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Basic Goat Biology - Ba sic Goa t Biology G o a t s G o a t...

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10/30/13 Basic Goat Biology animalscience2.ucdavis.edu/ans1/handouts/goats.html 1/3 Goats & Goat Biology A. Population/Census Information World Population Figures (United Nations Food and Agriculture Statistics - ( FAO ) World - 808 million head of goats Worldwide production from goats - 11 million metric tons of milk, 5 million metric tons of meatUnited States (Agriculture Statistics DataBase - USDA ) US: rough estimates of the population are 2.9 million head, this includes milk goats, meat goats and Angoras (USDA estimates: 238,000 Angoras; 296,000 milking; 2,400,000 meat) For a comprehensive collection of information on goats in the United States, try the American Dairy Goat Association . B. Basic Biology of Capra Hircus a) Puberty : Variable with breed and nutritional status; from 120 days to 1 year; small breeds reach puberty earlier than larger breeds b) Seasonally polyestrus - If not impregnated, does will cycle as do ewes, from late August through Winter. Less seasonality as you approach the equator. Unlike sheep, however, estrus is detectable by humans - swollen, red vulva, often accompanied by a mucous discharge. Estrous Cycle - 21 day average (19-23) Estrus Period - 2 days (1-3) Ovulation - 24 hours after the onset of estrus Gestation - 150 days (range of 144-155; longer in larger breeds) Birth weight in goats is between 5 and 6 lbs (range of 1.5 to 11 per kid), where twins are the usual number born, with a low incidence of dystocia. Fun Fact: It is common to find does in visible estrus when pregnant. c) Digestive Anatomy : Ruminants. Goats, like sheep, are obligate herbivores, although they are browsers not grazers. A browser is a selective eater, who is willing to eat stems, twigs and brush- plant products high in ‘woody’ fibers. Goats have a dental pad instead of top front teeth. Goats shed ‘baby’ teeth and age like sheep, regurgitate
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