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Boer Goat Facts
There are several breeds and strains of goats which have been genetically selected for meat production. These include the Spanish Meat Goat, Tennessee Meat Goat, New Zealand Kiko Goat, and South African Boer Goat.
Spanish goats are descendants of goats brought to the United States by early settlers. In an effort to increase their relatively small size ranchers sometimes crossed does with Nubian bucks.
Tennessee Meat Goats are descended from Fainting goats. Selection of animals with the largest frames and heaviest muscles for breeding purposes gradually led to a strain of goat that was larger and heavier.
New Zealand Kiko Goats derived in New Zealand from Saanen and Nubian bucks being bred to feral does with good meat conformation. The resulting offspring which grew best under rugged conditions became the foundation for Kiko goat stock.
As its name implies, the South African Boer goat was developed in South Africa as a breed meant solely for meat production. The term "Boer" refers to descendants of Dutch immigrants. Most of them were farmers, thus, "Boer" goat means "farmerís" goat.
With intense selective breeding during the past 50+ years in South Africa, the Boer goat is considered far superior to any other goat for meat production. Known for its rapid weight gain and heavy muscling, the Boer goat has come to dominate the goat meat industry. It is currently the fastest growing livestock industry and is now referred to as "the Angus of the meat goat industry."
Currently, the prime meat market weight is 70 to 100 pounds. Depending on each animal's genetics and individual herd management practices, the prime market weight is achieved sometime between 4 to 10 months of age. Ideally, producers should strive for quality stock which can reach this weight range quickly.
A Boer buck reaches a mature weight between 260 - 380 pounds while mature does reach between 210 - 265 pounds. They are a content, easily managed animal that adapts well to various climactic conditions. A 200% kid crop is achievable and the standard rule is that ten head of goats can be raised in place of one cow.
The ideal Boer goat is a rapidly growing, robust goat. It is a well proportioned goat with well balanced muscling that blends throughout its neck, forequarters, and hindquarters. They have pendulous ears and a Roman nose, loose, supple skin, with pigmentation of at least 75% on hairless areas to help guard against sunburn. Traditionally their coloration was a white body with a red head with the color extending back no further than the shoulder blade. The red color could vary from shades of light brown to dark red with a white facial blaze. Solid colors and paints are becoming common and acceptable.
Goat meat (also referred to as chevon) has a fat content 50-65% lower than beef, while having a similar protein content. Comparing fat content with lamb, goat meat has 42-59% less, and the same to 25% lower fat than veil. The percentage of saturated fat in goat meat is 40% less than skinless chicken. When compared to beef, pork, and lamb, goat meat has 850, 1100, and 900% less saturated fat respectively.
Studies indicate that goat meat supplies a high quality protein source along with a healthy fat (increased unsaturated fats/saturated fats ratio) with minimal cholesterol intake. Goat meat, chevon, has higher values of iron, potassium, and thiamine associated with a low sodium level, and all essential amino acids are present. In our modern health conscious society chevon should be looked at as naturally occurring health meat.
On average, Boer goats produce 4.4 pounds of milk per day compared to 6-12 pounds with dairy goats. Boer goat milk is higher in protein and fat, averaging 4.3% protein and 7.6% fat. While dairy goat protein averages 3.5% and its fat average is 3%.
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