle-to-stifle cleaning fleshed and have a slight slope from hips to pins. The shape of
the rump is important as it affects leg set.
Hind Legs: The goats rear
legs should be wide apart and straight when viewed from the rear, with clean hocks and a good combination of bone refinement
and strength. Observed from the side, a plumb line originating at the pin bone would fall parallel to the leg bone from hock
to pastern and touch the grounds behind the heel of the foot. The resulting angles produced at the hock and stifle joint will
be most ideal for easy walking a and a minimum of joint problems.
Feet: Meat goats need
strong pasterns and strong, well-formed feet with tight toes, deep heel and level sole. Such feet are highly resistant to
injury or infection and easy to keep trimmed. Goat with uneven toes and extremely weak pasterns should be culled.
Muscle: Meat characteristics
can be visually determined by examining the animal hindquarters, loin, shoulders and neck.
Hindquarters: A long,
deeply attached muscle, relatively thick at the thigh and stifle is desirable in meat goats. Heavier muscling on the outside
of the leg is acceptable. Muscle over the thurl and rump should be obvious.
Loin: The loin eye or
ribeye is typically the best indicator of meatiness in market goats. It should be wide with a symmetrically oval shape on
each side of the backbone. This muscle should carry forward over the ribs or rack.
Shoulders: The goats muscling
should increase from the withers to the point of the shoulder with the thickest muscle occurring immediately above the chest
floor. The circumference of the forearm is the second most important indicator of meatiness, so the forearm muscle should
exhibit a prominent bulge and should tie- in deep into the knee.
Neck: The juncture of
the neck and shoulder should be free of excess tissue. It should gently slope to indicate muscling. Smoothness and quality
are important in this area. A long clean neck with muscling in balance to the remainder of the animal is desired.
Condition: The term condition
refers to the amount of finish or fat the animal is carrying. Goats deposit fat internally before they do externally. The
ideal condition is a thin, but uniform, covering over the loin, rib and shoulder. The external fat thickness over the loin
at the 13th rib should be between .08 to .12 inches or an average .1-inch.
Acknowledgements: Much of the information
used for these criteria was taken from Texas Agricultural Extension Service publication B-5018.
Yes, your new project will need a home, a nice shelter from the wind, rain
and snow. Keep in mind it also has to provide protections from predators; many a good project has been lost to dogs and other
Inside of your secure pen you will need feeders and a water pan, be sure
they are up off the ground to try to keep them from putting there feet in them. It is best to put two goats per pen. They
should be of the same size. It is not a good idea to mix larger goats with smaller goats. The larger goat will become the
bully and the small goat will grow slowly.
Be the Teacher
As soon as you get you goat be the teacher. Spend time with your goats and
get to know them. Let them get to know you. Help them feel safe around people. Tie them up and put your hands on them so they
get used to being handled. You can do this a week or two then start teaching them to lead. Its your job to make the goat look
good at the show and it is much easier to make them look good when they know what to do.
THE FIRST THING IN A GOOD FEEDING PROGRAM IS CLEAN FRESH WATER with out
it no feed will work. Water is an important component of the body as lean tissue consists of nearly 70% water and all body
fluids depend on water from the system.
This is a good time to take care of vaccinations. (Some breeders use Covexin
8 or other similar vaccines) but just to be safe you should give yours its vaccination and a booster in 30 days.
I like to start the new kids out on a free choice or self-feeding program.
There are many good show feeds, Manna Pro, Acco, Moor Mans, Purina, Surefed, and others. I feel it is important to feed a
pelleted feed. This is to insure you know they are getting what you paid for, many times they will pick through textured feed
and pick out what they like but not getting the whole ration. This full feed ration will go on for 2 to 3 months.
Then starts the hand feeding process. This is a hard one to just lock down
and say this is how its done. There are many things that come into play. Like is the goat too fat. Fat goats do not win! How
much exercise are you giving your goat? Your goat can eat more if its on an intensive exercise program. A safe feeding can
be 1 ½ to 3 lbs. per day. We like to feed 3 times a day but you need to at least feed 2 times a day. It will give your goats
body a better chance to get everything out of the feed. A feeding program cannot make up for a lack of good genetics, but
will allow your goats to reach their genetic potential.
There are many ideas about how to exercise a goat but the number one thing
is to DO IT. Ask anyone you know that is doing well show goats. I think you will find they are exercising their goats daily.
Some use track dogs, and run the kids on a round track. Remember that intensive,
short durations of exercise develop muscle faster and more effectively. Some use treadmills but again it must be short and
intensive. We have used both I have found it is easier for my kids to use the treadmill as the track dogs need more supervision.
We do not have a state-of-the-art animal treadmill ours is just a normal people treadmill with plywood sides.
If you do not have either just remember however you are working your goats
it is a short intensive workouts.
Preparing for the Show
The first thing you need to do is find the rules and regulations for the
shows in your area. Im in Oklahoma and we must slick shorn wethers 3/8 of an inch. There is a no brace rule with dismissal
from the judge or if not him, then by the superintendent of the show.
It is best to shear your goats a week or even two before the show. With
a 3/8-clipper blade you can go with a shorter blade but give yourself time for the clipper marks to grow out. Run parallel
to the length of the body of the goat. Be sure to clip all the hair off the body and the head. It is preferred not to clip
below the knees or hocks. Do cut the hair above the hoof even with the hoof line, and blend the hair at the knees and hocks.
The hair on the tail can be bobbed and looks nice. Most shows will have no artificial coloring of the goat
This is also a good time to look at their feet and give them a good trim.
Their feet should be trimmed about every 3 weeks. Keeping there feet trimmed true and even can make you or break you.
If you are shearing in the colder winter months, you should cover your goat
with a goat sock or blanket immediately after shearing. A clean, well-bedded pen should be provided for the goat to keep him
clean and dry.
- First your goat should be clean and free from any dirt or dead hair. I prefer goats show
with a chain it will give you more control of your goat.
- Next we come to you the exhibitor, if you are not in the first class be sure to watch the
show to see what the judge will expect of you in the ring.
- Be on time for your class.
Things to remember
- How much does your goat weigh?
- What are the good points about your goat and what are the bad?
- You should also know what you feed your goat and how much and how often.
- Its always good to know the parts of a goat, so if asked to point one out to the judge you
can do so.
- You yourself should be well groomed; you have put a lot of time in this project so lets look
nice and no ball caps or shirttails out.
Showing your goat
- You should always exhibit your goat from the opposite side of the judge so remember its a
goat show not a people show.
- Lead your goat at a nice pace, its not a race its a show. Show the judge what a good goat
- Never pass your goat behind your back one fast move and their gone. Be polite and respectful
to the judge and other exhibitors.
- Get your goat set up and ready for the judge. Their head should be held up, with its body,
neck, and head all in a straight line.
- Know where the judge is and where your goat is at all times. Avoid corners of the ring and
leave plenty of space between your goat and others.
- Always show with both hands. Do not put your free hand behind your back; use your free hand
to keep the goat's head and body straight.