Show Boer Goat: Tips on what to look for during selection

There are several criteria you should consider when selecting a show goat: learn what characteristics judges look at to evaluate your Boer goat.

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One of the tools used in the selection of show Boer goats is visual appraisal. Which refers to the physical observation and making a meaningful decision as a result of having the requisite knowledge and skills to select the most correct animals in accordance with the race standards (Malan, 2011). The name Boer goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) derives from the Dutch word "boer" meaning farmer and was used to distinguish the native goats from the Angora goats. Boer goats were developed in the 1950s by the interbreeding of ecotypes for optimal meat production by M. T. B. Jordann in Somerset East district of the Eastern Cape, South African (Campbell, 2003).

Boer goats are purely indigenous to Africa.

At this present day Boer goat appeared in the early 1900's when ranchers in the Eastern Cape Province started selecting for a goat that can be farmed for meat purpose. The improved South African Boer goat is the most prevalent breed of all goats across the world because of their high fertility, fecundity and capacity to breed in harsh conditions with minimal supplementation feeding (Webb and Pophiwa, 2017). Boer goats are horned breed with lop ears, with a colour pattern of white and brown/red. The mature Boer Goat bucks weighs between 110-135 kg and does between 90 and 100 kg.

Characteristics to look at when selecting a goat (Boer) for show

The does

  1. The does must be judged starting from the head; which should be feminine. Feminine Does indicate that they will be able to produce top-performing bucks.
  2. The front quarters should be strong and straight with the hooves not bent inside or outside.
  3. The back of the does should be long, straight and fury.
  4. The tail should come out straight from the dock.
  5. The udder should be well attached with only two teats and separated.
  6. Whereas the rear legs should be strong.

The buck

  1. The Buck must be judged starting from the head; which should be large and strong with a nose that is slightly curved.
  2. The horns should be round, solid, dark in colour and curved backwards; without injuring the goat when it lifts up its head or when leaning backwards.
  3. The eyes should be soft and brown in colour.
  4. The ears should be broad, smooth and of medium size hanging downwards from the head.
  5. The permanent teeth should be strong and in their correct anatomical position.
  6. The neck should have skin folds, which is more desirable in bucks than in does.
  7. The front legs should be of medium length and in proportion to the depth of the body.
  8. The front and hind legs should be strong and straight, with well-formed hooves that are dark in colour.
  9. The rump should be broad, long and should not be sloping too much.
  10. The scrotal circumference should not be less than 25 cm and if there is a split present it should not be more than 5 cm.
  11. The tail must be straight, growing out of the dock and swing to either side of the buck.
  12. The skin under the tail should have a pigmentation of 75%.
The Daily management remains the key activity to have success. It involves a number of important tasks. Your goat depends on you for proper care. Make it a priority in your schedule to provide the daily nutrition and care needed to produce a champion.

Anonymous (1996). Breeds of Livestock. Malan S. (2011). S. A study of the SA Boer goats. Michelle Kruger. South Africa. Campbell Q. P. (2003). The origin and description of southern Africa’s indigenous goats. Journal of Animal Science 4, 18-22. Webb E. C., Pophiwa P., (2017). Goat meat production in resources-constrained environments and methods to improve quality and yield. 195-206. Unpublished. Discover the Suite of Apps for Livestock Management The most complete set of tools to improve productivity

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