The Goat Herd
The Boer Goat
Originating in South Africa around 1900 the Boer goat was developed for meat production. The name 'Boer' simply means farmer in Afrikaans.
Developed from the herds of goats kept by the African Bushmen (The Namaqua & Fooku) the Boer goat was selectively bred for the speed of growth, disease restistance and excellent carcass size. It is now one of the most widely kept breeds of goat in the world although in relatively small numbers in the U.K.
Normally with a white body and a brown head, Boer goats also sometimes come in an all brown variety known as 'red'. The goats are docile, friendly, great mothers and have high fertility rates. In the UK Boer goats are often crossed with dairy breeds to lengthen the body.
Indigenious to dry rocky places, Boer goats' hooves have a tendency to grow very fast. In the U.K. climate this means that we have to trim the hooves every six weeks to avoid any cases of foot rot.
A mature male Boer goat is known as a buck (not a Billy!) and normally weigh in at around 120Kg (18 stone) whereas a doe (not a Nanny) can top 90kg. The musky scent of a mature male goat is very strong and best avoided. It can linger on clothing and hands for days!
A kid produced in a commercial unit would normally be slaughtered at around 90 days (just after weaning) although different U.K. markets for the meat prefer the carcass at differt ages as strength of flavour comes with age.
The image below shows Macgregors Damon, the grandad to our current kids. The strength, weight and coverage can be seen clearly marking out Damon as an excellent stud buck. Damon is based in Australia and his offspring Beaufort Damien (the father of our kids) was bred using artificial insemination using imported semen from Austrailia. This all costs an awful lot of money!
It is generally regarded that the best Boer goats in the world can be found in Australia, South Africa and the U.S.A. although the U.K. is catching up fast!
Did you know?
- Doe: 15 years
- Buck: 10 years
- Wether (castrated male): 12 years
- Collective Noun: Herd or Trip
- Vocalisation: Bleat
- Male: Buck
- Female: Doe
- Baby: Kid
- Young Male: Buckling
- Young Female: Doeling
- Pregnancy: 5 months