Boer goat

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Conservation status
Other names
  • Boerbok
  • Improved Boer
  • Veredelde Boerbok
Country of originSouth Africa
StandardSA Boer Goat Breeders' Association
  • Male:
    average 114 kg[2]
  • Female:
    average 94 kg[2]
  • Male:
    average 78 cm[2]
  • Female:
    average 78 cm[2]
Horn statushorned in both sexes
Commercial Boer goat buck
Boer goat, Doe

The Boer or Boerbok is a South African breed of meat goat.[2] It was selectively bred in the Eastern Cape from about 1920 for meat qualities and for the ability to survive by grazing on the thorn veldt of that region.[4]: 363  It has been exported to many countries, and has been used to improve the meat qualities of other breeds.[5]: 10 [3]


The Boer goat was bred from the indigenous South African goats kept by the Namaqua, San, and Fooku tribes, with some crossing of Indian and European bloodlines being possible. They were selected for meat rather than milk production; due to selective breeding and improvement, the Boer goat has a fast growth rate and excellent carcass qualities, making it one of the most popular breeds of meat goat in the world. Boer goats have a high resistance to disease and adapt well to hot, dry semideserts.


Boer goats commonly have white bodies and distinctive brown heads. Some Boer goats can be completely brown or white or paint, which means large spots of a different color are on their bodies. Like the Nubian goat, they possess long, pendulous ears. They are noted for being docile, fast-growing, and having high fertility rates. Does are reported to have superior mothering skills as compared to other breeds. Boer goats tend to gain weight at about the same rate as their sire, so a buck from a proven fast-growing bloodline will command the highest price, as its offspring tend to also be fast growers. The primary market for slaughter goats is a 22–36 kg (49–79 lb) kid; kids should reach marketable size at weaning age. The kid of a proven fast-growing sire might weigh 36 kg (79 lb) at 90 days, while the kid of a poor-quality sire might weigh only 15 kg (33 lb) at 90 days. An average-quality buck will initially be less expensive to purchase, but it can significantly undermine an operation's long-term profitability.


Boer Goat browses on the leaves of shrubs in Namibia

Due to their versatility on different terrains, Boer goat are frequently used for land maintenance, especially to prevent bush encroachment on rangeland. As typical browsers, the goats are able to suppress re-growth after bush thinning and to browse from plants up to 1.8 meters high, standings on their hind legs.

Boer goats are polyestrous (they can breed throughout the year), and they reach sexual maturity at five months of age. A typical breeding program is to produce three kid crops every two years, meaning the does are pregnant for five months, nurse their kids for three months, and then are rebred. Multiple births are common, and a 200% kid crop is achievable in managed herds. Usually, first-time does have one kid, but they may have more. After that, they usually have two kids every other breeding. The kids can be brown, black, white, or mixed.

Common crosses are Boer x Spanish goat, Boer x Angora goat, Boer x Kiko goat, Boer x Nubian goat, Boer x Sirohi, Boer x Osmanabadi, and Boer x Jamnapari goat. An effort to crossbreed with the Malabari goat has been controversial.[6]

They may also be bred for show.[7]


  1. ^ Barbara Rischkowsky, Dafydd Pilling (editors) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, annex to The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Archived 23 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Breed data sheet: Boer / South Africa (Goat). Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed April 2022.
  3. ^ a b Transboundary breed: Boer. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed April 2022.
  4. ^ Valerie Porter, Lawrence Alderson, Stephen J.G. Hall, D. Phillip Sponenberg (2016). Mason's World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding (sixth edition). Wallingford: CABI. ISBN 9781780647944.
  5. ^ Osman Mahgoub, I.T. Kadim, E.C. Webb (2012). Goat Meat Production and Quality. Wallingford: CABI. ISBN 9781845938499.
  6. ^ "'Malabari' goats under threat of extinction". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 2003-04-05. Retrieved 2018-08-29.
  7. ^ Bowman, Gail, Raising Meat Goats for Profit 0967038103