In Fo­cus

tasty, friendly and hand­some... and boy do they know it!

Country Smallholding - - Inside This -

THE BOER goat was de­vel­oped for meat pro­duc­tion in South Africa in the early 1900s. The Boer was im­ported into the UK in the late 1980s, but un­like other breeds of goat, the Bo­ers prime pur­pose is meat pro­duc­tion rather than milk.

The Boer is a large framed goat. This means that it pro­duces a larger, meatier car­cass and it can reach slaugh­ter weight at around 7-10 months of age, de­pend­ing on the type of sys­tem it is reared on. Car­cass weights can vary from 16-28kg, de­pend­ing on age, the rear­ing sys­tem and in­tended market for the meat.

Bo­ers can thrive on a va­ri­ety of rear­ing sys­tems and cli­mates, mak­ing them a very ver­sa­tile and ad­dic­tive breed. Al­though they are not bred to pro­duce large quan­ti­ties of milk, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t the ideal dual-pur­pose goat for some­one who wants an an­i­mal both for meat and to pro­duce a sen­si­ble amount of milk for their own con­sump­tion.

Boer meat is par­tic­u­larly healthy. It is high in iron, low in choles­terol and is lean — it is also very tasty and ver­sa­tile. Any lamb dish you can think of can eas­ily be trans­lated into a goat dish — from cur­ries, burgers, sausages, grilled meats and Sun­day roasts to sausage rolls, pies and pasties. The va­ri­ety of dishes that can be pro­duced from goat meat are only lim­ited by your imag­i­na­tion.

Bo­ers are dot­ing nat­u­ral moth­ers who will reg­u­larly pro­duce twins, triplets and some­times even quads, twins be­ing the most com­mon num­ber. Un­like other breeds of goat, Bo­ers have four teats, mean­ing that as long as the doe is well fed and looked af­ter she can rear mul­ti­ple kids with great suc­cess; achiev­ing a 200% kid­ding rate in a well man­aged Boer herd is per­fectly pos­si­ble.

Boer bucks are large and im­pres­sive an­i­mals with an im­pos­ing set of sweep­ing horns and skin pleats on their necks. They may be hand­some, but boy do they know it!

Pure Boer bucks have been used with great suc­cess in dairy herds to pro­duce more well fleshed kids that are suit­able for eat­ing and milk pro­duc­tion. Bo­ers also have a calm and gen­tle na­ture, mak­ing them ide­ally suited to small­hold­ers. They adore hu­man com­pany and will nearly al­ways come seek you out to in­ves­ti­gate what you are up to —whether you want them to or not.

Bo­ers can be found in three pri­mary colours: tra­di­tional (the most com­mon), con­sist­ing of white with brown heads; reds — a deep rich ch­est­nut brown all over — and white, known as Sa­van­nah goats in Africa. Whites are not cur­rently recog­nised in the UK as a true colour and so are classed as com­mer­cially marked.

Good qual­ity Boer goats and their meat are in high de­mand. The con­sump­tion of goat meat in the UK is on the rise as more peo­ple be­come aware of its health ben­e­fits and re­alise that good qual­ity kid meat is de­li­cious, ten­der and tasty. Long gone are the days of old chewy dairy goats be­ing the only source of goat meat in the UK. If you want good qual­ity kid meat ask for Boer.

Bo­ers have a calm and gen­tle na­ture, mak­ing them suit­able for small­hold­ers

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