OUR BOER GOAT OPERATION
We raise Full blood Boer and Boer percentages on 550 acres in Mills County
Texas. The terrain is varied, ranging from lush, rich pecan bottom
lands to steep rocky cliffs and hills. Currently we have a breeding
group of close to 200 Boer and percentage Boer does.
The most economical feed available is what grows in the pasture.
Our vegetation is as varied as the terrain and includes a smorgasbord of
native and improved grasses, cedar, mesquite, pecan, oak and persimmon
trees and a seemingly endless amount and variety of brush and vines.
We try to maximize the amount of native forage production by rotating our
goats through cross-fenced pastures, allowing each pasture several months
per year to "rest". Our goats stay pretty well exercised as they
travel up and down the hills looking for whatever is the most
favored browse for the day. We put out Sweet-Lix Meat Maker
minerals year 'round. We like this mineral a lot not only because it is
specially formulated for goats that live primarily on pasture with minimal
feed supplements but also because it has an appropriate amount of copper
for goats in it. There is no such thing as a "sheep and goat" mineral.
If a mineral mix has an optimum amount of copper for goats, it will be
toxic to sheep. Therefore "sheep and goat" minerals tend to have way too
little copper for goats.
During the last couple of months of pregnancy we start putting out protein
block for the expectant mothers. We currently use Purina 37% protein
range blocks. 37% is a very high level protein but there is a salt
limiter in it which means the does will only eat a little bit of it each
Due to the excessive numbers of predators in our area we find it necessary
to "pen-kid". We put our heavily pregnant does (we try to wait until at
least 4 ½ months along) in a large pen with a 3-sided shed. We put out
round bales of either oat/wheat hay or sudan and supplement with daily
feedings of a 16% coccidia- medicated protein supplement at a rate of ½
to 1½ pounds per head per day. We try to get the kids and mothers out of
"maternity ward" as soon as possible. If conditions are good and we have
excess forage behind our high fence (where we raise fallow deer) we
transfer the family groups to oat or ryegrass pastures as soon as we are
sure the kids are nursing well and that the mother is taking care of them
- some times as early as 2 or 3 days after birth. This helps reduce
crowded conditions and stress in the "maternity ward".
Occasionally we experience a prolonged period of inclement weather and
provide a good quality hay and protein blocks during those times
especially if temperatures drop into the teens or below for more than a
day or two.
Our philosophy is that the simpler our handling facility is, the
better. Our handling
facility is a work in progress. So far it consists of a catch pen divided into 3 smaller
pens. A larger pen is
in the works and will cover approximately 1 acre. We have
barns. The smaller one is 10 X 20 feet and is used mainly to house a
hay manger and provide shelter for any sick or injured animals. The larger barn is
25 X 60 feet, and sits in what will be the larger pen. This pen will be used mainly for
kidding. Our goats spend the vast
majority of their lives in the brush.
All goats are vaccinated regularly with CD&T (Clostridium Perfringens
Types C & D - Tetanus Toxoid) and with an autogenous CL (Caseous
Lymphadenitis) vaccine we have specially prepared for our herd. We
vaccinate all does approximately 4 weeks before kidding. This provides
protection for the newborns through their mother's milk. Kids receive
their first vaccination at approximately 2 months of age, followed by a
booster 3 to 4 weeks later. We try to revaccinate the kids again at about
6 months of age. Everyone is revaccinated at least once every year
Buck kids are castrated before they reach 20 to 25
which will be usually between 2 and 4 weeks of age. We use one of two
methods: banding or surgery. We generally prefer the surgical
as it is our experience that the kids seem to recover quicker with fewer side effects, but it requires 2 people (one to hold the kid,
and one to operate) and we are not always available at the same time. All buck kids receive a tetanus antitoxin shot before either method is
We check fecal samples regularly and treat for
and coccidia according to
sample results. We pay particular attention
during bouts of wet weather and any
other time the herd may be unusually
We inspect hooves a couple of times a year, but trim an average
of once a year. We are lucky in that there are rocky areas through out
our property and this seems to keep hooves worn down.
We consider culling to be an integral part of our herd health management.
We select does that require minimum intervention on our part to remain
healthy. We cull any does that don't thrive on pasture alone as well as
any that exhibit signs of chronic problems such as CL despite
vaccinations, mastitis, and lack of resistance to parasite loading. Any
does with chronic foot problems or joint problems are culled as well as
any that show poor mothering skills or don't have kids every year.
Kidding is by far my favorite time of the year. It is immensely
satisfying to see a couple of well fed, healthy twins exploring the world
for the first time under the watchful eye of Mama. We cull heavily for
kidding and mothering ability - we expect our does to kid every year, to
twin, to require little to no assistance kidding as well as to show strong
maternal instincts. We have two kidding seasons each year. The first
generally begins mid-Feb. and is mostly over before the heat of the summer
sets in towards the end of April although we seem to always have a few
exceptions. The next season is generally in October, after the brutal
heat of the summer has abated but before winter hits.
We live on the banks of the Colorado River and therefore have a lot of
predators on our place including coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, wild
(feral) hogs, and black headed buzzards. We have 3 Anatolian Shepards
that live with the goats on the river. They are awesome protectors, but
unfortunately can't be every where all the time. We have 2 donkeys
(jennies) that live with the goats at the other property and apparently do
a pretty good job of keeping dogs and coyotes at bay. Most importantly,
we "pen kid" and try not to let kids loose on the river acreage until they
are at least 30 to 40 pounds.