Teat spur


I read through some of the posts about teat spurs but still had some questions. I bought this registered doeling at about a year old and didn't see any teat spurs. She was a little wild too, so I could have missed it. Now that shes bred, I see the spur and it appeared to get larger as udders develop. Shes a first freshener. Ive contacted the breeder and she has contacted the herds where she got the parents and no one has had teat spurs. She looked pretty "puffy" when I bought her. 

Doesn't this sound like environmental cause (lack of copper)?

I was hoping to retain a registered doeling from her. 



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  • thank you! 

  • Teat defects definitely have a genetic component, which is easy to see when you look at meat goats, meat cattle, and sheep where breeders don't care about them. They are quite common. In fact, I've had multiple cows and sheep with extra teats, even thought I've had way more goats through the years. 

    Research on this topic in goats is in its infancy. I found a study from 2016, which states that the authors were not able to find other studies on this topic in goats, so they cite quite a bit of research on cattle and pigs with extra teats. It has been shown to be heritable in all mammals, but in this study, they could not find a single gene that was responsible. Instead, it found signals scattered all over the goat genome -- 17 regions on 10 chromosomes! So, it's complicated! And they were different between the two breeds studied. 

    In some species, they have found that hormones can also play a role. That was beyond the scope of this study, but I wonder if that could be how the huge number of extra teats occurred in the early years with my goats. Selenium is very important for thyroid production, which controls all of the hormones in the body, so it could have been the selenium deficiency rather than the copper deficiency that caused the problem with my goats years ago. 

    This study was specifically on Alpine and Saanen goats in France, and they only included herds that had goats with extra teats. They noted that some herds don't have extra teats at all because they cull against that trait. 

    Here is a link to that study, if anyone wants to take a look:


  • So, is this fishtail teat genetic? Should she be sold unregistered along with the kids she has? We traced back a couple generations with no others having it. 

    I bought 3 does from the same farm, one shares her dam from another year and the other shares her sires line. Both have teats that look normal. One isn't bred yet. They all looked swollen or puffy but have trimmed down since I got them in April this year. 

    Thanks for picture! I hadn't seen any unusual teats in person before her. 

  • That's really a fishtail teat. Whatever you call it, teat defects are a disqualification in the show ring. That could have been really easy to miss when she was younger. Extra teats are a lot easier to see because they are separate from the other teats, so they stand out more. 

    She is really a bright beautiful red in both pictures, so I would not think she was copper deficient in the "puffy" photo, if that's what she looked like when you got her. I'm sorry if the old posts you read were not clear, but a goat does not grow a teat spur if she is copper deficient. Back when our whole herd was suffering from severe copper deficiency, we had a lot of kids born with extra teats, including the one pictured below. We could always see the extra teats at birth. It happened before they were born and was a result of the moms being copper deficient. At least that's what I think because we had 8-10 teat defects in three years versus one teat defect in the last 15 years. And we have almost exactly the same genetics because we have not bought a doe in 15 years, so all of our goats are descendants of the does that were throwing teat defects.9398158073?profile=RESIZE_710x

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