by Dr. Fred Homeyer
There is a lot that you can learn about a boer goat that is registered in the United States if you know a little bit about the various prefixes and numbering systems used on the registration certificate issued by the registration system of the American Boer Goat Association (ABGA). There are two different types of pedigree papers that have been issued by ABGA over the years. Prior to January 1, 1997, the pedigrees for full blood boer goats were colored purple and gold while the pedigrees for the percentage boer goats were colored red, white and blue. The registration number assigned to a particular goat prior to January 1, 1997 was an 8 digit number where the first two digits of the registration number were the last two digits of the year in which the goat was registered. The next three digits in the registration number were the number of the day of the year, beginning with 1 for January 1, and the last three digits in the number were the actual order in which the papers were processed for that goat on that given day. For example: #95123005 would be a goat registered on the 123rd day of 1995 and it was the fifth goat processed that day. This numbering system insured a unique identification number for each individual goat. The registration number for the goat whose papers you may be inspecting appears in the middle at the top on the front of the certificate. (The front is the page with the colorful stripes, either purple for pure blood or red, white and blue for percentage goats). Other information on the front of the paper includes the percentage boer in this animal, the breeder of the animal and the current owner as recorded in the registration database of ABGA.
Prior to January 1, 1997, the actual pedigree for the goat appeared on the back side of the registration certificate. In the middle of the back page at the left side would be the ABGA number for this goat and the name of the goat, if any. The father or sire of this goat would appear a little higher to the right and the mother or dam would appear a little lower to the right of this center number. On the next level was listed the father and mother of each father and mother on the line to the left. This process continued for several generations but it is rarely complete for the boer goats currently in the United States. If the goat is not registered in the ABGA it may have an alphabetic letter prefix, a number and possibly a year listed as the identification for the goat. For example, WW20, K536/88, A3048. If an asterisk preceeds the letter it indicates that this goat is not registered in the ABGA.
Here is a list of the various possible letter and number combinations that might appear a boer goat pedigree registered with the ABGA:
- K - Keri Downs, North Island, New Zealand (Landcorp Farming Limited) - normally this number appears as "Kxxx/yy" where the number after the letter K is the unique number of the goat and the number after the slash is the year the goat was born.
- E - Erewell, South Island, New Zealand (Landcorp Farming Limited) Normally this number appears as "Exxx/yy" where the number after the letter E is the unique number of the goat and the number after the slash is the year the goat was born.
- WW - African Goat Flock, New Zealand (Full Blood Boer) - normally this number appears as "WWxxx" where the xxx is the unique number of the goat.
- WG - African Goat Flock, New Zealand (Percentage Boer) - normally this number appears as "WGxxx" where the xxx is the unique number of the goat.
- Z - embryos from Zimbabwe and ancestors of the New Zealand (Landcorp) goats - normally this number appears as "Zxx/yy" where the xx after the Z is the unique number of the goat and the yy after the slash is the year the goat was born.
- BR - ancestors of the WW goats in African Goat Flock - normally this number appears as "BRxxx" where the xxx is the unique number of the goat.
- O - Olds College in Canada (partnership with New Zealand (Landcorp)) - normally this number is "Occc/yy" where the ccc is the same number as the corresponding number following the K number in a Keri Downs New Zealand goat and yy is the year the goat was born.
- A - Australia Breeding Management (Australia) - normally this number is Anxxxx where the xxxx is the unique number of the goat and the n is the last digit of the number of the year the goat was born, i.e. 2 is 1992, 3 is 1993, 4 is 1994 and 5 is 1995 - ancestors in an ABM pedigree may have a number of the form "Axxx/yyB" where the xxx is the unique number of the goat and the yy is the year the goat was born.
- TR### - goats registered with the Canadian Boer Goat Assocation - normally the ### is the unique number of the goat. (Some of the other letters and prefixes listed above may also appear in a Canadian Boer Goat Association Registration Certificate.)
- ddd/nnnn - South African - normally the first three digits preceeding the slash are the breeder number assigned by the South African Boer Breeders Society and the numbers after the slash are the unique number of that goat from that given boer stud farm in South Africa.
- Studded goats - goats certified by the South Africans and will have no ancestors listed in the pedigree other than perhaps the sire and the dam. For example: the goats that Jurgen Schulz brought from South Africa are studded. All studded goats are the result of natural breeding. Studded boers are registered as a full blood boer by ABGA but the pedigree will be mostly blank.
