Over the past 83 year this program has been developed as a semi-intensive production system with an emphasis on strengthening the genetic line that favours production and adaptability.
The Cyprus Damascus goat is a highly adaptive and profilic animal that is recognized as the ultimate goat in either dual or single purpose production sytems.
The Antoniades herd produces an average litter size of 2.5 kids per pregnancy with kid averaging birth weight of 4.5kg. newborn kids feed from their mother for the first two days to ensure that they receive adequate colostrums.
They are then separated from their mother and feed from artificial kid feeder supplemented concentrates until 49 days.
By four months of age, female achieve an average weight 0f 30-32kg and males average weight 0f 35 kg. Adult weight ranges between 60 – 90 kg and bucks 90 -130 kg. At four months animals selecten into the production system are separated from the remaining herd and enter an intensive immunization and veterinary surveillance program focused on enhacing reproduction.
Female are presented to the buck at the first oestrus (between 220 – 270 days) and continue breeding for an average of six years after which they are sold to other local farms or usewd for meat.
The company aim to milk for 305 days unless they are pregnant when they remove them from the milk production system three months before their expected delivery date.
Buck begin mating from nine months and remain in the production system for a maximum of two years and they minimize consanguinity by separating them from the females until the decision to breed when they only permit crosses beyond third degree relatives.
Milk production reaches an average of 4kg a day with many goats achieving more. Their selection criteria for genetic improvement includes :
- 1000 kg in a single lactation
- Lactation 305 days
- 2 – 3 kid per pregnancy.
Animal may be sold from farms locally at any age. However, experience has shown that does selected for export are best withheld from the production system since they have found that achieving first pregnancy in their destination country maximizes their production.
The cyprus Damascus (shami) goat is an excellent, highly adaptive and hardy goat.
Experience locally and in export countries confirms that it can be used as purebred or in cross for milk and/or meat production systems, surpassing the production figures of equivalent animals in intensive, semi-intensive or extensive systems.
The Antoniades family recommend the Cyprus Damascus (Shami) goat for private breeders who wish to raise a pure herd as well as for rural agricultural development program internationally.
The Cyprus Damascus (Shami) goat is also the ideal goat to support genetic research program that aim to establish robust income generation projects at the same time as improving the productivity in local genetic line through cross-breeding. (International Dairy Topics Volume 11 Number 2-2012)