The Boer goat is a breed of goat that was developed in South Africa in the early 1900s for meat production. Their name is derived from the Afrikaans word "boer", meaning farmer.
Although Boer goats raised specifically for show purposes may seem to have little in common with pastured commercial goats, the difference is superficial. They are bred to be larger than normal goats, and meet specific visual appearances, but these very characteristics are valuable genes to add to the commercial herd. Boer goats were originally imported into the US and other countries for this very reason. Their value to ranchers lies in the improvement the addition of their unique genes can offer any breed of goats being raised for meat.
Few producers could afford to maintain a herd of essentially useless animals. Show goats are bred to represent the most desirable characteristics of the Boer goat, and their main purpose is to introduce these animals to the public. It is also a method of recognizing the best of the best, although some really superior goats are not show. preference. Bucks and does bred for show can be and often are used for commercial breeding stock. To show, most Boer goats have to be registered with either the CMGA, ABGA, IBGA, or USBGA. Though Boer goats are often bred to be shown they can also make very good pets.
The Boer goat was probably bred from the indigenous goats (they originated from South Africa) of the Namaqua Bushmen and the 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 semi deserts. United States production is centered in west-central Texas, particularly in and around San Angelo and Menard. The original US breeding stock came from herds located in New Zealand. Only later were they imported directly from South Africa.
Boer goats commonly have white bodies and distinctive brown heads. Some Boer goats can be completely brown or white. 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 goats. Mature Boer bucks may average 110–135 kg (240/300 lb) in weight, and mature does, 90–100 kg (200-220 lb).