I often have people looking to buy goats ask me, “What are the advantages of registering my goats with the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA)?” I always have a list with several items on it that I tell them. One of the big ones, for me anyway, is linear appraisal. So in this post I will try to explain what linear appraisal is, why I think it is worthwhile, how to get registered for it, and where to find more info on it on the ADGA website.
Linear appraisal is a service offered by ADGA that gives registered members an opportunity to have their goats assessed against the “perfect goat” instead of against other goats in a show ring, which is what ADGA shows offer. You may, quite fairly, ask, “What does the ‘perfect goat’ look like?” Well the theory goes that there isn’t actually a “perfect goat” but ADGA has developed standards that help appraisers to assess how well a goat measures up. Pictures of the list of standards, called Linear Traits, can be found at the bottom of this post.
Linear appraisal is worthwhile, to my mind, for 3 reasons. 1) It affords goat owners an opportunity for learning. Most appraisers are very willing to answer questions as they appraise your animals. This gives goat owners a chance to learn about traits they may not have understood or realized were structurally important. This also makes a herd owner more able to educate others about goats. 2) It makes clear the strengths and weaknesses of each animal and of an entire herd. This allows herd owners to decide which goats to sell, plan breedings, and look for artificial insemination options with a greater knowledge of their herd. 3) Goat owners are often drawn together by linear appraisal as many people have to transport their goats to a “host herd” to be able to participate. I personally think any opportunity to bring goat owners together is an excellent one. As goat owners we often get caught up in our own little goat worlds and it is good for us to socialize and discuss with other people that have similar interests.
If one is interested in participating in linear appraisal or finding out more information the ADGA website is an excellent place to look. The Linear Appraisal Application can be found by clicking the blue text. The approximate schedule, for when appraisers will be in your state can be found at, LA Schedule. If one would like to participate but doesn’t have 16 or more animals one might have to transport their goats to a host herd, or be a host herd. This is a great option if you know several people in your area who are interested in participating but no single one of you has more than 16 animals. Other goat owners will bring their goats to your farm to be appraised. When filling out the initial application one will not pay for anything except their application fee. One will be sent a packet later in the year where one will be asked to pick their animals and pay for them on a per head basis.