The Heritage Fainting Goat breed in my opinion is still very much endangered as breeders continue to breed for tends and away from the standards. I know you have heard me say this before but I see goats today that are HUGE in size. The Fainting Goat was never a big goat. ALL old documentation refers to them as a small to medium sized goat. The original goats are stated to range from 17-25″ in height. I have interviewed many of the older breeders and they all agree with this. Study your old articles yourself. Todays 34″ or 36″ goats are nowhere close to what would be considered originals! How did they get so big? Why has their ear set changed? Why have their noses all but become a roman nose? Why are we seeing more parasitic issues and more kidding complications? Why are some goats aggressive? Why don’t many of the bigger goats faint? Is it true that the goats don’t have to faint if they show other characteristics of the breed? There are a few different registries out there. Which one should I join? All these questions should be closely studied. There are many different opinions about that. You should do your own research and come to your own conclusions.
Maybe this article will help guide you. We are seeing goats more and more often with less faint-ability. Some say the goats will not faint as they get older. My answer is BULL. Some of mine faint stronger as they get older. Others learns to brace themselves to avoid falling but still get very stiff. A Fainting goat should faint. That is one of the major characteristics of the breed. No exceptions.
We are seeing goats that have roman type noses and bad ear sets. That will only come from crossbreeding. Nutrition and herd management have nothing to do with it. It may take five generations to start seeing changes. If a goat matches the standard and is bred to another goat that matches the standard their babies can still have issues since the genetics are still there. That is why it is so important that we breed correctly time and time again. We can’t be caught up in trends.
We are also seeing breeders having more and more problems with parasitic issues. Several years ago parasitic resistance was a strong point for the breed. It still holds true today for the Heritage bred goats. Not so true today for the ones that have been breed away from the standard. How often do you worm your herd?
We see more kidding complications. Does that have larger babies tend to have more problem but yet most breeders are concerned with a big birth weight. It is harder to deliver those big babies. Complications also arrive from the bigger babies because they demand more milk and this puts more demand on moms. This can cause
The breed is considered a laid back breed but I often hear breeders talk about aggressive bucks. This is not the traditional Heritage goat. They are not aggressive. Yes at rut time they may do a lot of head butting and are hard on fences but NOT aggressive!
We are also seeing the breed getting bigger which means they need more forage, more room, and will cost more money in the long run. We see more goats that almost look they are on steroids. While they may be a nice goat; the traditional breed has never as big as the goats you sometimes see today. Stocky yes, but not like a bodybuilder! Yes I will admit that good nutrition helps, but come on, do you think good nutrition will make a goat that is supposed to be around 25″ top out at around 34″? I don’t think so.
As far as a registry; you have to decide that by looking at your herd, decide which direction you want your herd to go.
1. Pedigree International is where most of the TexMasters are registered. They do not require the goats to faint.
2. The International Fainting Goat Association registers Fainting Goats. Their goats must faint. They require a down picture on those goats that are not Premium.
3. The Miniature Silky Fainting Goat Registry strives for good hair coats along with conformation, however they don’t require them to faint. They can also be a mixed breed.
4. The Myotonic Goat Registry is like their name says; they register the bigger goats but also the Heritage goats too. They do not require any goat to faint. It only needs to show characteristics of the breed. Not sure how that works since fainting is their biggest and most known characteristic.
5. The American Fainting Goat Organization or AFGO only registers goats that faint and match the standard. Their goats are required to faint.
