Archive | 3:25 pm

Wattles and Goat Genetics

16 Mar

When I brought home my first five nannies, three of them were plain Janes, but two had decorations:  those cute fuzzy dangling flaps of skin called wattles.

I admit, I didn’t like the wattles on goats.  I thought it just looked weird.  Over time, however, I’ve learned to appreciate their goatie jewelry.

Minnie Pearl has long even wattles.  Yes, those little tags hanging down helped earn her name.

Meg has unevenly placed wattles, just a bit lopsided.

I noticed over time that the only goats with kids who had wattles were Minnie and Meg.  About half of Minnie’s babies have had wattles, but none of her daughters ever did.  Meg has had way more kids with wattles than without.  Below is her oldest daughter, Muffin, Meg in the middle, and Fancy, her youngest daughter, all showing off their wattles.

Muffin had wattles, but her twin sister didn’t.

Meg’s middle daughter, Jilly, has the cutest little fuzzy wattles.

Fancy is the only one we’ve had with these cute little ear wattles!

We are now getting into Meg’s grandkids, who are also showing that dominant trait.  It’s hard to see the wattles on Muffin’s daughter, Jetty, but she has them.

Because some people don’t like wattles, they remove them at birth.  This gives the inaccurate impression that goats randomly have wattles.  That really is not the case at all.

This year my science students were studying genetics–a simple Punnett square can explain the genetics of wattles.  Even though most goats don’t have wattles, they are the dominant trait.  It only requires one parent to donate the gene for having wattles for them to show up.  Not having wattles is recessive, and requires both genes from the parents to be that recessive gene.

W-dominant trait having wattles  (My girls are on the side)

w-recessive trait absence of wattles (Buck without wattles on top)






w ww



As you can see, statistically, about half of their babies should have wattles.  Although Meg really has had more like ninety percent of her babies with wattles.


Source of Information:  HERE

Minnie is retired from having babies, and we are waiting on Meg to have her final babies.  Soon we’ll know how many more little wattled kids we’ll have running around.  She’s in labor as I post this.  I was hoping to show you her adorable kids, but I guess I’ll have to name one Xena and introduce you next week.

If you haven’t commented to enter my giveaway for homemade bath salts and goat milk soap, there’s still time.  Just click on the picture in my sidebar.

Be sure to visit Jenny Matlock for more posts on the letter W.