by Jack Mauldin
This page is a list of things that New Boer Goat Breeders should consider as they start to develop their herd. These are only our opinion and should be taken with a grain of salt. Please email us with any of your comments or suggestions.
Don't believe everything you see.
Shortly after developing our web pages we found another breeder's web page that had copied a picture of one of our bucks and was listing it as theirs. They were advertising selling his semen. You need to know the breeders you are dealing with or have someone refer you to a reliable breeder.
Don't believe all of the high prices paid for Boers that are in the press.
Some high prices you hear about in the press may not have been real sells. There have been artificial sells made just to get a breeders name in the press and set a high level for later potential sells. Look at the average prices paid at quality Production Sales and average prices paid at Consignment Sales for a high - low range.
Don't believe that all registered animals are who they say they are.
There are a few breeders that have been known to take percentage boers and register them as coming from fullblood animals. It is important to know who the breeders are that are selling you animals.
A registered Full-blood Boer is not a guarantee of a quality animal that will have quality kids.
A registered Boer only means that the Pedigree has been recorded. The Pedigree can show you the names of sires, dams, etc. You can investigate the quality of their kids. It is still critical that an animal be evaluated on how they look and the type of kids they produce. This is why we try to show pictures of the sire, dam and kids as well as some of the Pedigree.
Should you buy animals from a Consignment Sale?
Some people will tell you that only culls are sold at consignment sales. This may be partially true. Breeders with large ranches generally have their own Production sales and through advertisement and name recognition sell many of their animals by private sale. Breeders associated with ABGA and INTL BGA are expected to guarantee that their bucks and does will breed. Some of these animals that have been returned or did not sell are taken to a consignment sale because what you buy is what you get... no guarantees. However the consignment sale is the main opportunity many of the smaller farms and ranches have for selling their quality animals . They don't have the opportunity or name recognition to sell the way the larger ranches do. It is important to understand the risks of buying at a consignment sale and try to know who is selling the animals. Also does coming through with kids at their side is a safer buy than a doe that is suppose to be bred.
Don't believe that South African animals are the only way to go.
South Africa animals are some of the best that there are but all Boers originated from South Africa at some part of their pedigree. At first people just had to have boers because they were rare in the US. Then as more boers became available, they had to have South African boers because they were in short supply. The last consignment sale we attended, the majority of animals coming through were being advertised as SA. There will be another wave of some special type of boer that is the suppose to be the best to have after the SA boer is in larger supply. You need to evaluate any animals bought by how they look and the kids they produce in addition to their pedigree. Many quality breeders are telling us they are getting great animals from a cross between SA bucks and NZ does. Animals that have a good proper structure and produce quality kids will always be in demand.
Closely check animals for abscesses and scars
Check any animal you are considering to purchase for abysses and scars from abscesses below the ear and around the lower jaw. This could be a sign of CL (see diseases page). You do not want to bring animals that potentially have CL on your farm and spread it to the rest of the herd. Many times when these abscesses show up, a breeder will decide to get rid of it and take it to a sale.
Ask if a doe has been previously flushed.
Some quality does are flushed to get many of her eggs at one time and transplant into lesser quality animals. The potential problem related to does that have been flushed is they may have difficulty breeding in the future. Some breeders that flush does will breed them back naturally after the flush. This ensures that they can breed ok on their own. We do not like to purchase does that have been flushed.....period.
Be aware of when your does will be kidding when you breed them
Consider when is the best time for your does to be kidding according to the type of weather and shelter available for them. Winter may not be the best time for does to be kidding if the winters are harsh and there is little or not shelter for them.
Don't buy Boers from a breeder just because some of their animals are Show Winners
Just because an animal does well in Boer Shows does not mean that they will produce quality kids for you or that they deserve a premium price. There might not have been a lot of competition in the shows where they won. There is also an issue of a breeder selling an animal to a buyer, the buyer paying the breeder to come to their town and judge a Boer Show, select the animal just sold to the buyer as the Grand Champion and then both advertise they had a Grand Champion. This is a conflict of interest for breeders to also judge the animals just sold. Currently there is no protection to keep this from happening. Larger ranches are able to advertise and show there animals more often. Smaller ranches and farms generally bought their animals from the larger ranches but have less opportunity to advertise and show their animals. You may get a quality animal cheaper from a smaller farm.
Check young does for scars of clipped teats
Many new people coming into the boer goat industry hear that you want to have does with only one teat per side. Some breeders will clip additional teats on young does so they look like they are a two-teated doe. This does not change the genes. Sometimes you can see a scar area where they have been clipped. We prefer two separated teats per side because triplets and quads can all nurse at the same time and they will grow off better. The important part of the teats is "can young kids nurse from them during the first few days?" If not, you can have kid die or not get the critical nutrition needed in the first hours after being born.
Do believe that the Boer Goat Industry is real and they are making an impact on the meat goat market. Best of Luck with your Animals!!!