Let’s talk Bloodline

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 here 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 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 haphazard.  

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. We see this in many of our dairy goat populations of today as a whole. There is very little gene pool in the “Purebred Population” because of Purebred Closed herdbooks in most registries.  This has caused severe genetic problems.

Bloodlines of the San Clemente Island goats

In this rare conservation breed, there are several accepted bloodlines that are widely called bloodlines by the San Clemente Island community.  Those were obviously very loosely named and many were completely falsely called bloodlines.  At the time of one San Clemente Island breeder/researcher of the breed loosely called the San Clemente Island bloodlines by definition , ” bloodlines by what herds existed when she started researching.” These ARE NOT necessarily bloodlines at all,  but often just farm names.  Then again, some of the farm names listed are true bloodlines. That doesn’t mean, owever that just because a goat carries a farm name that it is of that bloodline.    That IS NOT the definition of a bloodline at all.   The loosely created definition of a bloodline leaves way too much to chance and too much room for error.  Many of the ‘given animal bloodlines’ are simply assumption’.

There are certain herds who were true bloodlines. However, individual goats in those farm names do NOT necessarily fit with any bloodline at all of the accepted San Clemente Island bloodline list.  The reason is that the definition created of San Clemente Island bloodlines was created too loosely, and not necessarily because that farm raised direct imported goats.  So technically many of the accepted bloodlines are not at all Foundation lines. They purchased foundation goats, but they themselves were NOT foundation bloodlines.  Thus attaching a bloodline to many of these goats is not really possible, in actuality and leave way to much to chance, to be called an exact truth.

In fact the true definition of the bloodline for the conservation breed should have been the Founding (or imported) lineages if they raised the goats for a minimum of four years.  So we are missing many true Foundation bloodlines in the definition that was created.  Some of those foundation bloodlines are Rivetti (accepted bloodline), Pine Cone Valley, O’Ben, Daisy Hill’s, to name a few. And these are not considered Bloodlines, except Rivitti.  

In 2019 the registry (IGSCR-IDGR) started putting bloodlines on registration certificates, due to pressure from the San Clemente Island communty. However, in January 2020 we have stopped putting bloodlines on registration certificates, due to several reasons.

  1. Definition of a Registration Certificate: Record of identity, breeder, owner,special goat characteristics and proven pedigree
  2. A ‘supposed’ bloodline is not any of those things that make up a registration certificate
  3. The definition of San Clemente Island bloodlines was made much too loosely and is often decided upon purely on speculation and assumption.  Other times it is on reality. Thus, we are creating a special Bloodline Certificate to talk about our calculations of a bloodline in a specific animal.  There may well be discrepancies on specific animals. Some of these discrencies can be assumptions that an accepted farm name has 100% that Bloodline. In fact, often the animal is not that bloodline at all, but rather another farm’s bloodline.  So one has to be super careful. That is why many times a Bloodline is not an exact science.
  4. We have actually found many discrepencies.  One was semen sold from one farm to another. It was assumed by a party that the semen belonged to one farm because of a buck sale. In fact, there were two bucks whose semen was sold. Both bucks were totally a bloodline of a lineage that is not accepted as an SCI bloodline, but is truly one of the foundation SCI bloodlines. So the semen in a pedigree was incorrectly named and totally throws off the bloodline calculation. This is just one of many. We actually found the documentation of semen from these two bucks in our registry records.

So we at IGSCR are creating a special Bloodline Certificate outlining what we believe are the bloodlines. The certificate will contain our registry belief of what the bloodlines are in a specific animal, plus brief descriptions of the ‘accepted bloodlines.  

                                                       … Bloodline certificate example soon…..

Creating Newer Bloodlines

We believe that a modern farm can create a bloodline, as well.  It is super beneficial.  You might often hear such things in the Nigerian Dwarf world… “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 non-the less.  

If you would like to create and register a bloodline, we have developed a program for this. It can be quite beneficial in our breeding programs, as stated above.  This is a pilot project to see if people are interested.

  • Close or mostly closed herd for 5-6 years (preferably 7)
  • Goats characteristics breed true to the characteristics you have set out for your herd
  • You list those characteristics
  • Photos of offspring who are at least 5 generations into your breeding program, to see if they meet characteristics you have set for your herd
  • You may have several bloodlines in your herd. One example is in a herd of San Clemente Island. The breeder was breeding for a meat lineage and another group for a dairy lineage. So that could technically be two bloodlines within the same farm name. Those would be noted on the Bloodline (Herdname) Certificate
  • We will give you a bloodline certificate that shares your bloodline name, characteristics, date your bloodline was a true bloodline

Again, take great care not to inbreed so much that you don’t lose vitality in your livestock.