Let’s talk Bloodlines

So what is the real definition of a bloodline?  Its technically a closed or nearly closed herd for at least 4-7 (should be about 7) years of breeding, where the goats produce true to the characteristics that they are being bred for.  Bloodlines are NOT farm names. A farm can become a bloodline, but they ARE NOT synonymous. In fact there could even be several bloodlines within a given farm.

There are Foundation Bloodlines, and more newly acquired Bloodlines.

Benefits to using bloodlines in your breeding program

There can be great benefits, if you are trying to breed for specific characteristics.  Take my own herd of Nigerian Dwarf. My herd originated from OLD bloodlines with extended lactation, easy kidders, flat toplines.  We have a closed herd and have been breeding since 2009.  Our herd breeds completely true to the characteristics we have set. We would be considered a Newer Bloodline. If you purchase from our herd, many of these characteristics would follow through with animals you purchase from us. So this could be a great benefit to look for herds that breed for bloodlines, rather than haphazardly.

Take great care when Creating a Bloodline

When creating a Bloodline, one has to be super careful to not severely inbreed. Too high inbreeding can create loss of production, loss of vitality, and inbreeding depression. This has caused severe genetic problems, seen in many dairy goat populations today. There is very little gene pool in the ‘Purebred Population’ because of the practice in most registries of keeping Closed Purebred Herdbooks. 

Creating Newer Bloodlines

A modern farm can create a bloodline, as well, which is beneficial.  You may have heard someone from the Nigerian Dwarf world say, “My goat is from Jobi, Desertwinds, Esperanza, Piddlin Acres.” Those are examples of true more modern bloodlines. They are not foundation bloodlines, but they are bloodlines nonetheless.

IGSCR has developed a pilot program for our members to create and register a bloodline. Please let us know if you are interested in the project. In the New Bloodline Program, we look for:

  • Closed or mostly closed herd for a period of 5-6 years, preferably 7 years. Be sure to take great care to avoid inbreeding so that your herd does not lose its vitality.
  • A set of characteristics for your herd to be bred for.
  • Evidence of those characteristics breeding true to your set, including photographs of offspring who are at least 5 generations into your breeding program.
  • You may have several bloodlines in your herd, such as the San Clemente Island Goat breeder who bred a lineage for meat and another lineage for dairy. Those two bloodlines within the same farm name would be noted on the Bloodline (Herdname) Certificate.

The IGSCR Bloodline Certificate will show your bloodline name, the set of characteristics, and the date your bloodline was recognized as a true bloodline.