Boer Goats: The "Gentle Giants" of The Farm World

Posted by Tori Holmes
Boer Goat

They may be large and in charge, but Boer goats are also quite friendly!

Cute, friendly, and known for being "gentle giants," it's no wonder that the Boer goat has become so popular. However, while this breed was once used for meat production, you're more and more likely to see them raised as a companion and family animal today instead.

There are plenty of advantages to this breed. These goats are hardy and affordable. They're often great with kids. And, they make great mothers. Are you thinking of adding them to your farm? Then read on to learn more about this breed.

Boer Goat Breed History

The Boer goat originated in South Africa, bred by Dutch farmers in the early 1900s. They were likely bred from the South African goats that were kept by the indigenous tribes. In 1953 the South African Boer Goat Breeders Association was created.  The Dutch influence stayed with the goat as they moved out of South Africa, as the name 'boer' actually comes from the Dutch word for farmer. They were brought to the United States in 1993, and since then, have become one of the most popular goats for meat production. These goats can be found in Australia and New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Their selective breeding over the last century has led to fast growth rates and excellent meat qualities, make them a popular choice for farmers. In addition, they have high disease resistance and adapt well to nearly every environment.

The Goat's Modern Life

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The Boer breed has white bodies and distinctive redheads, though they can sometimes have brown heads. They also have long pendulous ears and are known for having high fertility rates!

When it comes to cross-breeding meat goat breeds, common crosses are Boer x Spanish goat, Boer x Angora goat, Boer x Kiko goat, Boer x Nubian goat, Boer x Sirohi, Boer x Osmanabadi, and Boer x Jamnapari goat. According to Britannica, they do not lose their distinctive features even when they are crossbred with other goat types. If you are buying them for breeding purposes, they are known for kidding multiple times a year.

Boer bucks can get as large as 350 pounds, while Boer does can weigh up to 250 pounds. If you have your goat farm for meat, these goats can gain .4 pounds in feedlot conditions. Since these domestic goats were originally bred in South Africa, they do well in dry semi-deserts. They do particularly well in Texas.

Boer Goat Uses

While the primary purpose of these goats is meat production, a growing number of people are keeping them as companion pets or show goats. Known as "gentle giants" due to their large size and laid-back personalities, these docile goats are great with both children and other animals.

Other Fun Facts

How about some fun facts about the Boer goat? Small Farmers Journal tells us:

  • This goat breed is hardy and disease resistant (this cannot be emphasized enough!)
  • They make wonderful mothers
  • They're very intelligent and reliable.
  • They are a top meat producer.

If you're looking to purchase one, the American Boer Goat Association has a list of registered breeders on its website. Price will vary depending on the breeder, but a purebred generally range between $150 and $400.

Woud you get a gentle giant? Let us know on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page. 

READ MORE: Nigerian Dwarf Goats Make Wonderful Pets (Plus Lots Of Goat Milk!)

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Boer Goats: The "Gentle Giants" of The Farm World