Other common names: Boerbok; Africander; Afrikaner; South African common goat
The Boer Goat was developed in South Africa by the Cape Dutch farmers during the 1900s. The name is derived from the Cape Dutch (Afrikaans) word for 'farmer'. The main characteristics of the Boer goat are similar to the Nubian Goat which is found throughout East and south-eastern Africa. It is believed that the base stock came from the native goats of the Namaqua Bushmen and the Fooku tribes, though the bred was outbred with both Indian and European goats to improve the conformation and to yield a double-muscled animal.
This mix of genetics gives the Boer goat high resistance to disease. Boers are hardy and can survive extremes of both heat and cold. They also have huge rumen capacity and spend more of their time grazing than any other goat. Indeed, they were first bred to help clear scrubland that was to difficult for humans to clear. They also have a fast growth rate and the carcasses have very good meat coverage. These reasons and their high tolerance to heat (particularly in desert environments) makes the Boer Goat one of the world's most popular meat-producing goat breeds.
Though the breed was developed in South Africa it has been exported world-wide and there are British and American Boer Goat societies. Its meat-producing qualities have made it an important goat for improving other breeds and you will often find Boer goat crosses with other breeds. For meat production purebred Boer goat males are preferred, but it is most common to find does up to 7/8 pure in meat flocks.
Boers are noted for being docile and very prolific breeders. Three crops of up to four kids every two years is typical. The main type of Boer goat known outside South Africa is the 'Improved Boer goat' which has a good conformation and is the best for meat production, but there are five conformational types recognized in South Africa: Ordinary Boer Goat, Polled Boer Goat, Long Hair Boer Goat, Indigenous Boer Goat and Improved Boer Goat.
Boer Goats were first introduced into North America from New Zealand (actually from the Landcorp and Moodie flocks) and this explains the plethora of alternate names. It was only later that the breed was directly imported from its native South Africa.
Appearance / health:
Boer goats are a medium-sized, horned breed with white bodies and reddish brown heads. Many show a variety of brown and white color patterns. The ears are long and droopy.
The Boer is a very striking and muscular looking goat and the males have long beards. This makes purebreds excellent show animals.
The Boer goat has been selectively bread to be healthy and disease free. Like all caprines/ovines they should be wormed for intestinal parasites, but he main problems with the breed are typically developmental. Though rare, bucks may be victim to poor jaw alignment which will restrict grazing and growth. In damp areas hooves need to be clipped regularly to prevent footrot.
Behavior / temperament:
Like almost all goats descended from African stock, the Boer Goat is well known for its placidity and docile nature. They universally have mild temperaments and are affectionate when interacting with humans. Though primarily used as meat animals they can be selected and bread as show animals. They also make excellent pets, just be aware that this is a big goat. Like all herd animals they should never be kept singly but you can intermingle a few Boer goats with both sheep and cattle. They will help calm down a skittish flock of sheep.
Housing / diet:
Boer goats need no specialized housing and they are quite happy in habitats ranging from semi-arid to snowy. Being heavy animals they require no special fencing and if your land is sheep-proof it will also be suitable for Boer goats. Due to their preferred diet, they are suitable for raising in mixed herds with both cattle and sheep.
A hardy breed, the Boer Goat needs no special treatment. Indeed, they do best when allowed to roam freely on pastureland. They can survive quite happily on scrubland as well, as long as there are sufficient weeds and bushes to browse upon. Once feature of Boer goats is that, like some sheep breeds, they have a tendency to copper deficiency. As a result copper supplements are recommended both for pregnant does and kids. If you are supplementing your goats' diet with copper, do not mix them with sheep, as copper levels suitable for goats would be toxic to sheep.
great meat production, dry conditions, Boer Goat cross, high weight gain, Boer Goat genetics, easy keepers
internal parasites, hoof rot, wet conditions, worm loads, escape artists
little birthing issues, beautiful colours, live birth percentage, climateflexible meat producers
Steve the Goat
Steve was given to us by another farm who had sold all their other goats. He was a wether (a neutered male), and he had been shown when he was younger before living with a herd of Nubian milk goats. When he came to us, he stayed with a herd of Dorper sheep. He was very friendly and followed us around like a dog. He adored my child and followed her every step around the farm. The only problem was that she eventually got scared of him for following her everywhere and cuddling up to her, since he was bigger than she is. He was friendly most all the other farm animals and herded fine with the sheep.
The only problem we had with Steve was that he was gelded at an older age and didn't seem to realize he had been fixed. He tried to breed the ewe sheep and decided they were his herd and not the ram's. He started butting the ram away from the ewes, so he had to go. Since Boers are the main meat breed of goats and he was a wether, that meant he went to the butcher. I was sad to see him go, but the meat was absolutely wonderful. He was a great boy (when he wasn't chasing the ram off), and he was a great meat producer. We'll definitely be getting more Boer goats in the future!.
From Shayla06 Oct 18 2015 11:47AM
A South African classic.
You can't go wrong with the boer goat. In many ways, it could be argued that this is the best of all goat breeds bred for meat production. The meat produced from one animal alone is alot and very delicious. It is a fast grower and tends to put on weight rather easily. It is highly disease resistant and can survive-even thrive- in hot climates. With its placid nature, this animal tends to get along quite well overall in mixed herds which it can breed with easily. When well taken care of, herd populations tend to grow very quickly due to high fertility and the aforementioned growth rates. On average, pureblood sires from this bloodline tend to fetch a pretty penny. I would say that while purebred boer goats are the best, just having the bloodline in your herds is also a good idea as the mixed breed offspring tend to grow faster and bigger on average. As pets, these goats can be quite gentle and docile and hand feeding tends to be a pleasure. Though they can also be quite energetic and playful. I observed this in other herds as well so I assume it is a trait of the breed..
From AnimalEnthusiastR Sep 3 2016 2:38PM
Goats: No to pet. No to commercial. Yes to productivity
I raised a goat for a year for a local county 4H project. You must have a 6 foot fence around them. Mine jumped out and after 3 hours I finally caught him. Also, they make horrible pets. They are normally not calm and don't like coexisting with humans. I raised only one goat and had enough of it by the time I was done. It would constantly whine and make loud annoying noises (I think because he was alone and din't have a companion). He constantly would jump trying to get out of his protected territory. The best part about goats is that they are very productive for cleaning out a pasture of weeds. I've raised cattle, swine, horses, ducks, and dogs. I highly recommend swine or dogs as pets or commercial. Goats are best if you rent them from someone for a week to clean out your land of weeds!.
From freddie Jan 22 2016 2:53PM