GaryD

Boer Goats

24 posts in this topic

Hi,

Goats are probably a bit too large for the average backyard but for the micro-farmer on acreage, they are an excellent provider of milk and meat.

Boer goats (originally from South Africa) are bred specifically for meat. One of our clients operates a small Boer goat stud. Anniefish from Warwick also keeps them.

Gary

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A lot better than sheep, too. (IMO, of course.)

Boer goats are ideal for meat, but not for milking: For milking its better to go with Saanen, Toggenburgs, Nubians or Alpines.

Fencing can be a bit of a problem sometimes - (there's a saying among goat owners that any fence that won't hold water won't hold a goat either) - though if our Boer gets out she always heads straight for the back verandah.

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I prefer Nubians as an all purpose goat. If enough land is available, two nubian does and a boer buck (or rented or borrowed boer buck stud) is a great combo.

The half boer half nubian kids make a great meat goat, and you keep your dairy does milking.

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Hi,

For our purposes, using a boer buck over a milking breed doe probably makes the most sense.

We'd like to make our own goat's milk cheese, too.

Gary

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I have problems with the rooster running into me. A goat may be pushing it.:D

But if I had the space they would be great for the backyard. Sheep manure is one of the best for the garden. I expect goat to be similar.

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Get a goat and you can probably throw away your television. Goats are better entertainment. :)

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They'll also test your fences and get into trouble at every opportunity.

The really good thing about goat bucks is that they can do some tricks that will put a look of disgust on your mother-in-law's face that is just priceless.

......and they stink!

Gary

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The amazing hip twist, pee in the mouth, lip curl followed by a grunting leap into the air is interesting for sure.

That strange rancid sweet and sour smell is mostly from his own urine soaked fur. Hard to describe that kind of stink.

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Think I'll kick start this thread.  It's been asleep for a long time. 

 

We tried to run separate herds for a couple years.  My wife had dairy and I had meat goats, mostly Kiko.  IMO, the Kiko are healthier than Boers (and any of the dairy breeds).  The Boer bucks are easier to handle than Kikos.  Not as skittish.   In the end, we just had too many goats for the land.  Our compromise has been perfect for us.

 

My wife has Nubian, Alpine and Nigerian Dwarf goats for her dairy (two of each breed). I kept a Kiko/Nigerian Dwarf cross buck and a Kiko/Boer cross buck.  The offspring make great meat goats.  Since our herd is very young, we have several years before we need to replace. 

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Hi Sam,

 

A milk/meat goat cross is an excellent compromise in my view.  You milk the does (goat cheese) and eat the progeny.......good deal.

 

 

Gary

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I know nothing of keeping goats, but have considered it. How many goats could an acre support .  It's really a acre and a half, but  1/2 acre is pond, so I don't count it.  Boer goats seems to be the breed most common here.    Fainting goats seem to be a breed thats easier to maintain in a fenced in area.

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Hi Ravnis,

 

The carrying capacity of a particular piece of land will depend largely on how much feed it can support….and that's allied to the amount of water that's available.  

 

One of the other limiting considerations is internal parasites.  That's probably less of a problem in Texas than in a high rainfall area.   Generally speaking, most goats will do better in hard country than on really good land.  Dairy goats (many breeds of which are European) are probably the exception.

 

You can grow goat fodder in small fenced spaces…..so that the goats "prune" the shrubs/fodder trees without killing them.  You can use goats to wipe out just about any pest shrub or tree…..but you may not want to drink the milk afterwards……some shrubs and plants will taint the milk and the meat.

 

Goats will test every fence thoroughly…..and electric fencing is a good add-on to a robust conventional fence.

 

Unless you're planning to keep your goats on rocky ground, be prepared to have to trim their hooves are regular intervals.  It's not hard, but it will need doing if the goats are on soft ground.

 

Gary

Edited by GaryD (see edit history)

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It is said that a well managed property will support 5 does plus their kids per acre.  I find that a bit misleading.  That's probably true for small breeds like Nigerian dwarf and pygmy, but they tend to have triplets and quads more than the bigger breeds.  We keep 6 does and 2 bucks on 5 of our 6.5 acres.  They share it with the chickens and donkeys.  We rotate pastures in a reasonably disciplined manner.  I wouldn't want to stock our land much heavier than that.  those 6 does will likely give us a dozen kids as well.  That's why I don't want to stock any more heavily. 

 

Gary makes and excellent point about water.  We are fortunate in that regard.

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Good Info.  Thanks. It's mostly scrub/brush, so if I get some I'll consider a male and female. It sounds like with 2 I'll probably need to supplement even with just 2.

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Take my advice and get two females in kid (or with kids at foot).  Bucks are a waste of resources unless you have a herd large enough to warrant a buck.

 

In your situation, he'd service your single doe and then spend the rest of the time eating and peeing on/in his head (helps them to develop that nice bucky smell for which they are notorious).  Having said that, they are a powerful disincentive for mothers-in-law who wish to visit.

 

Gary

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we recently acquired a Saanen and an Alpine Virgin Milker (never been covered but provides milk daily, not a great deal but enough). looking at crossing the Saanen with Boer and hoping to find an Alpine in the area for the Virgin, once de-petteled hoping she will give birth to more Virgin Milkers!

