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All About Boer Goats

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The Boer goat was developed as a food source in South Africa in the early 1900s. The animal’s name comes from the word Boer which is Dutch for “farmer.”  The best guess is that the Boer Goat was initially developed by cross breeding the local indigenous goats being farmed by the Fooku Tribes and the Managua Bushman. The “Boer Goat” was was bred for it’s high quality meat. Due to a combination of selective breeding and constant improvements, the modern Boer Goat has excellent growth rates, a docile easy to work with nature and exceptionally high quality meat. As a result of all its good traits, it has fast become one of the most popular goat breeds in the world. Other points that make the Boer breed so popular is it’s resistance to disease and it’s adaptability to different climates and surroundings.

In North America, the main area of production is west-central Texas. In Canada, the Province of Alberta leads the way. The original US breeding stock came from herds located in New Zealand. Only later were they imported directly from South Africa.

Boer goats are also popular for other reasons. They are quiet, easy-to-handle creatures with high rates of fertility and excellent abilities to “mother” their young. They have long ears similar to the Nubian goat and often have white bodies and beautiful brown heads. The average Boer buck weighs between 240 -330lbs and fully grown does come in from 200 – 220lbs. 

Five Things You Need To Know About Boer Goats

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Paragraph.The tried and trusted Boer Goat is widely acclaimed as one of if not the best meat producing goat breed in the world. It's a large goat that consistently produces a high meat yield giving it a high carcass value compared to other breeds. The quality of the meat is also extremely high.

The Boer Goat is adaptable to a wide range of terrains and climates. It has an exceptionally high fertility rate making it a favorite amongst breeders. Combine all these factors with a docile nature and you have extra reasons as to why the Boer is so popular.

If raising Boer Goats for profit is something you are thinking about doing, there are certain factors you should take into consideration.

1. You will need to provide an appropriate fenced area for your goats including shelter. It does not have to be too extensive but must include an area where the goats can be fed and get water and access to an open area to graze and exercise. If possible when designing a sheltered area, take into consideration the needs of expectant does. An area where they can give birth or do their "kidding" in peace and quiet is preferable.

2. Make the fenced grazing area big enough to allow lots of room to amble but fully enclosed to prevent the Boer Goats wandering off. Also, when fencing, keep in mind the need to keep your goats in and predators out. Spending a little extra time and money on fencing can save you a lot of frustration down the line.

3. Hiring the services of a good local veterinarian is also an essential part of your production plan. Your primary reason for farming Boer Goats is likely meat production so a clean bill of health for your animals and your operation is critical. Both the quality of the meat and the quality of the breeding stock will benefit from the care of a good vet.

4.Healthy goat production also requires you follow a regular health maintenance program with vaccinations, de - worming, hoof care and coat grooming. Again, a good vet can help with advice on all these subjects.

5. Regular exercise is critical for healthy production of Boer Goats. It improves the meat quality and keeps the goats active and engaged. An excellent way to exercise your goats is to move from one pasture to another. If they could talk, they'd thank you!

Boer Goats For Meat Production

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Meat goats such as the Boer Goat are minimal care creatures that are browers by nature, preferring brush, shrubs, and broadleaf weeds rather than grass. Boer goats raised for meat production are typically raised on pastures. The main reasons for this are twofold: pastured goats are on average healthier animals than pen-raised goats; secondly, it costs far less to raise Boer goats on a diet of brush and weeds, than on bags of commercial feed. 

The ideal option is adequate year-round grazing with only mineral supplementation. Boer goats can be raised effectively in combination with cattle or sheep due to their preference for browse and the resulting limited impact on the grass cover. They do compete with other browsers, such as deerTrace minerals, especially copper, are particularly important to good goat health. Feed and mineral blocks marked "for sheep and goats" should be avoided. Copper in quantities suitable for goats is toxic to sheep, so dual sheep/goat feeds will almost always lack sufficient copper for goats. Copper deficiency is known to cause anemia, diarrhea, infertility, spontaneous abortions, and lethergy.

Six Things You Need To Know About About Raising Goats

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The single most important factor in producing Boer Goats for meat is picking the right breeding male or buck. Spending the extra to acquire a high quality buck will more than pay for itself as a strong buck will produce strong offspring even, when paired with an average doe. On average, Boer Goat offspring will put on weight at the same rate as their sire. That's why a buck from a proven bloodline will cost you more but a high quality buck will produce offspring that quickly gain weight getting them ready for market sooner with less work.

Here are some other factors to consider when choosing a breeding buck:

1. 35-80lbs is the primary market size for meat goats. The young should reach this size at approximately weaning age. The offspring from a high quality buck can weigh up to 80lbs at 90 days old where as those from a lesser quality buck might only weigh in at 35lbs at the same age. While the cost to purchase a buck with average bloodlines will be far less expensive up front, the lack of quality will have serious effects on your level of production leading to struggles for long-term profitability. To do it right, plan to purchase a premium quality buck - you'll be glad you did.

2. Jaw Alignment - Meat goats are generally raised on pasture so a buck with a poor jaw line is a significant detriment when grazing. Poor jaw alignment is an absolutely unacceptable in breeding bucks for a commercial herd.

3. Good feet and legs - Hoof rot can be a problem for goats that live in wetter climates. Regular clipping of the hooves is required and strong legs are an obvious advantage for moving around the pasture.

4. Healthy Genitals - The obvious purpose of a breeding buck is to breed your does successfully so look for bucks with well formed, equal size testes in a single scrotum.

5. On average one breeding buck is required to service between 25 - 35 does however if conditions are perfect, one strong, excellent quality buck may be enough for up to 50 does. With the exception of breeding, the bucks are usually kept separate from the does. Does are generally bred for a six week period every eight months and this hopefully leads to three crops of kids every couple of years.

6. It's essential that your breeding bucks are able to live on pasture as a pen-raised buck will tend to stay near the pen while the does will spend their time including breeding in the pasture. A homesick Buck won't do the job.

Boer Goats are a pleasure to raise. Done correctly, they can provide excellent income to your farming operation and in these tough economic times, that's a wonderful ace to have up your sleeve!