Why Boer Goats
WHY BOER GOATS?
Goats belong to an order of even-toed animals called Artiodactyla. They are members of the tribe Caprini (caprines) within the family Bovidae. Goats evolved millions of years ago and have been multi-purpose animals for thousands of years, supplying meat, milk, fleece and hides .
Goat meat is the most widely consumed red meat in the world. Boer Goats are predominantly used for meat production, although their milk is also sought after in some areas.
The commercial attributes of the Boer goat include:
- Their size, being a medium sized ruminant, and their adaptability to small acreage farming when managed appropriately.
- Their relatively short gestation period (150 days) and ability to raise twins and triplets in a suitable environment.
- Their capacity to produce meat for the “boutique” or “gourmet” meat market at a young age, as well as producing healthy red meat to the general market.
- Their usefulness in weed control, being primarily a browsing animal. They do well in areas where cattle and sheep may not thrive, and also can be run in hilly and rocky country.
From a non-commercial aspect:
- Boer goats are attractive, intelligent and gregarious by nature. They endear themselves to and provide therapy for humans.
- They are also at times exasperating, recalcitrant and testing.
- However, few people who have spent any time with goats do not develop a certain degree of respect and appreciation.
Whether for commercial or hobby purposes, in-depth research is required before venturing into Boer goats.
In a hobby situation, it is simply a case of running and supporting a small number of goats with a view to enjoying them, perhaps using them for weed control, or exhibiting them in the show ring for pleasure and satisfaction.
In a commercial venture, sustainability and profit are paramount and the first step is to decide whether to breed for the stud or meat markets and to pinpoint and research what markets are available for the product.
In the case of either commercial or hobby farming, it is vital to manage the enterprise according to physical conditions and financial capacity. Land size, environment, fencing, availability of feed, stocking rate, health issues, time and resources available, must all be taken into account if the venture is to be successful.
In all cases it is important to understand the animal itself. Part of the undoubted appeal of breeding goats is their individuality. They are independent and self sufficient but also sensitive to their treatment.
Follwing are a number of definitions of words evolving from “Caprine”, taken from the Oxford English Dictionary.
- Capricorn : 10th sign of the Zodiac, the Goat
- Caprine : relating to or resembling goats
- Caprinus : early latin for caper or capr goats
- Capricious : unpredictable change according to no discernible rules
- Capricciosa : in a free and impulsive style
- Capriole : movement in classical riding where the horse leaps and kicks out with its hind legs.
Goat breeding is not for the faint-hearted but given the right circumstances, Boer goats will be productive and efficient, giving us a prime commodity to either breed with or sell on.