Courtsey of Autry Farms, TN
The Weinheimer Ranch was founded in 1878. Roy Weinheimer, like many Texans of his time, raised Angora goats for mohair, and kept his Spanish goats for feeding the family. He brought Spanish goats onto the family-run Weinheimer Ranch in the 1950’s, and was a very progressive Spanish goat breeder for that time—he started selectively breeding them right away. Weinheimer would add a billy here and there if he found a better one.
The herd was closed completely from the 1980’s to 2004.
In 2004, the Weinheimers added some Kensing bloodline as an outcross. However, the original gene pool was not swamped by this, and the Weinheimer bloodline retains some unique Spanish genes.
Among the herd may be found a dozen or so ‘blue’ goats. For those of you who have never seen one, they are indeed blue. More blue than grey.
The Weinheimer goats tend to have horns that show less of a twist than most Spanish. Horns are part of their breeding selection criteria, and the Weinheimers prefer horns that are broad-based at the base and have less twist, sweeping back and flaring broadly. They find that such horns correlate with depth and volume of body.
The billies grow to be 230-250 lbs if their diets meet their nutritional requirements, but average under 200 lbs. in working conditions. At the Ranch, goats are raised on natural Texas forage. They occasionally receive supplemental feeding to ease handling, and this has helped to keep the goats very gentle.
Weinheimer deworms twice per year: right before the breeding season and when the kids are weaned.
Predatation determines whether or not the billies are kept with the nannies year round. On Weinheimer’s 2,200 acres, some areas are safer than others, and goats are moved or separated in response to how coyotes are working the different pastures. Most births are twins, and the ranch usually has three kid crops every two years.
Weinheimer keeps about 10–33% of his bucks as breeders, and keeps however many nannies he needs to keep the herd numbers up, and sells the rest for meat.
The biggest toll on the herd is coyotes. Coyotes have, in the past, killed one third of the population of the herd. And recently, they did it again. Weinheimer has tried to work every anti-coyote angle possible: government trappers, dogs, bait capsules, donkeys (who killed some kids themselves so they were booted off the ranch), llamas, you name it. Weinheimer has killed approximately 100 coyotes in the past three years. And they’re still just as thick. He recognizes that the problem isn’t just the death-toll numbers, it’s the toll on selective breeding. Weinheimer has seen coyotes kill one third of his nannies and 100% of his kid crop in a 3-week period. There are just too many coyotes for a well-managed ranch to handle.
The coyotes are not selective-Weinheimer believes that sometimes coyotes will get your healthiest nannies just for the thrill of the chase.
Weinheimer goats are primarily selected for conformation, volume, and maternal traits, such as reproductive abilities and well-attached, small udders with small teats. Weinheimer goats are very hardy, forage well, are parasite-resistant, and are excellent mothers. They have no hoof problems, and require little maintenance in their environment.
History of Weinheimer Ranch by Chism Weinheimer, November 2008