The First Steps

Thank you for your interest in Spanish goats. Let’s go over some basic information about the Spanish goat breed and the Spanish Goat Association.

Until recently, “Spanish” meant “any nondescript brush goat.” That’s why you’ll find some people selling ‘Spanish’ who are on the web but who are not on our breeder list—what they call ‘Spanish’ might just be a Boer/Nubian cross, but that’s just the name in their area for what they have, no harm intended. However, this practice and the misconception that Spanish goats are just mutts creates a challenge when determining if goats are actually purebred Spanish. We do have a process for determining if a breeder belongs on our breeder list.

All of the breeders that are listed on the Spanish Goat Association website have been verified as pure Spanish goat producers. Some of our verified listed breeders only produce pure Spanish goats and some of them also breed other genetics and may even cross those genetics into their pure Spanish goats from time to time. It is important for you the new breeder to make sure of what you are buying. Make sure they give you a Verified SGA Bill of Sale and sign it.

There are Spanish breeders across the country that may not be on the SGA breeder list for various reasons. They may not be aware of the Breeder List page. Commercial breeders who don’t want to sell small quantities do not see the benefit of being on the Breeder list. New buyers should always ask why the seller is not listed because some of them have been denied because they could not be verified. All of our listed breeders are VERIFIED and some of our breeders are CERTIFIED in addition to being VERIFIED. VERIFIED breeders are listed as a result of presenting documentation on their goats that allow us to track them to their origin. We use ear tags, bill of sales, transport papers, communication with sellers and photos. As a final attempt to VERIFY our breeders’ goats we seek the input of our goat geneticist/leading international goat conservationist/American Livestock Breeds Conservancy technical advisor/vet, Dr. Sponenberg. He has worked with goats across the world, and did infact work with our FOUNDATION bloodline DNA samples to confirm that our FOUNDATION bloodline DNA samples did prove their Iberian origins. The Foundation bloodline forefathers (forebillies?) were dropped off by Spanish explorers 500 years ago. These goats adpated to our environment and were captured by ranchers over time.

CERTIFIED breeders are those breeders that have submitted 5 female and 1 male DNA sample for individual goat registration.

We are grateful for all of our member listed breeders and their willingness to support our efforts to safeguard the genetic diversity while promoting the pure Spanish Goat Breed.

The breeder list is by state. Do not be discouraged if you cannot find a breeder in your state. Many breeders will deliver or meet you halfway. There are goat transporters listed on Facebook that will pick up your goats and deliver them to your location. Also, our breeder list is updated about every four weeks and continues to grow. So check back with us.

Spanish goast are grouped into strains or what we call BLOODLINES. The Foundation ranches have been raising their herds without bringing in outside influence for decades. Spanish goats are a highly adaptive American landrance and respond to management, nutrition and region.

There are visible differences between the bloodlines. We have three categories of bloodlines. We have FOUNDATION Bloodlines, CREATED bloodlines, and DISCOVERED bloodlines. The Foundation bloodlines are those ranches that began the conservation of the Spanish goat with Leslie Edmundson and Dr. Sponenberg. There were originally 15 Foundation bloodline ranches. To date there are 10 active Foundation bloodline ranches. However, there are breeders that have choosen to continue the bloodlines of those rances that no long exist. The Created bloodlines are contemporary herds that have combined genetics from other ranches and remained closed to outside genetic influence for at least five years. The Spanish Goat Association Board is working on the criteria for this process. Created bloodlines are those herds that have visible significance and display a phynotypical benefit for the breed overal. The discovered bloodlines are long time ranch/farm herds that have been discovered and undergo a process which incudes our technical advisors as well as our board members.

You may wish to visit our Bloodlines page. You will find the history on every bloodline. The descriptions may help you determin which best suit your own style: heavy cashmere, no cashmere, big, small, color variation or similitude, grain-fed or wild-raised, you name it. If you read all of the stories, you’ll start to get a feel for what kind of management strategies appeal to you best. So you may be able to narrow down a bloodline as well as gain some insight into how you’d like to run your own herd.

Spanish goats will adapt to their environment, your management style, and the nutrition they are provided. When you begin to make calls for goats, ask the breeders about fencing, feeding, breeding, and their management style. You will quickly discover that there is no one answer to any of those questions. What is important is that you buy goats from a breeder that is raising their herd the way you want to raise your herd.

There are many options and reasons for what fencing a producer uses. When containing goats in smaller paddocks it is best to use 4 by 4 inch wooven wire. This is strong enought to withstand the pressure and keep them from getting their horns caught, also you are not counting on electricity to keep the fence hot. In large acerage and open range situations goats are contained with several strands of barbed wire and/or high tensile. For temporary grazing duties goats may be contained with electric netting and a few strains of electric wire. Goats will stay where they have their needs met, with the exception of male goats who are in rut and smell open females.

How to meet the nutritional needs of your goat is another big conversation with alot of opinions and options and no one right answer. Spanish goats can survive a lot of pressure but that pressure will be reflected in your production results. Typically, goats need 3 and one half pounds of roughly twelve percent protein daily. Different stages of a goat life also require different nutrional supplements. Looking at your pastures does not tell you the nutrional content or if you have enough area to feed the number of goats you want to purchase. Some breeders use composit goat feeds, goat mineral, and hay to keep their goat nutritional needs met without consideration of the available forage. Other breeders test their soils and forage and suppliment the soils and plant annuals along with provide mineral to meet their goat nutrion needs. Some do a little of both. The bottom line is clean water and good mineral are the basics, what and how to feed your herd will be a process. There is informaiton out there to study to help you determine your management style.

Conservation? Yes. we’re trying to conserve the purebred Spanish goat breed. We are not claiming they are the best meat goats, we are claiming that their genetic diversity is what makes them adaptive surviviors, healthy, hardy and tolerant of parasites in their environment they have adapted to. They are also proven to be great mothers when managed appropriately. Oftemtimes breaders will use Spanish genetics to cross with other breeds for the best meat goat herd. We udnderstand this and many of our breeders have both purebred Spanish and commercial meat goat herds.

Finally, we will address our Spanish Goat Association Registry. When the breeders received a letter from an outside registry we decided if there is to be a registry of Spanish goats then it needs to be owned and run by Spanish goat breeders. A group of Spanish goat breeders got together and started the Spanish Goat Registry. SGA holds DNA registration papers for verified pure Spanish goats only. We do not regiser percentages or have a breed up program. We will DNA Register goats that are verified. When a breeder submits DNA samples from 5 verified females and 1 verified male then that breeder is listed as a Certified breeder. Gold Certified breeders have second generation registered genetics.

There’s one more thing that beginners should get: a subscription to Goat Rancher magazine.

We’re here to help, so please feel free to contact us by e-mail to spanishbreeders@gmail.comor by phone at 828–329–5350. We’re glad to have you on board. Also go over our breeder list and our Partner Directors and Advisory Board Members are named. All of us are available to support your needs as a Spanish goat breeder — No Fees — All Service!