The South African Boer goat is an improved indigenous breed with some infusion of European, Angora and Indian goat breeding in the 1800’s. some researchers agree that the indigenous populations were most likely from the Namaqua Hottentots and from the southward migrating Bantu tribes. The name Boer, is derived from the Dutch word meaning farmer, and this was probably used to distinguish the native goats from Angora goats which were imported into South Africa during the 19th century. The present day Boer goat appeared in the early 1900’s when South African ranchers in the Easter Cape Province started selective breeding for a meat type goat.
The South African registry was later established in 1959, and since 1970 the Boer goat has been incorporated into the National Mutton Sheep and Goat Performance Testing Scheme making it the first goat breed to be involved in meat production performance testing.
The Boer goat is primarily a meat goat with a few adaptations to the region in which it was developed. The Boer is a horned breed with lop ears and a variety of color patterns. The Boer goat is being used very effectively in South Africa today in combination with cattle due to its browsing ability on pastures and limited impact on the grass cover. This breed of goat produces weaning rates in excess of 160% and the Boer goat doe is a low maintenance animal that has sufficient milk to rear a kid that is early maturing in nature. The mature Boer Goat ram weighs between 110-135 kg (~240-300 lbs) and ewes are between 90 and 100 kg (~200-225 lbs).
Performance records show that exceptional individuals are capable of averaging daily gains over 0.44 lb/day (200 g/day) in feedlot. More standard performance would be 0.3-0.4 lbs/day (150-170 g/day). The ovulation rate for Boer goats ranges between 1 to 4 eggs/doe with an average of 1.7. The kidding rate of 200% is quite common for this breed which makes it a Profitable Option Farmers or Ranchers. Puberty is reached an early 6 months for the males and 10-12 months for the females and the Boer goat also has an extended breeding season making it possible for 3 kids every 2 years making it a Good Breed To Profit From.