Raising Goat Meat

By Greg Brooks

I received an email that I thought was important to address some concerns raised.  I want to be clear where I stand and what Luton Meat Goat Company stands for when it comes to the South African Breed Standard? We will continue to pursue the South African breed standard for the Savanna breed.  While that is a goal a lack of field performance to get those standards is unacceptable.  We will also test and explore the possibilities of what works well here in the United States in function and form.

We believe it is important to recognize the people that brought the Savanna breed to the United States.  Those folks Jurgen Schultz, Brian Payne and Kenneth Mincey invested much to get the breed here and paved the way for those of us that are now raising this great breed.

I would also like to thank Trevor Ballif for his research and contribution to the Savanna breed and its history based on his latest article in the Goat Rancher.   It is ironic that time I have spent picking Chris Luton’s brain, understanding his philosophies and practices,  are corroborated through Trevor’s interview of Mr. Schultz while we didn’t know what each person was doing separately.

While we will continue to try to develop the SA standard Savanna as well as other avenues that produce hardy meat goats that meet the customers needs.  We think it is also important that we focus on some additional information.  We have found that the SA standard Savanna is a rare animal.  While I get many beautiful hardy animals, we find that getting one with black pigment, roman nose, dark horns, and 1×1 teat, etc (perfect SA standard) is rare.  Why do we get animals that are 2×2 teat, light grey to pink pigmentation, straight sloped face among other things ???    Could it be that that’s what we were given when they came into the country?  I would say yes to that.  Trevor Ballif’s article told us that the South Africans had bred for 2×2 teats and that’s what came over among other characteristics.  I have talked personally with breeders from SA that do not cull for a red head doe because they know that animal will throw white ones.  Folks we can only work with the genes we were given. To believe otherwise would be foolish to me.

So when I get that perfect SA animal don’t expect me to sell it to you because I will be trying to make more.

Now the question is what do we do with the animals that aren’t the perfect SA breed standard.  I suggest that each one of us breed the way that you find works best in your situation and do not compromise field hardiness.  We at LMGC will do everything we can to support folks trying to raise their goats in the manner they believe best.  We would ask you afford us the same courtesy.

It has been suggested that we need an association to promote the Savanna Breed.  We say bologna.  If we can all focus on producing goat meat and let that drive us toward the the perfect Savanna we don’t need an association we just need to encourage and empower each other to do so.

So there’s where I stand.  I will continue to try to make the “perfect Savanna”  I recognize there are many different ways to get there and I will support you all doing the same in your own way. If my Savanna can sustain flesh in the field and has a pink and black polka dotted tail web that maybe you are weeding out while I am working to get the roman nose, please don’t try to take away from what I am doing. I will afford you the same.  In the end, when its all said and done, if I am not making goat meat all the rest is fancy dressing.