Bred animal myself
South Carolina, United States
Posted Dec 05, 2012
Beautiful meat goats, Boers hail from Africa. They are white and brown in appearance. Goats are social and you should never have just one as they need a companion. They have nice, dog like temperaments but need to be socialized and handled from a young age. When we got our first Boer goats, they had not been socialized or handled. What a disaster! They were skittish and ran away from us in our attempts to get them back into the barn. They are scared of most everything. If you want to walk them, you will need to go slowly and introduce them to your place in very small bits at a time.
Boer goats are pretty sturdy and healthy. BUT, if a goat suddenly develops diarrhea or their eyes or nose starts running you need to quickly figure out what is wrong. Look at your goats on a daily basis and get to know their appearance well-from their eyes to their nose to their stomach size. If they develop bloat or something unusual starts, it is better that you see it sooner than later. Goats have been known to go downhill and die very quickly.
If you want to show your goats you need to handle them on a daily basis. First, they need to get used to a face harness. Next, they need to get used to being led by it. Goats can easily follow another goat but be sure to change out who is the leader on a regular basis. If you have a goat that is stubborn, you simply need to pull up a bit on their tail and gently push in the correct direction. Sometimes a bit of hay or feed will help as well! In general though, make sure the goat knows who is boss: you. You may need to wrestle them to the ground and sit on them so they understand that! You don't need a 120 pound goat thinking it doesn't need to listen to you!
My children built a stanchion for our goats with their grandpa. They are pretty easy to make and a bit expensive to buy. You need one even if you aren't going to milk your goats. You will need them to stand still so you can trim their hooves, bathe them or shave them for the summer heat. We also bought an old-time large scale so we could weigh them. It was always fun to chart their progress and make sure they were gaining weight at a good rate. You will need to know their weight when you give them their de wormer medicine. Although you can guess at their weight, we liked being a bit more precise when it came to administering their medications.
Boer goats are known for their meat. In fact, goat is the most popularly used meat in the world. They have no fat in their meat. It tastes a bit like hamburger...but with a goaty after taste. To get more meat out of them, we used to put their hay in a feeding trough that was about 3 feet off the ground. They were forced to stand on their hind legs in order to eat. This develops their hind ends beautifully. People often use contraptions that hook up to a four wheeler to walk their goats. This equipment holds the goat's head and front legs in place so they must walk with only their hind legs. If done correctly this is not inhumane.
Although many people drink Boer goat milk, they are not known for their milk like other varieties of goats. Their hair is very short and not likely to be used for fiber arts.
Our goats always did well during birthing, but it's not for the anxious person. You need to be there to assist the mother and babies...even if all goes well they all will need medications and other care. If a goat had more than two babies, sometimes the mother would not favor the third. At times, we have had to assist the mother in taking care of the babies because of the cold. We usually put old towels in our dryer to heat up while the mother was giving birth so that we could help keep the babies warm. In addition, if the mother was a bit overwhelmed we have also taken babies in by the fireplace and given them goat formula to give them a good, solid start. Babies can die quickly and it has happened to us for various reasons. You usually can determine the cause of death and it's usually out of your control. So if your Boer goat is pregnant make sure to read up on the birthing process and then just roll with the punches.
Meat goats can bring in a good price but you need to keep track of how much you spend on hay, feed, minerals and supplies. If you are in this for a money making venture/hobby then it's essential that you keep your expenses low. Many people do this as a side business while holding down a regular job.
When we moved from Washington state to South Carolina we had to sell our goats. This was the hardest part of our move and we were quite sad. Goats are such a pleasant, dog-like animal that even if you keep them for getting the grass down on the back 40, you will enjoy having them. Every morning and evening we got out in the fresh air and took care of them. We always enjoyed their different personalities and antics.