So what is all fuss about Bloodlines, anyway?  Are there really Bloodlines? What do they mean?  Lets talk a little bit about what Bloodlines and lineages are.

What is a Bloodline, anyway?

Bloodlines are herds who are in a predominantly closed herd for usually a minimum of 4-7 generations of breeding those animals on that farm.  Closed means that there are no or virtual no bringing in of animals from other farms.

 

When you have a bloodline, the offspring from the herd will display physical and other characteristics that will come out in most, if not all of those offspring.  Some characteristics may be things like conformation styles (long lean, flat back, long legs, color, coat pattern, etc.). It may also be in milk, fiber production, kidding ease etc. Then it may also be ear sets, horn types, etc.    

Genetically it takes at least 4 and often 7 generations to produce offspring that are born true to the characteristics that the farm is trying to produce.  This number of generations comes straight from two Livestock geneticists that IGSCR worked with in 2020.

When creating Bloodlines in your herd great care must be taken.  There are breeding programs out  there, like Clan Mating, etc. and just extensive Inbreeding, that genetically can cause a lot of problems if not done very carefully. Too much inbreeding can cause animals to become smaller, have genetic defects. Genetic defects can may be seen by the eye, or unseen to the naked eye.  They may be things like loss of vitality, breeding problems, cryptorchidism, etc.  As the geneticists told IGSCR one has to take great care when doing too much inbreeding.  Outside animals need to periodically be introduced into the herd, to break up the inbreeding problems. Often too close of breeding (extensive inbreeding) causes Inbreeding Depression. So be careful.

What is all the fuss about Bloodlines?

  • Many folks like to breed for heritable characteristics. It causes uniform characteristics and uniformity in the offspring that people like to breed for in their herds.  

  • We all have to start our herds from some place. Thus, we purchase our start from various herds.

  • At that point we can breed randomly, or we can develop our own set of characteristics in our herds. Both work. It all depends on what you want in your herd

  • All herds should be allowed the freedom to do what they want in their own herds.  They should be allowed to breed for what they want.

  • In the San Clemente Island, there are various old bloodlines that were accepted a number of years ago. The problem is that some of those bloodlines were calculated way too loosely.  They were called a specific bloodline just because the offspring was 1st-3rd generation breeding into a herd. That is NOT a bloodline and will not typically produce heritable traits. This loose labeling of bloodlines to specific animals is totally useless if a herd owner is wanting to start with specific characteristics.

What were the name of the original Bloodlines?

  • Ahrensberg - (Founding Lineage) from one doe whose parents were off the island - Currently almost extinct, because one animal cannot carry on a bloodline. Today this bloodline is mostly Rivetti and New Hampshire lineage

  • Larry Warren - (Founding Lineage) Herd hand picked on the island and continuing today in some blended herds.  IGSCR does not know of any pure Larry Warren herds of today.

  • Rivetti - (Founding Lineage) Pure lineage in closed herd since the island and continuing today

  • Blake - (Not sure if Blended or Founding lineage) Not much is known about this lineage. MOST of this bloodline was moved into the Gil Bloodline, but not all. No longer exists today

  • New Hampshire - (Composite or Blended Lineage) There are a lot of the New Hampshire (aka East Hill) lineages around today. These were mostly Plimoth Plantation lineages, with some Alta Mesa in their origins.  

  • Tepper - (Composite or Blended Lineage) There were some Tepper who linebred for the old whitish (NOT pure white, but actually a very light tan) color/pattern, plus some others. There is still some Tepper left in some herds today

  • Plimoth - (Composite or Blended Lineage) who moved goats in and out of its herd from the Tepper lineage and others.

  • Gil aka Alta Mesa - (Composite or Blended lineages) mostly now in the Vancouver Island (QLLC in Canada) herd. There were some in the New Hampshire lineage too

  • Vancouver Island - (Composite or Blended lineages) This is the QLLC herd in Canada

  • Canada - (Composite or Blended lineage).  This is a very poor name for a bloodline, because it really has quite a few bloodlines contained in it.  This bloodline name really means nothing important, without breaking it down into its parts.

IGSCR has much more knowledge on these lineages (old bloodlines) than is being discussed here.

IGSCR and SCI Bloodlines (aka earlier lineages)

  • In the latter part of 2020 IGSCR and Dr Sponenberg worked on an extensive study of the San Clemente Island goats. They saw some blaring problems and that this was misleading folks. Essentially some of the animals in the blended bloodlines were miscoded through being too general in the labelling. Then the Canada bloodline was way too vague and meaningless

  • IGSCR and Dr Sponenberg did an extensive study of herds who are true Bloodlines and if those herds still have much influence in the San Clemente Island goats of today.  They found that many do, and others do not

So can't I create a Bloodline today?

  • You bet. In fact there are more modern San Clemente Island bloodlines of today that are not even mentioned. There are folks who have created predominantly closed herds for years and have very heritable traits.

Should you breed by bloodlines?

  • It all depends upon what you want in your herd

  • If you breed for bloodlines, take great care NOT to inbreed too heavily

  • Contrary to some opinions, San Clemente Island goats are no different from any others.  In talking with geneticists, they are prone to 'inbreeding depression' the same as other species are

  • We are seeing results in some San Clemente Island that may very well be inbreeding depression coming out

  • Yet again, if you are looking for specific traits, then you can definitely breed for bloodlines. Just decide what characteristsics you want to breed for and have fun.  

Were there bloodlines on the Island when the goats were running free?

Its hard to say. The likely answer is yes.  When animals run free, they tend to separate themselves into family lines and then create their own natural pattern, colors and characteristics. When some of the animals were selected to move to specific herds, there were some goats who had very distinct characteristics.

Then the San Clemente Island goat itself is a very distinctive bloodline with specific body style, coloring and coat pattern. 

 

 

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This bloodline article is written by IGSCR and not allowed to be copied or reproduced, without permission from IGSCR

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