The Boer, a goat breed developed in South Africa, is perhaps the most popular breed used for meat production. Its name comes from an Afrikaans word boer, which means farmer. Known for being versatile on different terrains, these goats are commonly used for land maintenance and controlling bush encroachment on grasslands and woodlands. A fast growth-rate and high fertility are the characteristics that set this breed apart in the meat goat industry.
|Also Known As||Afrikaner, Africander, South African common goat|
|Physical Characteristics||Large, stocky body with long, pendulous ears, brown eyes, backward-curving horns, strong, well-placed legs|
|Color||White body, brown neck and head|
|Coat||Coarse topcoat with soft, fluffy undercoat|
|Weight||Bucks: 109-136 kg (240-300 lbs) Does: 91-102 kg (200-225 lbs)|
|Height||An average of 76 cm (30 in)|
|Uses||Meat production, show purposes|
|Diet||Grazing plants and grasses|
|Lactation Period||120 days|
|Climate Tolerance||Tolerates heat better, less likely to be affected by heat stress|
|Country of Origin||South Africa|
|Standard and Qualification Information||American Dairy Goat Association|
History and Development
The Boer goat was produced from the indigenous goats in South Africa kept by the San, Namaqua, and Fooku people, with some possible crossing between European and Indian bloodlines. In the early 20th century, this goat breed was developed by Dutch farmers in South Africa.
Since the goats were developed for meat instead of milk production, they were selectively bred, helping them to gain their nobility and genetic superiority. In 1993, the first Boer goats were imported to the US, with the original breeding stock being brought from New Zealand. The American Boer Goat Association (ABGA) was established in the same year, and since then, interest in breeding these goats has rapidly increased in the US.
Boer goat is one of the most useful and profitable breeds as far as meat production is concerned. It is widely recognized for its fast-growing rate, good carcass quality, and excellent body conformation. Moreover, its availability across the globe, especially in North America, Australia, and the UK, has helped in rapidly increasing its popularity. Boers are also commercially used for producing meat goats and crossed with other breeds, including Kiko, Nubian, Angora, Spanish, Sirohi, and Jamnapari goats.
Boer goats are not usually selected for milk as they are not good producers of milk. The milk production, however, is adequate for raising multiple kids. During the first 8-12 weeks of lactation, their average milk yield is 1.9-2.5 kg per day with 3.4-4.6 percent fat and 3.7-4.7 percent protein.
Boers have an extended breeding season and can give birth to 3 kids every two years, having a 200% kidding rate. They become sexually matured quite early, with bucks reaching puberty at six months and does at 10-12 months.
- In the US, Boers are also commonly raised for show purposes. They should be recognized by either the ABGA, IBGA, CMGA, or USBGA to participate in shows.
- Boer goats grow at an incredible rate of 0.3-0.4 pounds per day in the feedlot.