 

agree completely with Gary- if doing it on a small scale, as we are, there is no point in getting a buck. There is always a willing fella not too far away!

 

My main interest is clearing land , putting on Goats and then pigs before crops. Goats Milk is great for the children and the idea of male kid goat curry has appeal. Eventually if the heard grows the odd cheese would be fantastic!

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Two of our does are Nigerian Dwarf.  They come into heat monthly, when not pregnant.  That means our two Bucks are constantly smelly.  Our beautiful Kiko/Boer buck is only white for a few months a year because those girls keep him peeing on himself constantly.  Same with our Kiko/Nigerian, but he's all black so it's not as noticeable.  Another thing about bucks, is they can be real fence testers.  We had one a couple years back that we absolutely could not keep in.  He eventually went back to his breeder.  Our two guys now, were born at our place and have been trained and handled since birth, so they are good. 

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Howdy Sam,

 

Yes i came to the conclusion if it is not water tight it is not goat tight! also a few hoof dents on visiting car bonnets has tested friendships too the extreme.

 

Our two girls have settled down nicely though, when one is busy working in a field they never venture too far and have figured out that good behavior equals reward. Until they figured where i keep the reward (lucern pellets) keeping them out of the barn has been a challenge.

 

much regards

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Good advice all..   My fencing is T-post with 4"square welding wire. It was already up when I bought the property.   What kind of fencing would hold them in best.   Gary mentioned electric fence, but power goes off for an hour or two out here at least a few times a month.    

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The big secret with running sheep efficiently is to look after their teeth. I assume that goats would be no different.

 

Soft wet lush grass and legumes for extended periods will rot their gums and not keep the teeth short and sharp. The lack of minerals because they are feeding on a narrow range of very shallow rooted plants makes it worse.

 

I used to check them at the start of spring, run them into the race and open their mouth and see if any teeth will wobble back and forwards with your thumb, if they do then they need some roughage fast. If they have chunks of smelly green slop between their teeth and gums that is not a good sign.

A full mouth animal (8 teeth 4-5years) with potential problems will have progressively longer and skinny-er teeth towards the centre of the jaw because they are not ground down from feeding. Saving a nasty weedy rough bush area for the critical time of the year when the feed is at its softest will at least double the production and working life of an animal, they will still knock out a good fleece and a healthy lamb at 14 to 18 year old.

A 4yo pregnant ewe with bad teeth has a high chance of developing calcium deficiency and toximia/ketosis, low calcium means they lose muscle control and struggle to give birth and low blood sugar is a short road to brain damage or death. Both things are extremely hard (if not impossible) to correct once they start down that path

 

Ravnis 99% of the electric fence around here is solar powered, three live wires top middle bottom, two earth wires in between. I have done a retrofit with outriggers top and bottom on hinge joint or cyclone mesh fence, i still earthed the mesh because our soil gets too dry to complete the circuit on its own on long runs.

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Ravnis,

 

Your fencing is probably adequate.     Electric fence batteries are usually kept topped up with a small solar panel.  A couple of strands of electric wire fitted to your existing fence would do the job…….and will keep pigs away from the fence if you decide to a pigs or two with/after your goats.  (Sorry…..noticed upon closer reading that Yahoo has already addressed the electric fence part of your post).

 

Goats eat a little differently to sheep.  They seem to prefer to eat coarse herbage and leaves on shrubs than fresh lush grass. 

 

Anybody who can keep pigs, should do so.  Along with chickens, they top the list of homesteading animals when it comes to versatility.

 

Goat meat is very similar to sheep meat but it carries much less fat.  The meat of young goats is known as chevon.

 

Baby goat (capretto) is food for the gods……but butchering baby goats takes nerves of steel.  I doubt that I'd be up to it, these days.

 

Gary

Edited by GaryD (see edit history)

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Hi Gary,

 

i tried a portable 4 strand electric fence to move the pigs around... they constantly took the hit and ended up owning my life!

 

i have been very successful using thin spider-gum poles as fencing. They are as hard as anything once dry especially if one cuts them during the new moon when the sap is low, once dry i weave them horizontally between some uprights. They only cost time to make and whilst i am clearing the land anyway it makes sense. Must be supported properly though as a hard working pig will push a lot of soil up against any barrier and is also known to enjoy a good back scratch. I noticed a goat is content to graze in a field but the moment you put a fence around it you present a challenge that will be met.

 

Yes i completely agree- pigs are the noblest and hardest working animals we have.

 

i am in fortunate position of having an abattoir on my neighbors farm, whilst i have no problem with chickens, quails, rabbits and fish- pigs and goats are sent away for processing.

 

much regards

luke 

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Gary, et. al., the demand here is for the young goat, except from Muslims.  Most of the people who come to me for goat are Mexicans or Central Americans.  They want the young ones for the barbecue.  Muslims tend to ask for older, intact males.  Our personal taste preference is for young goats no more than 16 weeks old.  The meat really is very good.  As you say, the butchering takes 'nerves of steel'.  Actually, it's only the killing.  Once they are dead, it's no big deal.  My wife actually goes to visit friends on goat processing days.  I don't know how much longer I'll be able to handle it.  My nerves of steel are rusting.  Fortunately, it's only a couple days a year. 

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