Other common names: Savannah Goat; Savannabok; South African Savannah Goat
According to eXtension, "The white Savanna goat breed was developed from indigenous goats of South Africa. Various farmers bred what was known as white Boer goats for a number of years in South Africa. One of the advantages of these white goats was the fact that the white color is dominant over most other colors. The other reason is that there is a big demand for white goats for slaughter purposes for various reasons."
"In 1957, Cilliers and Sons along the Vaal River became the best-known of the originators of this meat goat breed. On the rugged, harsh bush country where temperatures and rainfall can vary to a marked extent, natural selection played a big role in the development of these fertile, easy to care for, heat and drought resistant animals. The Savanna breed is relatively new to the United States, having been imported in the late 1990s."
Appearance / health:
According to eXtension,"These goats have thick, pliable skins with short white hair. The Savanna has excellent reproduction, muscular development, good bones and strong legs and hooves. Although these goats have white hair, they are selected for totally black pigmented skin, horns, hooves and all bare skin areas to avoid injury by strong ultra-violet rays."
Goats are sensitive animals that can suffer from various infectious and chronic diseases that are sometimes undetected until too late. Vaccinations, as well as de-worming and de-lousing applications must be conducted as needed. Milking goats should be checked regularly using prescribed mastitis tests for udder health. Milking areas should always be clean and the goat’s teats treated with teat dip after milking to prevent mastitis.
Goats must be inspected frequently to detect any signs of poor health, infections, or other ailments. Signs include cloudy or teary eyes, dull or fluffed up coat, droopy tail, hunched back, or poor appetite. A veterinarian should always be on call to address health concerns.
Behavior / temperament:
Goats are inherently curious, active, intelligent, and social. They are known to have the ability to overcome enclosures by unraveling the gate, climbing over the mesh, or pushing and ramming the fence down. Goats have good coordination and balance and can manage to climb low trees, ledges, and overhangs. Their curiosity leads them to constantly investigate items with their mouths; most items get chewed and swallowed. With a little patience, goats can be taught to carry or pull loads, respond to calls, and lead a herd. As social animals, they easily get along with other farm animals.
Savanna Goats are favored for their hardiness, long breeding season, and ability to survive under unfavorable conditions such as intense heat, cold, sunshine, or rain.
Housing / diet:
As herd animals, goats are best kept in pairs or groups. As grazers, they require an outdoor habitat that is securely fenced to prevent escape or foraging in restricted areas. The area should be large enough to allow the goat to roam. The recommended habitat per goat is 200 sq. ft. of yard or pasture plus a sheltered or indoor area of about 15 sq. ft. The sheltered area should be adequately built to keep the goats safe from rain and strong winds.
Keeping goats inside the house is not recommended because of the pet’s tendency to gnaw and chew on furniture and furnishings. Goats are also not known to adhere to toilet training.
The ideal food for domesticated goats is alfalfa hay and grass hay. This should be available daily in quantities of at least 3% of the goat’s body weight. Small quantities of feed grain and concentrates (often protein-enriched) like goat show or goat grain can also be given to add nutrition. Supplements are often used to address deficiencies inherent to local habitats.
Clean water is essential to a goat’s daily diet. It should always be available and provided where it cannot be soiled. Dirty and moldy water is hazardous to the goat’s health. Milking goats should be kept away from aromatic or strong-tasting foliage like garlic, onions, mint, and cabbage, which could taint the flavor of the milk.
gain weight, crosses Savanna, Low maintenance, meat production, great disposition, premium price
crossbred meat goats, white goats, heavy meat goat, mothering traits
Goats are much easier to handle and require less maintenance than most farm animals....if you have the right environment for them. They prefer "browse" (e.g. leaves and plants) over nice grasses. Most goats are raised for food...meat and milk. However, a bottle fed baby...raised from birth...can become a pet, although a sometimes pesky one. Without the proper habitat, you will have to feed, vaccinate, worm, etc...just as you would any other animal pet. Goats have a (shallow) mind of their own. As long as you have food, they'll follow you anywhere...but you won't have much luck trying to lead them around on a leash.
I raise Savanna goats for their hardiness and meat production value. They come from the grassy savanna regions of South Africa and must be hardy to survive the harsh conditions of drought, parasites and intense heat...sort of describes my part of Texas. Above many other breeds of goats, they are great mothers, produce good milk and a high rate of twins.
