Nada K. Nadarajah, Dept. of Animal & Poultry Science, Univ. of Guelph

Background for Discussion.

Goat Industry in Canada operates under the following classifications with some common breeds indicated: -

Note: Information and Photographs of the individual goat breeds can be obtained from the Livestock section of the WWW Virtual Library and additional information with respect to Canadian Goat Industry by accessing the home page of the Department of Animal & Poultry Sci., University of Guelph.

Goats has been in Canada for years, but was included in the first time in Canadian Agriculture Census in 1986 and the statistics were:-

In the 1991 Agricultural Census:

Current Ontario population of breeding goats approx 50,000.

Market Situation:

No promotional profile for marketing goat milk, dairy products, meat (Chevon) or fibre in Canada. It's just the supply and demand structure in operation in a free market enterprise. There is not enough supply and there exists a great potential for the expansion of production to satisfy the current market. However, the cost of production and profitability is in question under unrestricted imports.

Let's look at each of these sectors:

Dairy industry:

Meat Industry:

Mohair Industry:

Government support programs and subsidies given to Agriculture production in this country over the past several years to other livestock groups (dairy, beef, swine and sheep) have helped a lot to producers in maintaining and further developing viable livestock industries in increasingly competitive global markets. But there is nothing of that sort for goat production. Goat farming has been considered as a hobby and is still regarded that way by both the Federal and Provincial Agricultural Ministries.However, there are a few full time goat farms supporting families as the only sources of farm income.

Having multiple products from mostly dual purpose herd creates a complex situation in goats with respect to both the production system and genetic selection. Producers are uncertain where to concentrate on either milk, meat or both.

A Dairy Goat / Meat Goat or Dual Purpose Goats?.

Traits: Litter size, litter weight, average daily gain, milk (quantity), milk (quality: fat, protein), conformation/condition score and live animal grading.

An on-farm survey of a cross section of goat producers in Ontario conducted in 1991 revealed:-

Goat Farm income - relative source:-

CULLING OF DOES: Relative responses based on the order of priority:-

CULLING OF BUCKS: Relative responses based on the order of priority:-

SELECTION OF REPLACEMENT DOES: Relative responses based on the order of criteria:-

SELECTION OF BUCKS: Relative responses based on the order of criteria:-

Market kid sales:

What are the needs of the goat industry as a whole?.

Development, Research and Education (DRE) with regards to:

Set up performance testing programs for milk, meat and possibly mohair on a provincial/national basis to support all sectors of the industry. Share the database for pedigree and production of animals in every aspects to meet the needs.

Production Testing :

We must examine and consider all the options:

  1. Entering a herd on testing
    - milk
    - milk and meat
    - meat
    - fibre and meat
  2. What type of testing to perform
    - Official/unofficial- DHAS milk testing
    - frequency
    - supervised/unsupervised weighing
    - recording of birth, weaning and market weights
    - rules and responsibilities
    - producer/breeder, Provincial/Federal support
    - producer education, extension, technology transfer
  3. Data collection, editing and database maintenance - Registration, herdbook, national /global ID's for animals
    - Regional/Provincial/Central/Federal/Research Institution
    - Within herd performance, management tools and preliminary information to participants at regional/provincial Govt. level /OGBA, CGS.
    - Who performs the genetic evaluations? Regional/National?
    - Genetic Improvement Corporation/(s), for milk, meat and fibre.
    - Who pays for the cost of testing?. Start up cost, revenue from check-off, advertising, promotions, publishing proofs/EPDs.

Genetic improvement depends on how fast the genetically superior animals will get spread through the general goat population aimed at different sectors (dairy, dual purpose, meat and fibre) of the industry. The most rapid and economical way to do this is incorporating the modern reproductive technologies (AI, ET etc.), selective breeding. A systematic genetic evaluation system for economic traits (milk, meat and reproduction and perhaps for fibre) should be in place.


How can we achieve these goals:

Regional and national programs that involves:-


Take advantage of some inherant qualities of goats milk and meat:


Performance recording and Genetic evaluation for:

What we need:

Additional Goat Production Information
National Goat Association Handbook
Goat Resources
Small Ruminant Collaborative Research Support Program
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