Breeders must select the time of year during which the most plentiful supply of food is available up to the period after weaning occurs. In other words, the period during which food will be available for 3½ – 4 months in order to breed kids as cheaply as possible.
If possible, it is preferable to plan in such a way that food will still be in plentiful supply for a further 2 – 4 months, since it is best toof market Boer goat kids at the age of 6-8 months. This enables the farmer to withhold only his replacement goats during the period of the year when food is scarcer, especially in those areas where farming is on an extremely extensive basis.
Try to keep mating time as short as possible – ideally, 36 days. In this way, each ewe will have two oestrus cycles with the ram. This also facilitates management and marketing considerably.
Before mating occurs
Make sure ewes are not too fat one month before mating, so that a growing condition can be effected before mating, by means of carrying out the following:
Inject, or dose with, Vitamins A, D and E three weeks before the mating season. This is extremely important, especially during dry periods.
Administer stimulating feed in the form of spare camps, a good lick or a small amount of maize daily.
Put teaser rams in place 2-3 weeks before mating time.
Inoculate ewes against enzootic abortion 1-2 months before the mating season. Have rams tested for fertility.
During Mating Season
One ram per 35 – 40 ewes. It is very important to endeavour to mating the young ewes separately from the mature ewes.
One ram per 50 ewes.
NB With regard to 1 and 2 above, it is very important to keep rams in small shady camps during hot periods with a small amount of growing supplement. Rams should only be let loose among ewes during the evening.
Try to do this in cool weather wherever possible. A ram can cover an ewe every ½ hour.
Insert sponge on day 1. Remove sponge on day 14 and inject ¼ cc PMS on withdrawal during the active period of March – June or ½ cc PMS during July – February (Southern Hemisphere). Inseminate at 48, 60, 72 hours. Guard against synchronising too many ewes at a time.Ewes which are artificially inseminated on the same day usually give birth within a period of 5-7 days relatively to one another.Keep ewes as calm as possible, providing protection against excessive heat; after insemination, stimulate with teaser rams or young rams on the other side of the fence. Keep ewes in approximately the same nutritional conditions as before insemination.
After mating season
Keep ewes in the same growing condition for the first month in order to prevent abortion of the fertilised ovum. Have ewes tested for pregnancy by sonar 40 days after covering, or remove open ewes, with markers, and place with teaser rams; or install clean-up rams 14 days after insemination.
Prior to kidding
Inoculate against scabby mouth one month before kidding season in order to guard against udder infection. Two thirds of the growth of the foetus takes place during the last three weeks of pregnancy.
For this reason, it is very important to make extra nutritional provision during this period, in the form of the same treatment as that administered before mating time. Extra nutrition will make kids stronger and better able to maintain life at birth, especially in the case of multiple births.
This is why the sonar is of inestimable value in determining the presence of triplets or quads, in order to ensure that each of the kids is born strong and with a good capacity to maintain life.
During kidding season
This is the only period during which Boer goat farming requires a great deal of care and attention. This is why it is important to keep the kidding season as brief as possible, so that full attention can be focused on it. It is extremely important to carry out planning properly.
Therefore, it is necessary to plan this aspect thoroughly and consider using one of the following methods, or a combination thereof, in accordance with your particular circumstances.
After the ewe has kidded, her kids are placed in a small pen and the ewe only comes to her kids thrice daily in order for them to drink, whereafter she goes to pasture for the first one to three weeks until the kids are strong enough to be placed in a camp together with the ewe. This system works particularly well in cases of multiple births, or where kids have been adopted by a ewe.
Enclosure of kids in a large pen
In this instance, all the kids remain behind in the pen when the ewes go to pasture. This system is not recommended, since the kids are invariably thirsty when the ewes return, with the result that any kid will tend to drink milk from any ewe. It is surprising to note how often this method is till used in spite of all its inherent disadvantages.
The establishment of small camps with sufficient food, shelter and shade, which are kept aside for the kidding season, is showing signs of becoming the accepted method for the future, especially in cases where farming with large numbers is practised. In terms of this system, 10-20 ewes are placed in a small camp, where they are able to give birth in peace and remain with their kids until the latter are strong enough (2-3 weeks), after which they may be incorporated into larger flocks.
