Before looking at our concerns with some of the focus the Boer Associations in US
have, I need to summarize the weaknesses the Tennessee State University research
Fewer Boer does were successfully bred compared to other meat goat breeds
Boer does had fewer kids per birthing compared to other meat goat breeds
Fewer Boer kids survived from birth to weaning age compared to other meat goat breeds
Boer does had a smaller percentage of litter weaning weight vs doe weight compared
to other meat goat breeds
Boer goats had more worm problems compared to other meat goat breeds
Boer goats had more problems with lameness compared to other meat goat breeds
Boer goat carcasses had more fat compared to other meat goat breeds
Heavier does did not do as well as lighter weight does in reproduction measurements
Approach to Summarizing Boer Associations Focus
I have had issues with many of the characteristic features I have come across in
our 13 years of the being in the Boer industry. Because of my past life in business,
I have strong beliefs in requiring financial justification for the major characteristics/features
of any produce and that especially goes for meat goats. One easy way to really understand
what characteristics/features are important to Boer associations is to read and listen
watching for common themes of characteristics/features that they use as marketing
or bragging rights. Once you have those buzz words categorized, you will start to
see a common theme and that is "Looks and Beauty". That directly related to goat
shows and awards/titles given to breeders.
The places I listen to or read for buzz words are:
Judges comments at shows
Commentator at production sale
Catalog comments on individual animals in production sale
Advertisements on individual animals or herd/genetics
Comments on web sites describing one or more animals
Just to make a major point as an example, here is something I heard yesterday at
a major production sale.
"Look at this doe's pedigree and you can see BEAUTY was bred into her"
Below are some buzz words I found on the internet and in production catalogs in just
Head and Horns
Feminine with a great head
has beautiful horns
The wide set eyes, strong nostrils and powerful under jaw ensure that the animal
will be wide in the shoulders and wide in the loin and possess a powerful presence.
The width between the eyes is directly proportional to the width in the shoulders
and the width in the loin.
A strong head with a Roman nose which makes a continuous curve from the lips and
extending to the nose, forehead and horns
She has a very Boer head, beautiful horns, color, size
This doe is also very feminine with a nice long body with correct legs and lovely
deeper and longer bodies on shorter, thicker legs, thicker more tightly curled horns,
big beautiful heads, and lots and lots of wrinkles
This young doe is pretty headed with a long neck
carries her head high and regal
in the elegance and perfection of his South African ennobled head
the front end is powerful with a great head and horn
Strong head and breed character
Does used to breed show quality goats are normally very large, as show goats are
expected to be of large stature. For commercial meat production medium size does
are normally preferred as they produce the same number of kids, but require less
feed to do so.
Boer goats are large framed animals resembling, in many ways, the Nubian goat. The
most striking difference between a Boer goat and any other type of goat you may have
seen, is the size
To breed more size
bred for size
Look at the large amount of meat this doe is carrying
is a very tall, and long bodied, with a long neck
His kids are very correct and tall, with a long neck
Just look at that long neck and he is square and wide
This young doe is pretty head with long neck
She has a long body, long neck, and square front
extreme made with a bold head, long neck and elegance
got a long neck that rises high off his shoulders
long legs, long backs with a well shaped long neck.
maternal potential for extreme fertility and production
very long-wide ears that makes excellent does
very elegant doe
This doe is also very feminine with a nice long body
Most elegant doe you will ever see
The leg bones and general bone structure of a Boer goat are bigger and thicker than
in other kinds of goats
Large bone diameter
Big deep bodies, meaty back ends, large bone with wide set legs
can't find this kind of bone anywhere else
buck is heavy boned, wide tracking
Mauldin comment "Almost every show we have ever seen or participated in, spent a
large amount of the ring time watching how the animals walk"
feet and legs that track on the corners
walks out very well on his feet and legs.
tracks very well placing that back foot where the front foot just left
called out in particular for tracking tremendously wide and straight
buck is heavy boned, wide tracking
Tracks wider and truer in front/rear
proud fronted buck
one of the most heads up, jerk fronted bucks
best known for his wide, yet smooth, front end.
"Care should be taken not to have too much width in the chest floor as scapula problems
and front-end assembly problems can arise where the shoulders do not tie in correctly
with the body creating a bulldog like appearance. This is sometimes called extruded
scapula. Structural weakness eventually produces an animal that breaks down under
the front end is powerful
More width between the fore/rear legs
Show wether look or producer
produce some outstanding females for show wether production
is a very tall, and long bodied, with a long neck and very clean lines that it takes
to make wethers wether kind in his pedigree
long and TUBULAR BODY
this buck is a show wether producer
this doe would be excellent for producing those long, tubular show wethers.
Breeder Focus on Winning at Shows
Well known breeder's comment - "I want does that only have singles or no more than
twins so the kids will be bigger at birth and able to compete in shows as soon as
Breeders altering the shape of an animal's horns to meet judges approval
Breeders give incorrect date-of-birth so animals can compete against younger animals.
Breeders list incorrect dam or sire on pedigree on quality kids so the listed animal
can get the show points so the listed animal can become Ennobled
Breeders flush highly visible buck and doe to get maximum number of offspring as
quickly as possible for additional animals in show ring for show points and to sell.
Not a Natural Look
Statements on Feed and supplements to enhance an animals look, weight and appearance
"Developed to help provide a FAST finish"
"Provides weight and energy"
"Has more calories and FAT than many other supplements"
"aid in revitalizing muscle tissue at show time, and so importantly, bring the "pop"
back to the muscle that is needed at show time"
"will help on a smooth overall appearance"
"designed to put muscle on the top, hindquarters, and the chest"
"fat supplement designed put a more “Uniform” cover on your animal"
"To Provide a Show Appearance"
The above categories of buzz words certainly does not cover all of the features of
the Boer goats that associations focus on in the show ring. However, we do believe
we can match the categories above with weaknesses found in the Boer breed in the
"meat goat" studies plus the issues we heard about Boers from the owner of a major
meat goat processing plant that processed over 30,000 goats in 2009 with goals of
processing over 50,000 in 2011. Our next article will combine these categories with
the findings from the "meat goat" study and match specific categories to specific