- ddd/nnnn - Frozen embryos from South African goats were implanted in recipient does in Canada and these recipient does were imported into the United States over several years. The kids born from these recipient does will have South African numbers as this was the primary way to bring South African goats into the United States for quite some time. Also these kids will have the South African numbers of their ancestors in their pedigrees. A goat of this type from Canada will normally list some Canadian breeder in the "Breeder" section of the registration certificate.
- YY-DDD-NNN - IBGA registration number where the YY is the year the goat was registered, DDD is the day of the year the goat was registered starting with 001 as January 1 and NNN is the sequence the goat was registered on a given day starting with 001.
- YYDDDNNN - ABGA registration number prior to January 1, 1997 where the YY is the year the goat was registered, DDD is the day of the year the goat was registered starting with 001 as January 1 and NNN is the sequence the goat was registered on a given day starting with 001.
- 100XXXXXX - ABGA registration number after January 1, 1997 where the xxxxxx is the unique sequence number of the goat when it was submitted for registration. This number is automatically assigned by the registration system when the goat is physically registered into the ABGA registration system.
Jurgen Schulz was able to bring 460 goats on a plane directly from South Africa and so far these goats and one other shipment of goats brought into the U.S. by J. Ross, H.Haby, Dr. Speck, and J. Lockhart for the original Lone Star Boer Goats that was owned by Rodney Robinson are the only boer goats to have come directly from South Africa to the United States.
Because New Zealand began their program with a rather small number of individuals you will see the same numbers appearing on a lot of pedigrees. Z01, Z02 appear in almost all of these pedigrees if the pedigree goes back four generations for North Island New Zealand goats.
Goats from the African Goat Flock in New Zealand will have such individuals listed as: WW19, WW20, BR840, BR64, BR483, BR69.
E13/89, E14/89, E17/89 (Basel), Z7/87, ZR11,ZY7,AL50,AY17 are numbers that you may see in an animal from the south island of New Zealand. (The K524 buck was the primary goat that was taken from the north island to the south island so you may see him in several of the south island goat's pedigree).
K798/91 (Hercules) ,K536/88 (The Old Man) ,K502/88 (The Doe Maker) ,K529/89 (The Boy Named Sue), K356/91 (Batla's Hope) ,K295/91 (Kohls good doe) ,K583/88 (Booger) are numbers that you will see on the pedigrees of a lot of north island New Zealand animals. The most promoted and advertised boers early on were north island New Zealand goats and as a result some of them have become household words in the boer goat business. Almost everyone has heard of "The Doe Maker." Because of the wide use of embryo transfer early on you may also see such numbers as K704, K115/87, K110/87, K117/87 a lot. If you have a red goat from Landcorp stock you will probably see the ZA99 doe somewhere in the pedigree as many people feel that she is the one that carried the "red gene".
A3048,A442,A95/88B are numbers that may appear on an Australian boer goat's pedigree. Since the ABM (Australian Breeding Management Group) started with 241 goats the genetic diversity is typically much greater than what you might see in the New Zealand goats. For example, you would see A3048 (Texas Twister) on a much smaller percentage of Australian goat's pedigrees than if A3048 were one of the goats originally imported from New Zealand.
For the record, there were seven goats flown to the United States from Australia and their numbers were 2671, 2672, 2673, 2674, 2675, 2676, and 2677. At the present time, I am proud to say that 2671 and 2677 live at Antelope Creek Ranch in Robert Lee, Texas. 2671 broke his shoulder in the flight over the ocean and as a result has a difficult time getting around. No one has told him that life is tough, however, as he is the lead buck in a field of 35 bucks. When he arrived in the United States, the vets wanted $15,000 to repair his shoulder. Even with the high price of boer bucks at that time, this was too much money to spend. 2671 died due to the intense heat in Texas last summer but the 2677 buck is producing a lot of nice kids for us this kidding season.
Now that we have been able to get a significant number of goats from South African boer studs into the United States (mostly via Canada) you will see a lot of goats with pedigree numbers such as 444/123 which is the number for boer goat number 123 from the Venter Boer Stud in South Africa. The 444 and 474 numbers indicate the Venter herd. Each Boer Stud in Africa has a unique number assigned to it from the South African Boer Breeders Society. The first three or four numbers prior to the slash indicate the South African Boer Stud or farm in Africa where the goat was bred and the numbers after the slash indicate the unique number for that goat within that particular boer herd.
