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Boer Goat rearing for profit. How to get organic certification?

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 (Dutch) word "boer", meaning farmer. The Boer is an improved indigenous breed with some infusion of European, Angora and Indian goat breeding many years ago. Several researchers agree that the indigenous populations were probably from the Namaqua Hottentots and from southward migrating Bantu tribes. The name probably used to distinguish the native goats from the Angora goats which were imported into South Africa during the 19th century. 

The present day Boer goat appeared almost 100 years ago when ranchers in the Easter Cape Province started selecting for a meat type goat. Boer Goats are a moderately sized heavy goat with good meat producing capabilities. Boer Goats are adaptable animals that provide quality produce and they provide a great return on investment. Performance records for this breed indicate exceptional individuals are capable of average daily gains over 0.44 lb/day (200 g/day) in feedlot. More standard performance would be 0.3-0.4 lbs/day (150-170 g/day). The Boer goat also has an extended breeding season making possible 3 kids every 2 years.

One of the requirements for raising goats that can be organically certified is that goats be on pasture at least one-third of each year entails more than just putting them in just any outdoor or indoor area for the required amount of time. It also requires that they have shade, shelter, exercise space, fresh air and direct sunlight. In order to be certified organic, goats must be raised on pasture that is certified organic. This requires that no pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers or any other restricted materials be used. Recordkeeping is critical to raising goats organically and dairy goat farmers need to set up a recordkeeping system prior to applying for organic certification.

 Rearing Boer Goat

While there are many reasons why a producer may choose to produce sheep and goats organically, the decision should not be taken lightly. Organically-produced lamb and goat is not the same as naturally-raised, free-range, or grass-fed. Pastures must be certified organic and be maintained without the use of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, or other restricted materials. Anything fed (hay, grain, pellets, milk replacer) to ewes, does, lambs, and kids must be certified organic. Organically grown feed cannot contain synthetic hormones, antibiotics, coccidiostats, urea, or other restricted materials. Even bedding, which may be consumed by animals, must be certified organic.

A big tip on how to raise goats is to feed them hay (grasses or legumes) that have been cut at an early stage of their development and allowed to dry in the sun. It should be green in color and be grass grown specifically for feed, such as orchard grass, alfalfa and timothy grass. The quality of the hay is determined by how it is cured in the field. If it rains while the hay is drying, then it loses its nutritional value and could mold. But on the other hand, if the hay gets too dry, the nutrition will be shattered and lost during the baling process. The best hay for goat care is alfalfa or clover hay because it has a high level of protein and calcium.

 Rearing Boer Goat

The most economical way to feed Boer goats and other meat goats is to provide plenty of high quality pasture, feeding purchased feed only during winter and droughts when pastures are short. Proper feeding is important for keeping goats healthy and productive. While the feeding of animals has become commonplace in more recent times, this practice does the hardiness and adaptability of the Boer Goat an injustice. Selective breeding practices have specifically selected for the attributes whereby Boer Goats are able to forage great distances, utilise low quality roughage under extensive conditions, and kid in the veld with minimum inputs.

Goats should be provided unlimited access to fresh, clean, nonstagnant sources of freely accessible water. They appear to be less subject to high temperature stress than other species of domestic livestock. In addition to a lesser need for body water evaporation to maintain comfort in hot climates, goats can conserve body losses of water by decreasing losses in urine and feces. Goats grazing lush pastures may consume much lower quantities of water than those feeding on dry hay. Still, it is imperative to allow free access to water for all goats regardless of age, breed, purpose, stage of life cycle, or environment.

 Raising Meat Goats for Profit

Pacu Jaya

Pacu Jaya

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