It is important for a breeder to know what type of an animal they want to breed for
and what would be the characteristics that would make up that ideal animal. Forget
about the stupid statement that you always hear breeders and judges make - "The perfect
buck/doe has never been born". It is a stupid statement because the breeders can't
agreeon exactly what would make up the perfect animal or draw a picture of it. What
is perfect for one person, may not be acceptable at all for another breeder. The
Boer Associations all have their own standards documented but they certainly don't
list all of the important characteristics or tell you which ones are more important
A doe with perfect teats but is always the first animal to show signs of being wormy
A buck that can be made to walk perfectly straight if his hooves are worked upon
monthly however if no work is done, the hooves get in terrible shape and significantly
impacts his ability to walk properly.
A doe that has a beautiful long, feminine neck and always does good in the show
ring but always has difficulty kidding and requires assistance.
A doe with functional, but not show quality, teats and rarely shows signs of worms
even when the rest of the herd is looking wormy.
A buck that has a small, natural outward swing to one of his back legs but can go
a year without any hoof work and still have little to no impact on his walking.
A doe that has a shorter neck but never requires any assistance in kidding.
You have to be able to make some tough decisions related to the importance of different
characteristics according to some target/goal you have set for your breeding program.
Here are some characteristics that are very important but are not listed in the standards.
Hardiness - Ability to withstand diseases and parasites better
lack of pregnancy toxemia
resistant to respiratory diseases
Fertility - Ability to produce 2 or more kids per breeding season without problems.
Self Reliant - Requires minimum assistance breeding, kidding or their daily lives.
kidding on their own
raising kids to weaning age
minimum hoof maintenance
Longevity - Has a long, productive life, e.g.. 9+ years
These are not things that will be considered in the show ring because you just can't
see them at a specific time. Nor can you see these characteristics when you attend
a production sale. These characteristics can only be observed over a period of time
and should be documented to gain a history of these characteristics for each of your
We are creating a form to document several of these specific characteristics that
we observe in our animals and then also list all illnesses and problems for each
animal. This helps us each year decide which animals to keep or add to our breeding
herd. The specific characteristics we are observing and their priorities are:
Raising kids to weaning age
Kidding on their own
Hoof quality and maintenance required
According to the importance of the listed characteristics, you need to consider what
you are willing to overlook in order to have that special feature. Some of these
characteristics become even more important if you can see it is being passed on to
the kids. Here is an example of our list for Parasite Resistant
We will accept "functional teats" over clean teats if it is a quality doe.
A small overbite.
Slightly loose shoulders
We will accept an animal that does not have a perfectly straight walk.
When we are evaluating our animals each year, we can't say an animal will not stay
or be added to our breeding herd just because they did not have the first priority.
Finding parasite resistant animals will likely be hard to do. We will be looking
at which animals have multiple of the lower priority characteristics and then animals
that have done better in the lower priority characteristics than other animals in
our herd. Every year, we want our herd improving in one or more of these characteristics.