The Oberhasli is a Swiss dairy goat, medium size, short erect ears, and alert in appearance, but the most noticable feature about the breed is its color. Bucks are required to be red bay (sometimes described as chamoisee) with correct black markings-two black stripes from above the eyes extending down to a black muzzle, for3ehead nearly all black, black along the neck and back has a dorsal stripe, black belly and black on legs from knees and hocks down. does must have the same color pattern but are also allowed to be solid black.
Sometimes it can be a little confusing when that gorgeous bay doe bred to that stunning bay throws a set of black twins. How did the black doe give birth to correct bay kids? Pictured below are a few sets of Punnett Squares that may help novice breeders figure out where that mystery color came from in the Oberhasli herd. (A Punnett square is a cross-multiplication square that is used for determining the genetic outcome of a mating.) This system of studying genetic inheritance dates back to Gregor Mendel during the 1800′s and is still used today. Some may remember him from old science classes-the monk who bred varieties of peas to determine how they pass on their traits.
Pictured below is a starter Punnett Square showing a Red Doe that is bred to a Red Buck. All the terms are labeled, and the colored squares represent offspring color. Notice there are two phenotypes (color expressed) but three genotypes (three different gene sets) in this cross. While most does don’t have four kids at a kidding, this lists the possibilities.
After studying the first primer Punnett Square, think about a few different breeding scenarios that could occur at every breeding season. Sure, that animal is a beautiful red bay, but what lies behind in the genes? All rules set on the first square apply-as to placement of sire and dam, and what R-values mean.
In this first breeding (Breeding #1), a match of a "true-breeding" Red Doe with a "true-breeding" Red Buck. Both animals are Red (phenotype), and are dominant RR’s (their genotype).
When mated, they yield 100% Red offspring. That’s it, simple. All kids will be carriers of two Dominant Red Genes.
In this mating (Breeding #2), a "true-breeding" Dominant Red Doe bred to a buck that is Red, but carriers a Recessive Black gene.
The offspring are all Red.
Just remember, 50% are "true-breeding" for Red, and 50% carry a Recessive Black gene.
When first looking at this picture, it almost looks like the first breeding. The only difference here is that the buck is "true-breeding" and the doe is a carrier of the Recessive Black gene. Again, all kids are red.
Again, 50% are "true-breeding" for Red, and 50% carry a Recessive Black gene.
Now the fun begins! When a Black doe is mated to a "true-breeding" Red buck, the result is Black only if she carries a double recessive Black. Sorry folks, no black kids from this mating! They’re all a nice correct red. The kids from this breeding will all be carriers of the Black Recessive gene. Ok, now the tricky part. Breed a Black Doe, to a buck-the buck is going to be Red, but will carry a Recessive Black gene. The offspring have a 50% chance of being Black, and a 50% chance of being Red (but carriers of the Recessive Black gene).
Genetics are what determines the color of kids. Animals can be colored "red" and can be bred to another "red" animal and throw black kids. A black doe can be bred to a red buck and throw correct colored kids, or black ones, or both!
The keys to determining specific animal’s genotypes are: keep good records of all breedings and kid crops; in regards to color trace animal colors back as far as you can go in pedigrees; use registration number suffix letter as a guide for "b" animals; follow-up on outside breedings to see what was thrown.
With good records, a bit of patience and a bit of practice it is possible to determine the genotypes of all the animals in a herd. Figuring out the genetics in your herd can be fun. It can be difficult, but it is rewarding.
Questions, comments, or corrections, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2002 Natalie Macewko Nat’s Little Bit Farm