Acquired: Bred animal myself
Posted Mar 17, 2015
I raised two Angora-Boer crosses from birth due to health issues, but both recovered and went on to live rambunctious and highly adventurous lives. Personality-wise, these goats are smart, self assured, and loyal to their herd. Cusco was the first baby I nursed/raised. He couldn’t stand after birth as his back legs were too weak. I learned it was Selenium deficiency, which was brought on by feeding the mother cane hay during pregnancy. Cane hay doesn’t have all the necessary nutrients a developing kid needs, but I was able to correct that for Cusco with supplements and vitamins added to the mother's colostrum, and after about a month he was running around with the rest of the kids like nothing had ever been wrong. The second kid was born with a humped neck which hindered regular nursing. I believe the humped neck came about because he was in a breach position in the womb, and his mother was small to begin with. Due to his neck, I named him Buffalo, and as with Cusco, I turned a fully healthy and happy kid back into the herd within about a months of care and supplements, the bowed neck back to its normal shape.
We raised Angora X Boer crosses for two purposes: mohair and packing. Packing and hiking was a daily ritual for my family at the time, and we needed goats strong enough to haul packs laden with fencing tools and lunch all over the pasture. These crosses were perfect for that, and took to the task with ease after getting used to the weight and shifting of the pack contents. Their intelligence and sure-footedness made them agile hikers over hills, sand, and rocks, and spending hours each day, every day with them integrated us humans into the herd. The goats were also highly alert of their surroundings, and would “circle the wagons” around the humans when they sensed predators nearby. As far as their mohair, I found the crosses to have much coarser mohair than pure Angoras. My mother said it wasn’t good quality to make clothing, but it was good for making straps and bands on the inkle loom for packs, and good as stuffing for dog beds.
Although loyal and sweet, these goats were also crafty, and found new ways of getting out of, around, over, or through fences we put up. The most effective fence was made of pig paneling, but I often worried the smaller squares would catch and break a leg. Barbed wire didn't deter them, and electric fence is only effective when it has at least four strands, and believe me, the goats will check. Think of them like the raptors from Jurassic Park: they will look for a weakness in their enclosure, and when they find it they’ll take the entire herd through. They are also stubborn (what goat isn’t?) and dominance is a big issue that needs to be addressed. It may be cute to watch them rear up on their hind legs and head butt you when they are small kids, but it’s not adorable when they’re big enough to knock you in the dirt. You need to be assertive and in charge so they see you as a leader of the herd and not on equal footing with them, or they’ll challenge your place in the hierarchy.
These crosses were generally healthy, barring the complications with the pregnancies, but I did have to patch up several wounds when they were scraped by sharp tin or mesquite thorns. They were also fond of scaling vertical hills and then jumping from the top, so arthritis in their knees was a concern when they grew older. Though I loved these goats dearly, I wouldn’t get this particular cross again. Shearing them is a pain and I’m not interested in utilizing the mohair. However, for the dual purpose of mohair and packing, these goats are an excellent choice.