I am a notorious buck hoarder - who just experienced a painful reality check. Over the years I've collected a large herd of exceptional bucks. However, as I've become better at analyzing Nigerian genetics, I've become concerned about the prevalence of high inbreeding coefficients.
An inbreeding coefficient is complex statistical calculation (do not try this at home!) that tells you the degree of inbreeding in a particular animal's pedigree. High inbreeding coefficients are an area of concern because the negative effects of inbreeding in all animals begins at 5% and becomes serious at 10%. The short version is that highly inbred animals often lack vigor and may suffer from higher illness and mortality rates.
Learning about inbreeding coefficients has made me much more selective when selecting bucks. It has become my first criteria when evaluating a new buck. It doesn't matter how proven he is if I can't safely breed him to my does! This leads me to today, when I had to, very regretfully, walk away from the purchase of a buck that I was very excited about adding to my collection. This blog will discuss the tools that I use to analyze my herd when making breeding decisions.
One of the first tools that dairy goat farmers learn about is ADGA Genetics. It is an exceptional tool for many reasons. However, for historical reasons it is very limited when it comes to Nigerian genetics. There are numerous gaps in the database, so inbreeding coefficient calculations are often misleadingly low.
A better tool for this type of analysis is Kintraks. The subscription version is low cost and enables you to do most of your farm administration as well as tracking genetics. One of my favorite features in Kintraks is the Inbreeding Calculator, Compare Inbreeding feature. This feature enables me to test the inbreeding coefficients of potential matings with my does and various bucks. It is important to set this at 10 generations to get a true picture of the degree of inbreeding. Historic Nigerians were often heavily inbred to develop the distinctive dairy type. That historical inbreeding typically is not visible in a three or even five generation pedigree.
When I tested my prospective new buck using this feature, I discovered that I could only breed him to a small number of my does without risking a high inbreeding coefficient. He was from locally popular genetics and was too closely related to most of my does to be used for breeding.