Kiko Buck Test in the Southeast. Helping farmers to have a sustainable meat goat business.

Project Overview

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2024: $29,999.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2026
Grant Recipient: Department of Animal & Dairy Sciences at Mississippi State University
Region: Southern
State: Mississippi
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Leyla Rios
Department of Animal & Dairy Sciences at Mississippi State University


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

The first buck test in Mississippi was developed in Greene
County, under real commercial farm conditions. In the 2023 test,
45 farmers from 14 states took part, consigning a total of 89 in
the test. For current goat farmers in the southeast and for those
wanting to come into the goat business, buck tests give them the
possibility of buying animals that adapt and perform better in
their conditions, which makes their business more sustainable for
the southeast. The objectives of the test are:

  1. Identify meat goat genetics with resistance/resilience to the
    stresses present in the Southeast, including internal parasites,
    high temperatures, and the utilization of native vegetation and
    commonly planted forages.
  2. Identify meat goat genetics that most efficiently convert
    pasture to a salable carcass.
  3. Based upon polling of producers and input from industry
    experts, incorporate additional studies in future tests that will
    provide meaningful data for producers to improve their production
    efficiency and profitability.

By applying to this grant, we want to ensure funds for developing
2 more years of Buck tests in MS to increase the sustainability
of the business, and revenue of farmers, and improve their
quality of life.


Project objectives from proposal:

The test will consist of 100 to 200 bucks in year 1, dependent on
forage conditions, with adjustment in later tests based upon test
site conditions.  The test site will be White Sands Research
Center in MS.  Bucks for year 1 will be limited to purebred
or 100% Kiko, born between December 15 and March 1 of the test
year.  Beginning in year 2, the age range of consignments
may be adjusted to lessen the variable of age differences during
the test or to include an additional opportunity to
consign.  The kidding window will be determined by polling
so that as many producers as possible can participate in the
test.  Two bucks per farmer unless all slots are not filled,
in which case additional bucks can be added per farmer at the
discretion of MSSTATE.  MSSTATE will determine the order in
which to increase the number of consignments.  Bucks must be
a minimum of 40 pounds with a 2% allowance for bucks traveling in
from out of State.  The animals must have a Scrapie tag and
a certificate of health from their veterinarian. The bucks must
be weaned at least 2 weeks prior to the test, vaccinated for CDT,
and pneumonia (Pasteurella multocida), and have one hoof
trim.  Bucks will be required to have identified sire and
dam, birth date, birth weight, and weaning weight.
 Nominations will be open from April 15 – May 15. Funds will
be used to cover farm labor, feed, hay and any necessary
treatments.  Upon check-in, the bucks will be given an exam
by a veterinarian, with any buck showing signs of communicable
diseases being disqualified. The bucks will receive a tag with
their test id, an initial health check-up, and a deworming with 3
classes of dewormer (Valbazen, Ivermectin, and Levamisole). They
will also be orally drenched with a coccidiostat, given a shot of
oxytetracycline for shipping fever prevention, and given a zinc
sulfate solution hoof bath.  A blood sample of 0.5 cc will
be drawn at check-in to determine PVC and preserved for future
genome projects.  A fecal sample will be collected prior to
deworming.  The use of copper bolus and hormone implants is
strictly prohibited.  A two-week warm-up period will take
place in the quarantine lot beginning June 25.  During this
warm-up period, the animals will be fed a diet consisting of
quality hay and commercial 16% goat pellets.  Bucks that
show signs of having anthelmintic-resistant parasites (as
determined by the FEC reduction test 10-14 days following initial
deworming) will be disqualified. Isolation to the dry lot areas
during warmup will allow the identification of
anthelmintic-resistant parasites prior to the forage test, thus
preventing the spread of those parasites to the forage test
plots.  Animals with external abscesses will be isolated and
disqualified from the test.  The forage test will be 84 days
beginning July 9.  The forage test will be conducted on
approximately 30 acres consisting of 3 forage plots and a
handling facility.  The forage plots in year 1 will consist
of warm-weather grasses commonly grown in the Southeast,
including Bahia, Bermuda, and other forages as determined by the
University Forage Specialist. The animals will have access to
Sweetlix Meatmaker 16:8 Mineral or equivalent for the duration of
the test. Prior to the forage test, samples will be tested from
forage plots to determine parasite load for informational
purposes.  During the forage test, the rotation will be
approximately every 14 days, or as deemed necessary.  The
bucks will be checked approximately every two weeks during the
forage test and adjustment period.  Checkups will include
Weight, ADG, FEC, FAMACHA, and BCS.  The animals will have
an SC measurement, REA, and USDA Grading taken at the start and
finish of the test.

Bucks that have a BCS of 1.5 AND an FEC of >2500 epg will be

Bucks with a FAMACHA of 4 AND an FEC of >2500 epg will be

Any animal that is dewormed will be disqualified from ranking in
the final ranking. At the conclusion of the test, bucks will be
dewormed if the farmer chooses, which will avoid withdrawal time
complications for those bucks destined for slaughter. 
Animals that are disqualified after drop off, for any reason,
will be held for a two-week period to allow producers the
opportunity to pick the animal up. After two weeks, any
disqualified animals being held will be liquidated to a local
livestock market unless other arrangements have been made with


A clean needle will be used for each animal when giving
shots.  The herd will be checked daily by trained personnel
for early detection of illness including internal
parasites.  Visitor access to barns and pastures will be
restricted for the duration of the test.  Farmers who wish
to visit the site during the test may contact MSSTATE to request
an appointment and will be issued disposable shoe covers and
escorted to the site.  Vehicle traffic at test sites is
prohibited during tests.  Animals that display signs of sore
mouth or pink eye will be removed from the test site and placed
in a quarantine pen for treatment and fed individually, returning
to the test site after the condition is cured.  Feed, hay,
and minerals will be provided in troughs or racks.  Animals
with signs of CL abscesses will be withdrawn from the test. 
Pens, working facilities, tools and utensils, waterers, and
service vehicles will be disinfected with potent
disinfectant.  In case of death, the farmer will be given
the option to have a necropsy conducted at their expense.



Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.