Since early this year, several of American Nubian breeders, including myself have been working diligently to promote and raise awareness of the American Nubian. For those of you unfamiliar, the American Nubian is a subset of the ADGA registered Nubian whose pedigree cannot be 100% traced to the originally imported animals after the herdbook was closed. Traditionally, the American Nubian has been viewed as a lesser animal than its purebred counterpart due to an extreme bias of purebred breeders. However, our goal is to show that American Nubians should not be discounted due to the “AN” in front of their registration number and should be held in the same esteem as their purebred counterparts. Simply, we want all Nubians to be valued the same based on their performance, genetic potential, and confirmation. That being said, unfortunately, it took until this year for me to use an American Nubian buck in our breeding plans.
Please do not get me wrong, I am grateful for every single buck that has made an impact in our herd. But this year I am retaining a buck from one of our does, and using him heavily this fall. And he is American and I cannot wait to see his impact on our herd.
I started raising Nubians in 2003 at age 9. My first doe was a beautiful American. At the time, I had no idea the stigma associated with Americans, nor did I care. I raised her and my other goats in a mixed herd; we had some Americans and some Purebreds. As I learned about the breed and started to breed, I grew to understand that there was a “difference” between the two subsets. This idea was passed on to me by fellow Nubian breeders in the area and became almost ingrained in my mentality as the way things are done- your purebred does are worth more, regardless. Always use a purebred buck kid, American buck kids get culled, no question. So that is what we did. We did not look twice at any American buck kid; he got sold for either meat or as a pet. They did not get used to breed.
Obviously, that same mentality helped us determine where to look for getting outside bucks into the herd. Always purebred, even when our herd was big enough that we kept several bucks and could have had an American buck just for our American does. You never wanted to have your purebreds bred to an American buck.
Over the years, my herd, goals, and mindset changed. During college, I did the “unthinkable” and sold the purebred does in my herd. I needed to reduce numbers and I liked the look of my Americans better than my purebreds and had more of a connection to their lines. In doing so, I embarked on a changed mindset, one where I needed to value my Nubians for who they were instead of what they were. However, even then I didn’t think I should keep an American buck.
This year, I decided not that I could keep an American buck, but I had to! In working to promote American Nubians and with a bit of research, it became clear that there are far too few American bucks that have had an impact on the breed. And part of the issue are breeders like me, who while proud of their American does, did not make space for their American bucks. So I kept a kid out of CH King’s Rock Madison Isabella and CH Risin’ Creek Wen Khaos Strikes. I did not start out kidding season with the intention to keep another buck, but all 5 of the buck kids we had were too nice to wether. We sold 4 of them, but for some strange reason, we couldn’t sell Knight. It got to the point where I decided that I liked him too much to sell him. Fate was making him stay here. And now we are using him on a large portion of our herd this fall!
Now that he is here and being used, I feel silly for waiting this long. But I am also driven to use him to his full potential. He has all the criteria for being a strong herdsire. His dam CH King’s Rock Madison Isabella is a second generation Excellent appraising udder and finished her championship as a 4-year-old after taking a year off in 2015. She is a herd favorite and was just recently Best of Breed and Best Udder of Show at the competitive Dutchess County Fair. She is also one of our most consistent producers, with a lactation record of 1760 pounds at 197 days fresh. She has produced 94 pounds of butterfat in that time with butterfat percentages of higher than 5% on six of her seven tests so far. Once her lactation is complete, she will have earned her milk star, making her GCH King’s Rock Madison Isabella 2*M, and Knight will be a *B buck. He has been out to a show, where he was twice junior champion AOP against some very nice kids from top herds in the country. Through parentage, I know that he is G6S normal and he has been DNA typed with parentage verified as well. At the same time, I tested Knight’s Alpha Casein genes, which came back with results of B/B, meaning he has the ideal genes to pass onto his kids for those interested in cheese making. I also had him collected as well so I can sell semen down the line and also as an insurance policy. He is standing for stud now at our farm and offspring will be born into at least 3 herds in 2017. We are excited to see his contribution to our herd and others for years to come.