If you want to preserve the Heritage style goat my answer would be AFGO. They are actively taken steps to ensure the breed remains the same. They evaluate every goat prior to registering and if the offspring of a registered goat doesn’t match the standard it is not allowed to be registered. Yes that may be harsh but it is necessary for the future of the breed. In July 2011 the American Fainting Goat Organization stepped up to offer a registry that will serve these old heritage bred. They are preserving the old linage. They insist that these old lines have value. The say that the old lines are what the Fainting Goat breed is, and has always been. These old lines are a shorter goat. They are a stocky goat. They are a very hardy goat. They are great moms. They have very few kidding problems. They are excellent fainters! After all that’s what gave them their name. That is what made them so popular. AFGO encourages breeders to breed toward the standard. They encourage them to maintain small old linage in their herds. The American Fainting Goat Organization refers to this new and improved bigger goat as a Myotonic Goat. Why? They call these bigger ones Myotonic goats in order to clarify the differences between the two. The old Tennessee lines branched and became the Texas lines around the 1950’s and have continued to change, or improve into the new type of Myotonic. There is nothing wrong with the Myotonic goats. Each goat has its place. Many breeders are pushing them into the market arena. During this so called improvement process the breed under went, the bigger Myotonic goats have also become a faster growing goat to help met this need.
Are these changes related to good nutrition? I don’t think so. Maybe you can see that the Fainting Goats and the Myotonic goats have each taken a different path. However most breeders have not come to recognize them as two different breeds yet, but more and more breeders are seeing the changes even if they don’t readily admit to it. These older lines are vanishing slowly as the old time breeders are leaving the business due to health issues, death, or other things beyond their control. These lines are being replaced by new linage that doesn’t match the standard. Think about it. Kinda sounds like our own society. The old generation of people (seniors) use to do things so different. They didn’t have cell phones. They didn’t have computers. They didn’t eat alot of fast food. They didn’t even watch much TV. Life was simple. The newer generation with their technology has changed much of our day to day living. There is nothing wrong with this. I personally love all the convenient techy stuff. Society has made so many changes and we have changed with it. Nobody thought twice about it. It just happened. It is a common practice today.
This is what is also happening with the Fainting Goats. They are changing. Some breeders don’t care. It is just a goat. Some breeders don’t realize what’s happening. It takes a while to really understand the differences. Others bury their heads and refuse to admit it, some worry about what others might think, Some love the changes.
So let’s get to what has happened to create all these changes. A big part was the show ring. Boer goat judges are the ones that started out judging the shows. They later trained other members to judge. Either way the new or the old judges see things the same. Big is better. Nice top lines are often over-looked along with heads and ear sets. The judges go for the biggest goats. That goat gets the highest award and earns the points. This in return sets the standards that people go by. Everyone wants to win so they start breeding or purchasing the winning type goats. This type of goat slowly over time begins to take over the breed. Breeders are so into winning that they are willing to put the breed at stake. All for the sake of a ribbon or a reputation.
Or maybe they don’t show; they just want to sell goats to hopefully make a few dollars. These breeders also want the big goats because that seems to be want what is selling. Remember the trend is now for bigger improved goats. Goats that will win.
Maybe the breeder is just looking to gain a reputation. If their goats win at the shows they earn this reputation. All this leads the breed astray. These breeders are not interested in preserving the breed. There is nothing wrong with breeding and selling goats. There is nothing wrong with winning. It’s fun. But it should be done right. In a way that will not harm the breed. Breed according to the standard. Breed for goats that faint. Breed for goats that carry the old Heritage bloodlines. Make your herd a herd to be proud of. Make sure the Fainting Goat breed remains strong for the next generation. The breed is a legacy to be proud of.
When people get older it is common for them to want to buy things from their childhood years. They don’t want to lose the memories. They like the good old days. Well remember that the historically correct Fainting Goat and not the Big Myotonic goats are a part of history. Make them a part of your herd. Enjoy what God created.
If you breed and show the bigger Myotonic Goats and are not concerned about the Heritage goats; my suggestion would be to register with the Myotonic Goat Registry.
If you breed the TexMaster my suggestion would be to register with Pedigree International.
The International Fainting Goat Association also serves the Fainting Goats. It is the oldest registry around. Currently they are not active in the show ring.
This article hopes to educate you on the differences between the Fainting Goats and the Myotonic Goats. Which every direction you choose is good. The hope of the article to decrease confusion about what the Fainting Goat breed is. It is not to discredit any breeder or registry but to share what is available.