About Boer Goats

The South African Boer Goat was originally developed and bred by means of selection and sound breeding practices, from indigenous goats in South Africa. The word “Boer” in Dutch means “farm”, therefore the Boer goat was originally a “farm goat”.

In South Africa, from 1918, breeders and farmers purposely selected certain goats for useful traits, such as short hair. The breed has been strictly selected for qualities such as good meat conformation since 1930. In July 1959, the Boer Goat Breeders’ Association was formed, in the East Cape of South Africa. Since that time, the Boer goat has been developed into an ennobled goat with the best meat conformation of all goats in the world.

The ennobled and improved Boer goat has become a highly sought after breeding animal, and has been exported (usually via frozen embryos), from South Africa to many parts of the world. It was in the early 1990s, that the first Boer goats arrived in quarantine in Australia.

Some characteristics that the early South African farmers selected for include:

Good conformation
High fertility
Multiple births
Good mothering ability
Early growth rate
Early maturity
Resistance to diseases
Coloured head and white body (to withstand hot conditions)
Fully pigmented skin

The original Boer goats were specifically selected to be white goats with red heads. Subsequently, some totally red types have evolved. According to the South African Boer Goat News (2006), “…..the only difference between Kalahari Reds and other goat breeds, is colour. The breeding policy of the Kalahari Red (in South Africa) is simply that stud farmers will select for those characteristics that will generate a higher income for commercial farmers.”

The red types of Boer goats that have evolved from full blood standard Boers in Australia are labelled “Red Boer” goats. When Red Boer goats are mated to Kalahari Red goats, the progeny are identified as “Red Boer” goats. All of these red goats are considered “full blood”, i.e. 100% Boer bloodlines, and are accordingly registered by the Boer Goat Breeders Association of Australia (BGBAA).