The Dutch Organization for Goat Breeders (NOG) has approximately twenty regional associations as its members. Those regional associations have a total membership of approximately 700 breeders. This makes the NOG the largest organization for pedigree goats in The Netherlands. This organization manages the goat pedigree data of the Dutch White goat, Dutch Toggenburg goat, Dutch Bonte goat, Dutch Nubian goat, and Dutch Boer goat, and additionally registers goat breeds with no pedigree. The NOG has recently begun registration of its goats using the ZooEasy pedigree program.
Theo van der Meer is the chairman of the Dutch Boer Goat breeding committee. He is also an inspector and pedigree inspector for all breeds. Together with the organization’s secretary, Ivar ten Tuynte, he manages the goat pedigree of the NOG. “I am a recreational breeder of the Dutch Boer goat. This breed of goat originated in South Africa and is the sole meat breed that is still represented in the NOG. Recreational breeders focus on breeding beautiful goats with an eye for the animal’s most desirable qualities, such as milk and meat production. If you enjoy goat pedigree breeding, why not join? Fellow breeders will gladly help new members on their way. Alongside recreational breeders, also a small number of commercial goat farms are involved with pedigree breeding. “Those are the exceptions. These farms not only focus on the animal’s milk production but are equally passionate about improving the appearance of the animals with the help of pedigree breeding.”
Improving pedigree breeds
The NOG is aimed at improving the Dutch goat pedigree breeds, and for that reason it seeks to maintain the data of goats and bucks. Their pedigree lines can be traced back to the 30s. “We register plenty of data, such as the goat’s date of birth and death, owners’ information, … We also carry out inspections, determine which goats can be added to the pedigree book, and register milk production”, Theo says. “The goats should conform to the breed description, that is based on the intended use of the goat.”
The NOG has been keeping a digital record of goat pedigree data since the 1980s, and recently made the switch to ZooEasy. “The reason we chose ZooEasy is because they offer continuity. And we are able to continuously assist our breeders, offering them reliable online information.” The NOG first performed a database analysis and sample import, transferring the data of their GReIS database to ZooEasy. “ZooEasy set up a database for us customized to our needs. Once we had checked all the data following the sample import, we made the definitive switch to ZooEasy.
There were a couple of glitches that caused a delay of two months. This was a bit of a hassle because this was in the middle of lambing season, but in the meantime all data have been processed and the breeders have each received their proofs of registration.
Breeders browse through ancestry
“On April 20th we made the database available to our members. They can put in a request to their database administrator to create their own account. The initial responses have been very positive. Members are able to freely browse the database. Whereas in the past we would print out the pedigree data for them, now the members can browse this information themselves and perform test matings.”