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Boer Goats: Understanding the Origins of the Most Common Meat Goat

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  • 2 min read

I have many different breeds of goats present in the Bales Goats’ herd. They range from purebred Nubian, Boer, LaMancha, Nigerian Dwarf, Kiko, Alpine, Saanen, and everything in between with mixed breed brush goats.

My favorite meat breed of goat is probably the most common one in the United States: The Boer goat.

In our herd, there are currently three Boers. These are Smirky, her daughter Luna, and a wether named Cameron.

The Boer breed doesn’t have much special about their appearance like the LaManchas have their ears. Instead, the cool part about them is their historic background.

Boer goats are known for their production as a meat goat, though none of ours are developed for that purpose. The Boer goat originated in the late 1800s and early 1900s in the Boer region of South Africa. This region was populated primarily by Dutch, German, and French Huguenot farmers who settled the area. 

Following the Boer War in which the British Empire fought the Boer Republics over their influence over the region, some of these farmers came to the United States, bringing their livestock with them. These included the Boer goats who had been developed by breeding South African goats with the introduced European goats for increased durability and meat production. 

As these lines were bred further, the traditional Boer and its dappled counterparts eventually came to be. All of our Boer stock are considered traditional Boers, meaning they have mainly white coats with brown facial markings. 

Today, the breed is known less for its hardiness but for their meat production and carcass yield.