Goat Research Facility
The Dairy Goat Research Facility operates under the daily management of a herd manager who is assisted by 3-5 part-time student employees. About 30 students per quarter (90 students/year) come to the barn for weekly management classes or volunteer to gain goat management experience. This facility is located off Old Davis Road south of the main UC Davis campus. The main barn contains the office, laboratory, milking, kid rearing, and trial areas. Animals are kept in dry lot pens surrounding the main barn.
The base herd is primarily Alpine, with representatives of Saanen, Toggenberg, LaMancha, Nubian, and Oberhasli breeds. Crossbred animals at the facility are usually the result of research trials where breed markers are used to determine paternity. Angora and Pygmy goats are also represented at the facility. Herd size varies with current research needs and fluxes between 120 and 300 animals. The Dairy Goat Research Facility currently houses 220 goats. Preventative management systems are maintained to prevent and control caprine arthritis encephalitis and caseous lymphadenitis.
A milking string of 40 does is maintained for research purposes. Milk not required for kid raising is sold as animal feed. Both artificial insemination and live cover is used for breeding purposes. Current research focuses on doe reproduction, buck behavior, grooming behavior, genetics, and approving drugs for use in goats. Excess animals are sold privately or through auction to the general public.
The Dairy Goat Research Facility is currently on a seasonal management system with does kidding from January through July, and breeding activities taking place from August through January. Kids are primarily hand-raised on heat-treated colostrum and pasteurized goat milk. Interior kid rearing pens allow young animals to be closely monitored for the first month of life. Kids are offered free choice kid grain and alfalfa hay from birth, and are weaned when they reach a specific weight limit. Student volunteers and employees provide the primary care and learn management techniques with the kids under the supervision of barn staff and veterinarians. After the first month kids are moved to outside kid pens, and about one year of age into adult pens.
Student involvement at the Dairy Goat Research Facility is intensive. Goats are used in Domestic Animals and People, Introductory Animal Science, Animal Management Practices (goat section), Veterinary Reproduction, and Sustainable Agriculture classes. Additional student involvement includes internships in Animal Science and Special Study classes in addition to The Block and Bridle Club, The Vet Aid Club and student volunteers. In 1996 UC Davis students started the first UC Davis Dairy Goat Show team. This team allows students who may not have had any previous animal experience the unique opportunity to fit and show goats.
Goats maintained at the Dairy Goat Research Facility meet or exceed all guidelines for animal care as defined by national, state, and University specifications.