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History of Boer

2 Characteristics of Boer 3-4

• Buck
• doe

3 Advantages and disadvantages of Boer 5


The Boer Goat originated in South Africa in the early 1900's when some
farmers began selecting their goats for meat qualities. Their name is derived
from the Dutch word "Boer" meaning farmer. The Boer goat was probably bred
from the indigenous goats of the Namaqua Bushmen and the Fooku tribes, with
some crossing of Indian and European bloodlines being possible.

They were selected for meat rather than milk production; due to selective
breeding and improvement, the Boer goat has a fast growth rate and excellent
carcass qualities, making it one of the most popular breeds of meat goat in the
world. It is the only goat breed that has been specifically bred for meat and is
recognized as the World's premiere meat goat.

Boer Goat genetics were imported into Australia in the late 1980's and
were released from Quarantine in the mid 90's. Since this time the popularity of
the Boer goat has gone from strength to strength with numbers rapidly

Boer goat bucks are being used to crossbreed with Australian bush does
producing a much faster growing carcase, which reaches slaughter weight in
significantly faster time and has a higher dressing out percentage. The Boer goat
has also performed extremely well in trials and carcase competitions proving it
to be the superior meat goat breed.


Boer goats have a high resistance to disease and adapt well to hot, dry
semi-deserts. Boer goats commonly have white bodies and distinctive brown
heads. Like the Nubian goat, they possess long, pendulous ears. They are noted
for being docile, fast growing, and having high fertility rates. Does are reported
to have superior mothering skills as compared to other goats.

Mature Boer bucks weight between 110-135 kg (240-300 lb), and mature
does between 90-100 kg (200-220 lb).

The most critical part of any meat goat operation is the selection of a herd
sire (breeding buck). A high quality buck can produce high quality offspring even
when mated with an average doe. Boer goats tend to gain weight at about the
same rate as their sire, so a buck from a proven fast growing bloodline will
command the highest price, as its offspring will tend to also be fast growers.

The primary market for slaughter goats is a 15-36 kg (35-80 lb) kid; kids
should reach marketable size at weaning age. The kid of a proven fast-growing
sire might weigh 36 kg (80 lb) at 90 days, while the kid of a poor quality sire
might weigh only 15 kg (35 lb) at 90 days. An average quality buck will initially
be less expensive to purchase; however, they can significantly undermine an
operation's long-term profitability. Other criteria for a breeding Buck include:

• Jaw alignment – most meat goats are raised on pasture. A goat with poor
jaw alignment will be at a significant disadvantage when feeding on
pasture; poor jaw alignment is not acceptable in a commercial herd sire.

• Good feet and legs: needed to move about the pasture. Hoof rot is a
common problem for goats that live in high rain areas if the hooves are
not clipped regularly.

• Two well formed equal-size testes in a single scrotum: -the main purpose
of a buck is to breed does.

For breeding purposes, one buck is normally required for every 25-35
does. Under ideal conditions the ratio can be as high as one buck for every 50
does. Bucks are normally separated from the does except for when breeding is
specifically intended. Often does are bred for six weeks every 8 months,
resulting in three kid crops every two years. Successful bucks must be able to
survive on pasture. Pen-raised bucks will stay near their pen, while the does they
are supposed to breed are out in the pasture.


Does used to breed show quality goats are normally very large, as show
goats are expected to be of large stature. For commercial meat production
medium size does are normally preferred as they produce the same number of
kids, but require less feed to do so.
As a general rule the more kids born per doe, the greater profit margins
for the owner. Boer goats are polyestrous (they can breed throughout the year),
and they reach sexual maturity at 5 months of age. A typical breeding program
is to produce 3 kid crops every 2 years; meaning the does are pregnant for 5
months, nurse their kids for 3 months, and then are rebred. Multiple births are
common and a 200% kid crop is achievable in managed herds. Usually first time
does will have one kid, but it is possible for them to have more. After that, they
will have an average of two kids each time.

Weaning size is largely controlled by how much milk the mother produces,
along with how long she allows each kid to nurse. Does weaning large kids
should be kept, those weaning small to medium kids should be removed from
the herd. The presence of a buck causes does to come into estrus (heat) which
lasts about 24-36 hours. The gestation period for does varies from 149 to 155

Boer does are normally very good mothers, requiring only minimal
attention from the owner; however, this is not always true when a doe delivers
her very first kid. First time moms should be supervised as the mothering instinct
may not manifest itself the first time she delivers. After the first time, Boer does
normally make excellent mothers. If after that a doe does not present herself to
have "mothering instincts" it is best not to keep her.