This is an ongoing question that is not relegated to the goat industry. Which is better 1) to raise purebreds or 2) to raise a crossbred? To me the answer is simple. I don’t want any part of raising purebred goats. Why? First, and foremost, I am geared towards the wether shows. So that removes the purebreds. Raising purebreds should be focused on raising seedstock. Which means that the does will have value and a small percentage of the males will be quality enough to be kept/sold as bucks. That means the wethers and common bucks have little to no value except at a sale barn. This means that roughly 40% of your production is headed to the salebarn. I know that some will claim that a purebred wether can be competitive. They can’t. Not at a major show with a real judge.
Purebred boer goats have a thicker hide, deeper body and a shallower muscle shape, especially in the rack and loin. They also have a better growth pattern, meaning that they grow faster and therefore mature earlier. These reasons are why a fullbood wether doesn’t compete on a regular basis.
Am I anti-fullboods? To the contrary, absolutely not. I just don’t want to raise them. I don’t want to do all the paperwork, pay the fees, etc. and like I said, they just aren’t my type of goat. But the purebred breeders need to continue to make a quality goat that keeps the breed standards. Wether breeders are going to need a shot of fullblood genetics from time to time. They will need these genetics to try to fix growth patterns, add bone and try to remove faults such as parrot mouths and twisted ears and bad udders.
Heterosis is a good thing in livestock. Crossbreds of all species usually dominate a market show. But all species need to be able to utilize pure genetics to improve their crossbreds. The cattle boys have used pure Angus females and Meyer 734 simmental daughters to make foundation females to be used with the clubby bulls. The barrow boys are always looking for that Yorkshire boar to lay in a set of females that can be used with the wide skulled, heavy boned, big ribbed cross boars. The sheep dudes are always back and forth using Hampshires to stouten up the Suffolks and then using the Suffolks to pretty up the Hamps.
Every species has utilized some new genetic pool to add a new feature to the heterosis curve. Pietrain, Ibex, Chianina, etc. This brings new & improved animals that carry a whole new set of problems with it. Stress gene, Spider gene, bad attitudes, birthing problems, etc.
The crossbred breeders have to occasionally “clean” their herds up by utilizing a newer, cleaner set of genetics. Likewise, the purebred breeders need to keep their herds clean by NOT just relying on papers to make breeding decisions. Look at the mess that the Angus breed has going on in some of their genetic pools. Remember, registration papers are only as good as the people filling out the info. The best thing about registration papers, they could be used as toilet paper if need be.
It is up to the individual breeder to decide whether to make pures or crosses. What is your market? What are your goals? Don’t try to ride the fence and do both with the same herd. Pick one and do it right. Or you can have two seperate herds and do both, but then you will be spending too much time trying to make decisions to influence both herds while your competitors will be focused on one or the other.