News release: Healthy kids born from first non-surgical embryo transfer in Ontario goats

Guelph ON, April 8 2013–Two healthy kids have been born this spring on an Ontario goat farm from fertilized goat embryos that were collected trans‐cervically – without the use of surgical intervention – last fall. The successful live birth marks the first time that trans‐cervical embryo transfer has been used in goats in Ontario and is the final step in a reproductive project that has been underway to advance genetics in Ontario’s goat industry.

“The birth of these kids is a real milestone for goat genetics in Ontario. It’s the first time, to our knowledge, that this technology has been used successfully in Ontario,” says Kevin Weaver, Project Co‐ordinator with Ontario Goat, who helped lead the project. “The development of trans‐cervical embryo collection and transfer techniques in goats is still in its infancy, but with this birth, we now know that the process can work successfully from start to finish on an Ontario farm.”

Two Boer bucks were carried successfully to term by a Nubian doe at Sugarfield Farms near Tavistock, owned by Tobin and Erin Schlegel. Veterinarian Dr. Kelly Barratt and her team from Heartland Veterinary Services in Listowel collected five embryos from three different donors last fall and implanted them into recipient does.

Traditional goat embryo transfer technology is very ex pensive as it requires both anesthesia and invasive surgical techniques that can leave adhesions and reduce a doe’s reproductive life. The non‐surgical procedure is similar to one used in cattle, and allows farmers to increase the number of offspring that a doe can produce in a given year and over her reproductive lifetime. Resulting offspring can carry superior genetic traits, such as increased weight gain, improved carcass merit and quality, and increase d milk production.

“These exciting results are part of Ontario Goat’s commitment to the long‐term sustainability and success of the Ontario goat industry,” says Jennifer Haley, Ontario G oat’s Executive Director. “Advancing our genetics is certainly a key part of the roadmap to our future as we continue the rapid development and growth of the Ontario goat industry.”

“We want to thank all our project partners for their collaboration on this exciting project and the Agricultural Adaptation Council for project funding ‐ which was t he catalyst for this advancement in the goat industry ” added Haley.

Ontario Goat represents Ontario’s milk, meat and fibre goat farmers with a united voice and is dedicated to enhancing the goat industry through education, collaboration, innovation and strategic alliances. For more information, visit .


For more information please contact: Jennifer Haley, Executive Director, (519) 824‐2942 or

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