Farming 101Livestock Production

Boer Goat Production 101

by Samantha Salimu

The cost of one Boer buck is US$400 on average, while one Boer doe is around US$350. Export price for goat meat is US$9/10 per kilogram. Local Price ranges from US$4.50 to US$5

You are probably wondering, “Why Boer goats?,” Here is why:

  • Boer goats are hardy animals so they can adapt to many different kind of environments.
  • They are fast growing
  • Boer goats have multiple births, I.e twins and triplets. It a norm not an exception
  • They are tame, gentle animals
  • They are good breeders. Under good conditions, Boer doe can kid 3 times in 2 years.
  • Boer goats produce more muscling in less time compared to other goat breeds.
  • They are good milkers.
  • Female kids can reach puberty at 6 months, and the male kids can be used for breeding at 5-6 months of birth.

Things You Need to Consider To Commence Your Boer Goat Farm

  1. Breeding Stock
  2. These are the bucks (male goats), and does (female goats)
  3. It is wise to purchase your stock from farmers with a good reputation. We advise you ask around and do your own research on the farmers selling Boer goats before you purchase
  4. ALWAYS request to see the records of parents of the breeding stock you are purchasing.
  5. The buck should be masculine, with the head medium in length
  6. The buck must also have a broad muzzle with large open nostrils.
  7. His eyes should be bright
  • Location

Make sure your goat farm is proximal to the following essential facilities:

  • Great source of clean, fresh water. You can set up a water reservoir such as a pond or a well
  • It is always best for the farm to be near villages, this ensures close labour force and sometimes markets
  • A farm connected to the market with a good transport system is highly recommended
  • The location must be pollution free and away from chaos
  • Goats are grazers, so when choosing a location make sure you can make a good pasture out of it
  • Housing and Equipment
  • An average of 2 square meters are recommended per goat. Therefore, if you are planning on starting with say 5 goats, your pen would have to be at least 10 square meters
  • Small spaces makes them anxious, stressed and unhappy. This is not a good recipe for their growth!
  • It is a good idea to build the pens using treated timber/wood that also will be protected against water damage
  • Housing should be built on a higher place
  • Always make sure goat pens are separated according to bucks, does, breeding, kids, weak/ill, teenagers
  • Housing should have dry floors and good ventilation. You can make use of big windows, and where possible install electric fans
  • Prevent moisture gathering in the house, this is a huge factor in causing diseases
  • Make sure the housing has a suitable drainage system
  • It should protect the goats from sun and rain. Goats are scared of the rain!
  • Wood or clay bricks or concrete blocks can be used to construct goat pens
  • Fencing
  • Fencing helps keep your farm safe from both thieves and dangerous animals like dogs, lions, hyenas etc
  • It also helps keep your the farm lands green by keeping off neighbouring cattle, sheep and goats from grazing
  • Feed & Pasture
  • Pasture and browse usually the primary and most economical source of nutrients for meat goats.
  • Goats are browsers, not grazers, although they will eat grass. Thus, an areawith low bushes for a goat farming venture
  • Supplement feed is very necessary for commercial goat production
  • Supplementary Feed
  • Pre-Breeding Season
  • About 4 weeks before breeding season you should flush feed does and bucks, use around 400g/day concentrate feed for an adult, non-pregnant goat. A mix of 2-3 different types of concentrate will ensure a balance of energy and protein.
  • Add a spoon of salt and mineral-and-vitamin mix to ensure vitamin and mineral requirements are met.
  • Throughout the active months, the buck would a protein mix with 14-16% of the meal of good quality hay. An effective program initiates the supplement meal between 2-6 weeks before breeding season
  • Breeding Season
  • Quality meals essential to maintain body weight of the Boer buck
  • Good meal contains quality hay and concentrate of 14-16% protein with added minerals and vitamins
  • Grain mixture must contain vitamin A and D
  • Loose mineral salt must be added to add libitum, plus plenty of water
  • A buck can serve a doe up to 20 times a day within the mating season
  • Breed does when they are about 65% of the average weight of Boer does.
  • Breeding does when they are lighter than 40kg stunts their growth and poses birth complications such as dystocia (kids getting stuck during birth)
  • Post-Breeding Season
  • Feeding is reduced. Quality hay is sufficient without additional supplements here
  • Wean male kids at 3 months, and female kids at 3-4 months to ensure doe regains condition in preparation for next cycle
  • Colostrum
  • The initial 3 days of the new born are the most critical
  • If the kid separated from the mother, it is important to provide colostrum from the doe or another nursing doe
  • 2 to 3 pints of colostrum in 2 or 3 daily feedings should be conducted
  • Kid Starter
  • Nursing should be as long as possible until weaning
  • Milk replacer follows a strict feeding formula for 8-12 weks
  • Kid is taken off milk replacer when solid feed intake reaches around 300g of grain mix daily. This feed contains 16% protein and 11% fiber of full meal composition.
  • Grower Mix for Yearlings
  • It starts with kid starter intake plus plenty of good quality forage and pasture
  • Grain mix with macro and micro level contain minerals. Non-protein nitrogen and feed silage will not be good enough for their bodies at this stage
  • At 6 months and into the age of breeding, yearlings requires grain mix containing 14% protein, Vitamins A, D and E, minerals and trace minerals
  • Pregnant Does
  • Does should maintain a good amount of body flesh but not fat, throughout the pregnancy
  • Alfalfa forage not advisable for pregnant does because of the high calcium and phosphorous ration
  • Gestation period usually lasts 148-152 days.
  • Nursing Does
  • Provide quality legume or grass hay, along with grain mix of vitamins, minerals and 16% protein
  • Garden products and intake of root crops is also recommended

What NOT to feed Your Goats

  • Paper
  • Dog and Cat feed. Do not leave these in places where goats can reach them.

Other Feed Points to Note

  • Make sure colostrum is ready for kids at birth, without delay
  • To ensure optimum feed for all goats, take note of the feeding routine of each and every one of your goats.
  • Always check weights of all the pigs, take note of whether each goat is either too thin or too fat
  • An adult Boer buck weighs about 100-115kg, and the doe is usually about 90-100kg
  • Make sure feeding troughs are always clean and moisture-free

Getting started is usually half the battle. Follow us at www.vaMudhumeni.org to learn more about topics like this, we also teach you how to keep going once you get started.

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