Each ewe which has given birth (along with her kids) receives the same paint serial number. Different colours may be used for single kids, twins and triplets. All that the labourer has to do is to walk amongst the ewes three times per day and place kids correctly with their siblings, and ensure that the ewe allows each kid to drink.
The worker may also sort the ewes into camps according to single or dual births once they have given birth, so that it is easier for the labourer to ascertain whether a ewe should have one or two kids. The birth of triplets tends to present problems, and the following alternative solutions are suggested:
Use system number one for the first three weeks, namely small enclosures.
Since there is no place for three kids to drink simultaneously, triplets usually present the problem that the weakest kid is always pushed to one side. If three kids are left with the ewe, she is able to raise them successfully if she is very well fed or if the third kid can be removed by means of one of the following systems:
Giving the kid to an ewe with a single kid by means of the use for system one, using a small enclosure. What is important is that the ewes with only a single kid should each receive a new kid as soon as possible after having given birth to their own. Ewes usually accept a new kid within one or two weeks.
Raising the third kid by hand with a bottle, or making use of a milch-goat. The latter method works exceptionally well, and a good milch-goat can simultaneously raise four kids exceptionally well if a system of separate enclosure is used.
Diseases Among Suckling Kids
This is the result of drinking too much milk.
The kids begin to bite and scratch. Catch hold of a kid and inspect its flanks; the lice will be clearly visible.
Treatment: Dip or make use of an agent which is poured on. Lice are particularly prevalent under systems 1 and 2.
Dose once a month.
Inoculate kids from one week of age. This opportunity may also be utilised in order to remove supplementary tears and to inoculate kids in appropriate places.
Inoculate male kids at three months.
At one month old.
Male kids : 3-3½ months of age.
Female kids and geldings : 3½ – 4½ months.
Between the ages of six months and two years.
The Boer goat is not very susceptible to this disease, but it is preferable to inoculate.
This disease presents a problem amongst goats and tends to occur under conditions where animals are under stress: drought conditions, sudden severe cold, etc.
Inoculate annually 2-4 weeks before kidding season.
Use Brucella inoculation. Inoculate kids at 3-4 months. This treatment safeguards animals for their entire lifespan.
Gangrene of uterus
Inoculate with Clostridium Septicum 2-3 months before kidding season on an annual basis.
Inoculate ewes annually 4-6 weeks before mating.
There is an inoculation agent for this condition, but it is apparently not very effective. The best solution is to ensure that as soon as the abscess is ripe, it is cut open and thoroughly pressed out into a receptor, which should then be burnt. The wound should be disinfected thoroughly.
The Boer goat is not highly susceptible to roundworm, since it prefers to graze at a level above the ground under extensive conditions. However, over a broad spectrum, it is a good idea to dose three weeks after the first spring rains and then again three weeks after the first frost. In the case of cultivated pastures, dosing should take place on a regular basis. Tapeworms present problems among suckling kids – the latter should therefore be dosed every month.
Blue lice disease is problematic especially during dry months – dip, or use an agent which is poured over the animal.
Ticks are greatly problematic since goats are extremely sensitive to them. Make use of patch treatment or, under severe conditions, use an agent which is poured over the animal.
Commercial breeder – Castrate male kids at 2-4 weeks. Methods: rubber bands, Bordizzo or knife.
Stud breeders – First selection at 2-4 weeks: castrate all kids with cull defects, as well as those which are promising. Second selection should take place at 2-3 months: castrate all kids which do not have potential.
After three months, young cull rams may merely be Bordizzoed or marketed as they are slaughter animals. A golden rule for every stud breeder is to market all rams which are eliminated as slaughter animals, since keeping them will only have an adverse effect on your good name; and if you keep them, they will also have a detrimental effect on the healthy raising of other animals.
The first selection takes place at the first selling stage, up to the period before the ewes kid for the first time. Hereafter, they should be screened only on the basis of their offspring and their reproduction capacity. It is in fact necessary to select large ewe phenotypes.
Try not to place lactating ewes with dry ewes in the same group, as the ewes in lactation which have worked hard will create a poor impression, while dry ewes which are not productive at a given time will make a good impression.