There has been an internal parasite storm hit many areas of the country this spring
following the unusual month after month of rain. It is leaving a path of dead animals
and has devastated many herds. Kids that looked like potential Grand Champions this
winter, did not look good enough to sell for slaughter by the end of spring if they
were still alive. We have been hearing from breeders near and far that they are having
the same problem.
In the 10 years we have been raising Boers, we have never seen anything like this.
It makes it even more difficult to understand because we have just completed our
move from Central Texas to North Texas. In Central Texas, we have had heavy rains
before but we did not have real pastures for our animals to graze on. We mainly
supplemented them with grain and hay. With no grazing potential, we had little problems
with worms. Now at our new farm, we have lots of different pastures and tons of grazing
but are afraid to let them graze because of so much rain. And that may not be the
real problem after all. We may have had the same problem back at our old farm and
just don't know it.
This is one reason we have started writing the articles about the Boers being "High
Maintenance". Now some breeders in wet climates may be saying "welcome to what we
live with year round". That is the bigger problem. We attended a Parasite seminar
by a Texas A&M professor and he indicated that breeders in wet climates like the
coast may have to reconsider raising Boer goats. He said many of them are having
to use 2-3 different wormers together every 3 weeks and they are losing ground. He
also said there are no new wormers coming.
The message is breeders are going to have to learn to manage then better because
you will not be able to doctor your way out of this problem. Breeders in desert climate
areas like South Africa and West Texas may have little problems. Breeders in heavy
wet climates may not be able to raise Boers at all. Then there are the breeders in
between, like us. Much of the time we are in a drought however occasionally we will
get a heavy rainy season.
What has totally caught our attention during this parasite storm is when we look
beyond all of the sick and dead animals, there are others that don't seem to show
any sign of problems and are doing great and have beautiful shiny coats. Another
surprise is finding breeders with just scrub goats that are not having any problems.
How can some animals be doing great while others around them are dying and looking
There is a strong message blowing in the wind today and it is a message that needs
to be heard by all. It is time for U.S. breeders to quit worrying about how many
"Ennoblements" are in their animals pedigree and start worrying about which bloodlines
are more hardy and parasite resistant. Boer goats are a part of the meat goat industry
and they have to be able to survive as well as the scrub goats do now. If the Boer
goat breeders continue down the path of a "show focus" and disregarding the hardiness
of the Boers, they will be putting a dagger in the heart of the industry. Way too
much focus has been spent on how straight an animal walks, how feminine of a neckline
a doe has, or how pretty of a head they have.
Our "High Maintenance" series of articles will describe what we believe we need
to do, why we believe it is the right thing for us to do and then describe the actions
we are taking to completely change our focus away from where many of the well known
breeders in the industry and the Boer associations have led the industry into a "marketing
world" that completely abandoned the South African breeders focus on a hardy, highly
fertile breed that could make a major different in the meat goat industry.