Since January 1, 1997 the ABGA has been issuing papers that are maroon and white for full blood boer goats and blue and white for percentage boer goats. The different colored pedigrees reflect the use of a different computer program to maintain the database of registration records.
All of the information about a particular goat is contained on a single page for these new papers. The title "Certificate of Registration" appears at the top of the paper. The date that the certificate was issued appears on the left side near the top and the classification (full blood or percentage boer blood) along with the registration number for this goat appears on the right side near the top of the page. The registration numbers that were used starting in January 1, 1997 start with "100xxxxx" and are completed with an additional five digits (the "xs" in the sample number) that complete a unique number for the goat under consideration. The seal of the ABGA appears under the title, "Certificate of Registration" and immediately under the seal will appear the percentage boer of this goat followed by the tatoo information for the right and left ear of this goat. The tatoo in the right ear normally contains the herd prefix where the goat was bred and the left ear tatoo (the goat's left) contains a unique number starting with a letter (I,J,K,L indicating the year the goat was born, K for 1998, etc.) followed by one or more letters or numbers to make the tatoo unique. To the right of the tatoo information appears the sex of the animal with the date of birth (DOB) given just below the indication of sex.
Directly under the tatoo information appears the external id. information such as the ear tag number, the microchip data (if any), an indication regarding whether the goat was imported or not and finally an indication of whether the goat has horns. Just under the "horn" information is a space for the name of the goat. Normally the name of the goat will start with the herd prefix where it was born, for example, goats born at my Antelope Creek Ranch have the herd prefix, "ACR".
If you look at the left side of the pedigree about 1/4 of the way from the top you will see information regarding the current owner of the goat with their official ABGA membership number and immediately below this owner information is the number and name of the breeder of the goat. Under the breeder information is contained the color description for this goat. If the goat is white bodied with a red head, the notation, "correct" will usually be listed. Otherwise a specific description of the color of the goat will be given in this space, such as, red with a white belly band.
The pedigree that was previously listed on the back of the paper is, currently (after January 1, 1997) listed on the front of the page with three generations of parentage being given. The older style pedigrees listed four generations. You can contact the ABGA office to get an extended pedigree for your goat that will go back as far as the database has information. Some of the goats in the registration system at the moment may have as many as seven generations of heritage available.
If there is an entry in the "Miscellaneous" section of the ABGA registration certificate it may include registrations numbers from IBGA or possibly the Canadian Boer Goat Association if the goat is also registered in one or more of these associations.
To transfer an animal to another person, the owner needs to sign the back of the pedigree under the "transfer" section. The new owner can send this copy of the pedigree into the ABGA office and receive a new pedigree with his name listed as owner. The normal charge for transferring a goat to a new owner is $5 for ABGA members and $10 for nonmembers.
IBGA uses the numbers and letters mentioned in this article for goats that were originally imported into the United States, however, the numbering system used to register goats born in the United States with the IBGA is similar to the number on older ABGA pedigrees that used registration numbers beginning with the year the goat was registered, such as, 93xxxxxx. The same method used by ABGA is used to generate the number for IBGA, that is, the first two digits are the year the goat is being registered; the next three numbers are the day of the year the goat is being registered; and the next three numbers are the number or order of the goat on that given day that the goat was registered beginning with 001. The IBGA puts dashes between the year, the day of the year and the number of the goat. For example: 95-123-002. The comparable ABGA number would be 95123002. If a goat is transferred from ABGA to IBGA and the goat was registered prior to January 1, 1997, IBGA will use the ABGA number and put the two dashes in the number at the appropriate places. After February, 1997 IBGA continues to use the 8 digit number with the two digit year as the first two numbers such as, 97-135-012.
Studying pedigrees can provide a lot of late evening entertainment if you become interested in such. Caution - this can be habit forming. Why do we study pedigrees? One of the answers may be to do effective line breeding and bring out the good qualities of a blood line either from the buck side or the doe side of a pedigree. Registration of pedigrees and tracking our goat's genetic heritage is the primary reason that most people join the American Boer Goat Association. The pedigrees give our goats some of their value. A good rule of thumb, however, is that pedigree for a given goat is only as good as the man giving you the paper.
Made available by the American Goat Federation with the permission of Dr. Fred Homeyer.
Contact Dr. Homeyer: Phone: 915-453-2863. [Email]