Boer Goats

Boer goats (also known as Africander, Africaner, South African common goat) are known for their docility, high fertility and fast growth rate.  It is known for its excellent carcass qualities, and is one of the most popular breeds of meat goat in the world.  It is also a popular breed of goat for showing and is probably one of the most common goat breeds in the US today.  Since 1970 this type of goat has been incorporated into the National Mutton Sheep and Goat Performance Testing Scheme, making it the first goat breed involved in meat production performance testing.  

Boer goats can be raised effectively in combination with cattle or sheep, due to their preference for browse and the resulting limited impact on the grass cover. If grazing with sheep, we suggest that you monitor faecal worm counts more often and drench appropriately, to keep internal parasites under control. 

Because of the intense selective breeding over the past 50 years or so, they are considered far superior to any other goat for meat production.


Breeding time will vary.  They can be bred all year round, depending on your region.

They are known to have good mothering capabilities - superior when compared to other types of goats.  The does have sufficient milk to rear a kid that is early maturing. Ovulation rates range from 1-4 eggs/doe with an average of 1.7.  A kidding rate of 200% is common for this breed of goat. Their extended breeding season also makes it possible to kid 3 times every 2 years. 

Some breeders have chosen to breed and promote solid colour animals, but there is little scientific evidence that they have any unique merit in productivity.  

Performance Characteristics

The largest of the goat breeds, Boers are known for rapid weight gain and heavy muscling. Mature does can weigh between 190-230 pounds, and mature bucks can weigh between 200–340 pounds. They have been selected for growth rate and may gain in excess of 0.4 pounds per day under feedlot conditions.

Performance records for this breed indicate exceptional individuals are capable of average daily gains of over 0.44 lb/day (200 g/day) in feedlot.  More standard performance would be 0.3-0.4 lb/day (150-170 g/day). 

This breed of goats has a high resistance to disease and adapts well to hot, dry semi-deserts.  There is some evidence that the breed as a whole may be relatively more susceptible to internal parasites when used in warmer, humid regions of the United States. 

History of the Boer Goat

The Boer goat is an improved indigenous breed with some infusion of European, Angora and Indian goat breeding many years ago.  Several researchers agree that the indigenous populations were probably from the Namaqua Hottentols and from southward migrating Bantu tribes.  The name is derived from the Dutch word "boer" meaning farmer, and was probably used to distinguish the native goats from the Angora goats which were imported into South Africa during the 19th century.  The present day Boer goat appeared in the early 1900's when ranchers in the Eastern Cape Province started selecting for a meat type of goat.  

Appearance and Build

The Boer is a horned breed with large, pendulous ears (like the Nubian) and showing a variety of colour patterns.  It is characterized by a red head and red on at least a portion of the neck, and a white body.  

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