Information about Boer Goats

Known for their good-quality meat and fast growth rate, boer goats have earned popularity in many parts of the world. This AnimalSake article tells you more about this goat breed.
AnimalSake Staff
Did You Know?
Boer goats are usually bred to have shorter lactation than dairy goats. On an average, they are believed to produce about 4.4 pounds of milk per day, while dairy goats produce about 6 to 12 pounds. Also, the milk from Boer goats is higher in protein and fat content when compared to that from dairy goats.

Originating in South Africa, the breed of Boer goats was created in the early 1900s mainly for meat production. The name of these goats comes from the word boer, meaning farmer.
While their exact origin is not clear, it is said that these goats were bred from the goats belonging to the tribes such as the Namaqua Bushmen and Fooku originating in South Africa. Further, before the final formation and identification of the breed, it is believed that these goats were crossbred with those of Indian and European bloodlines.
Description
These goats are characterized by their large white bodies and brown heads. The brown color extending or covering the neck and part of the chest regions may be observed in a few. However, some may be completely brown or white in color.
They may also have a white-colored patch at the top of their heads.
They have long and drooping ears similar to the Nubian breed.
They have long and sturdy legs that help them travel long distances even on rugged mountainous areas quite easily. They usually travel long distances in search of food.
They are quite affectionate and require no milking, shearing, or special care.
They are said to have a number of resemblances with the Nubian goats. However, the major distinguishing factor between the two is their size. Boer goats are much larger with a tendency to produce more muscles in less time. Moreover, Nubian goats are a dairy goat breed unlike the boer breed.
Characteristics
Boer goats are known for their rapid growth, high fertility, and adaptability. They are sturdy animals and can be taken care of and managed easily.
They are also capable of surviving droughts, in the absence of any supplementary feed.
The does in this breed have strong maternal skills when compared to other goats.
A mature buck has a weight of around 110 to 135 kg, while a mature doe is around 90 to 100 kg. The weights of their young ones at birth are around 3 to 4 kg. Also, the male kids are about 0.5 kg heavier than the female kids.
They can be considered for mixed grazing with cattle and sheep as these goats do not dig out the roots under harsh conditions.
These goats are known to benefit pastures by aiding in the control of weeds, thus avoiding weed infestation.
Types
According to the South African Breeders' Association, there are five types of Boer goats, namely, the ordinary Boer goats, the long hair Boer goats, the polled Boer goats, the indigenous Boer goats, and the improved Boer goats.
The goats belonging to each mentioned type may possess a few features or attributes that differentiate it from the other types.
Purpose of Breeding
As a result of their rapid growth rate and the high-quality carcass that they provide, their popularity as meat goats has increased.
It has attained these traits through intensive selective breeding and improvement undertaken since so many years, making it one of the most popular meat goats in the world.
Diet
  Boer goats are herbivorous animals.
Moreover, they are browsers, mainly feeding on shrubs, broadleaf weeds, and brush, instead of grass.
Adaptability
They are known to adapt well not only to hot and dry semi-desert conditions, but also to snow-covered mountainous conditions.
They are highly skillful in harvesting forage and are able to survive under adverse foraging conditions. That is, they have a tendency to graze in heat as well as when snow is blowing across the pastures.
Breeding
They are non-seasonal breeders and are polyestrous (breeding throughout the year). Moreover, they have the ability to give birth to multiples that typically include twins and sometimes triplets and quadruplets as well.
The reproductive life of Boer goats can reach up to 10 years or longer. This is mainly due to their characteristics of hardiness and adaptability.
Male boers attain sexual maturity at 8 weeks.
Female boers attain sexual maturity at 5 months of age. They are pregnant for 5 months and nurse for 3 months, after which they are ready to be bred again.
Health Problems
 hey have a high resistance to diseases. It is believed that this exceptional resistance to diseases may be due to their grazing habit, as a result of which they are less vulnerable to contamination by internal parasites.
Some of the diseases they are resistant to, include bluetongue, poisonings like prussic acid, etc.
On a conclusive note, an ideal boer goat must have the desired traits such as a rapid growth rate, heavy muscling, high fertility, hardiness, and adaptability.