Savannas have white hair and black skin/hoof features. This coloring is favored by ethnic groups and the black features help cut down on skin cancer problems sometimes an issue in warm climates such as Texas. Their browsing ability is second to none...also good for the rocky, hilly regions where crops and cattle grazing might be impossible. Living in the Texas Hill Country, where we have a lot of rocky soil and brushy habitat, meat goats are an important crop. Savanna goats, crossed with Spanish and Boer crossed goats, tend to produce a high percentage of all white goats. The white goats bring a premium price in the market...and most of these goats will wind up in the large city meat markets, where there are concentrations of people who prefer goat meat to a good steak.
I have a very small farm, in the heart of Texas goat country, and I started raising Savanna goats to supply the large producers with breeding stock. Full blood and Pure Bred Savannas are in short supply around here. Therefore, they bring a premium price. I do no advertising or promotion and local ranchers buy everything I can produce. Savannas are not known yet as show animals. They are production animals. Savannas are what meat goat professionals use in their breeding programs to "make money"...plain and simple.
I also add this warning of "buyer beware". There are many crossbred meat goats out there that occasionally throw an all white goat. Do your homework and learn how to identify a full or pure bred Savanna. Some of the best information I've found is on the NASA (North American Savanna Association) website...www.savannagoats.org .
From Charlie Wilson May 25 2011 5:38PM
savanna goats are a easy keep with exceptional mothering traits
Each week I get many phone calls and emails seeking more information about the Savanna goat. I also receive inquiries about NASA as well. I wanted to take the time to share recent news with Savanna owners about both. As you know, Savanna goats are a breed created through natural selection under the harsh conditions of South Africa. The result of natural selection is a hardy medium to large carcass animal with strong mothering traits. A very limited number of Savanna goats have been imported into the USA and Canada. As such the Savanna goat is considered a minor breed in North America. I began to appreciate the breed through my own herd, but became concerned with the wide variations in both appearance and performance of the animals I was able to locate. Savanna owners agree that it is supposed to be more than just a white goat. I began to worry about the future of the breed and the loss of the easy care traits we are so pleased with. Several years ago I began an effort to find like minded Savanna breeders. I found that I was not alone and I became more hopeful. Like many owners I had goats with papers from three registries. I became a member of all three registries but it was clear that the breed needed a more organized support system. At that time, NASA continued to provide registration services but was experiencing a dormant period in association or membership activity. Support for the breed and each other remained largely a grassroots effort. When Brian Payne, NASA president and others renewed their commitment to the effort I became even more hopeful for the future of the Savanna. The return of NASA as an active entity provides a more organized platform for the breed by offering education and breeder support. This breed will need clear guidelines if it is to maintain its ability to contribute to the meat goat industry. NASA aims to support breeders in preserving the original traits selected by nature and South African breed contributors such as Dr. Quentin Campbell and Lubbe Cilliers.
It is the mission of The North American Savanna Association, NASA to ensure that the Savanna goat is able to maintain these valuable traits as Savanna numbers expand through fullblood, breed up and production operations. It is my hope that NASA will provide an increased collaboration of ethical breeders, producers and small ruminant experts. Current members of NASA have expressed a strong desire to preserve this promising breed. NASA members make a commitment to the proper labeling of all Savanna goats from fullblood to percentage crosses. Members are required to uphold accurate registration practices and record keeping. Members are encouraged to improve their herds by participating in ongoing evaluation of doe and buck performances and the culling of animals that do not fulfill the intention of the breed. These practices will be vital to the overall breed’s success in North America.
My personal commitment is to assist NASA and its members in achieving these goals by gathering and posting information and education relevant to breed preservation and promotion. Last year I provided my savanna.org site to NASA in an effort to optimize the platform of education. We start this year with the addition of some exciting documentary videos and breed blueprints from Mr. Lubbe Cilliers, honorary NASA member and Dr. Quentin Campbell. This should be a great year for the Savanna breeder as the Savanna goat will benefit from the new infusion of genetics brought into the United States by the great efforts of NASA member Kenneth Mincey. NASA’s goals are to simply provide education and collaboration. By working together it is my hope that we are able to make a contribution to the overall success of the meat goat producer in North America. Please review the videos I have posted at www.savannagoats.org for the story of the savanna as told by the breed founders and contributors.
Sincerely, Dawn Steiger
Rising Sun Ranch, Bowling Green Kentucky
From dawn steiger Jul 16 2011 7:15PM