OUR ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES
Lookout Point goats have to prove to us they have what it takes to make it in tough conditions, year after year. Our land and location are ideal for testing the capabilities of New Zealand Kikos. The climate is similar, and the land tests the goats' physical stamina, feed efficiency, foot growth, mothering ability, udder conformation, parasite tolerance, and more. Our Kikos are challenged to show the difference between those that excel without much help from us, and those that need extra feed, de-worming, more sheltered kidding environment, etc.
Lookout Point Ranch is located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. The harsh ranch conditions allow us to apply multiple concurrent stresses to the goats: bad weather, steep terrain, waterlogged clay soils, low feed quality, and parasites. These combined challenges increase selection pressure, allowing faster genetic progress in our breeding program.
As shown by the below precipitation map, we are located in one of the West's wettest areas. We receive several feet of wintertime and spring rain, along with occasional snow. Much of our precipitation falls as cold rain with temperatures in the 30s and low 40s. Since we provide no barns or other manmade shelter for the goats, this weather pattern is quite stressful for the goats, which naturally prefer drier climates.
Our ranch is rugged, with about 1/4 mile of vertical rise, and numerous deep ravines. Heavy clay soils promote foot problems. Goats must be able to travel steep ground to forage and reach water; lame animals cannot get enough to eat and will fail to thrive.
We also experience a summertime drought with almost no rain from July through September, so feed is in short supply. The situation is made worse by our low quality, relatively unproductive soils. Animals often lose weight as they head into winter. We do not provide supplemental feed.
At the same time that the goats must deal with poor feed quality and bad weather, they are confronted with large late fall and wintertime parasite loads. The goats rarely have a break, since our parasite season is 9 months long. During colder months, lice, Ostertagia and Trichostrongylus worms are the major parasites. Haemonchus contortus becomes a problem in the late spring.
We do not worm animals, not even kidding does, except to salvage animals that have been removed from our breeding program.