Boer goats, commonly called “gentle giants,” are known for being friendly and cute. They are one of the popular goat breeds primarily used for meat production but are now also being raised in farms and urban settings as a family animal and companion. Aside from being hardy and affordable, Boer goats are also great with kids.
The Boer goat breed was developed in the 1900s in South Africa. It is a popular goat breed for meat production. The Boer goat breed’s name is derived from the Dutch or Afrikaan’s word boer, which means “farmer.” Tracing back the lineage of Boer goats, they were most probably bred from indigenous South African goats tended in the farms of the the Fooku, San and Namaqua tribes, with some possible crossing of European and Indian bloodlines. Boer goats were used primarily for their meat rather than milk production.
Thanks to selective breeding and developments, Boer goats have had a fast growth rate and exhibited excellent carcass qualities, putting its breed in the spot of the most popular breeds of meat goat in the world. Boer goats are also known for their high-resistance to disease and their ability to adapt well in hot, dry, semi-deserts.
The Boer goat was brought to the United States in 1993. In the United States, production of boer goats is centered in west-central Texas, specifically in and around Menard and San Angelo. The original breeding stock in the U.S. came from herds located in New Zealand. It was only later that boer goats were imported directly from Africa.
Boer goats are known to be very distinctive animals with brown heads and white bodies. Some Boer goats can be completely white or brown, leaving large spots of different colors on their bodies. Like Nubian goats, Boer goats have long, pendulous ears. They are well-known for having high fertility rates, being docile and fast-growing.
Boer goat does are noted to have superior mothering skills compared to other goat breeds. Boer goats have the tendency to gain weight at about the same rate as sires, so a buck from a proven fast-growing bloodline can be sold at a high price, since its offspring is also expected to be fast growers.
Goat kids primarily marketed as slaughter goats should reach a marketable weight of 22-36 kg. In the goat meat and slaughtering industry, kids are expected to reach a marketable size at the stage of weaning. The kids of Boer goats with a proven fast-growing sire are expected to weigh around 36kg at 90 days of age. An average-quality buck will be more affordable but breeders can definitely see the long-term effects in terms of profitability.
Boer goats are considered to be the most productive goat breed in the world. Millions of Boer goats are raised across farms in Southern Africa as well as in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand among others.