Boer Goats tend to go through or under fences rather than over them, so good quality, tightly drawn ringlock/hingejoint fencing (prefabricated wire netting eg. Stocktite with 2 strands of wire above) is recommended rather than plain wire. Try not to use diagonal stays as goats have been known to climb the incline on the post. We also have an electric wire on the top of the fence, an electric outrigger set out from the fence about a foot from the ground, and electric spring handles at gates. This not only acts to keep goats in, but also to keep predators out, and to protect the fences and gates from the goats using them to rub or scratch themselves on.
Suggested paddocks include separate paddocks for: bucks (secure), weaned does/wethers (secure), joining, kidding, and 2 paddocks resting for rotation.
You can run approximately 6 breeding does to equivalent 1 breeding cow – however be conservative with stocking rates, aim for about 2/3 – 1/2 of the DSE (dry sheep equivalent) for your property as goats are more susceptible to worms than sheep.
If your property is not able to sustain the goats at this level all year round supplementary feeding may be required.
The highest feed requirements within the lifecycle of goats are the 6 weeks prior to kidding and throughout lactation.
Goats are herbivores (plant-eaters) that spend most of their day browsing and grazing, they do well with access to a wide variety of vegetation rather than just pasture alone. However some plants are poisonous to goats and it is well worth doing your research to keep your animals away from these. It is also very important that goats have access to clean water at all times.
If you are supplementing their diet:
- HAY – we have pasture/oaten hay available at all times for the goats. It is important that it is kept dry and off the ground. Small rations of Lucerne hay can be fed if desired but caution not to overfeed.
- MINERALS – goats have a high need for minerals, and they also increase digestive function to give optimal digestion of food intake. Make a mineral block or mineral lick available at all times (they will use as needed) or have a good mineral product mixed in if feeding grain
- GRAIN/COMMERCIAL GOAT FOOD – if feeding grain always ensure it is crushed, of good quality, and total protein content no higher than 14%. Calcium : phosphorus ratio is also of importance and if feeding grain only, an addition of feed-grade lime (calcium ) to balance the high phosphorus in the grain should be considered. Commercial food should be balanced. Introduce any feed changes slowly to avoid acidosis.
The main predators of goats in the King Valley are foxes, eagles, crows and wild dogs. The alpacas at Beauterre are wonderful herd guardians, and they have not lost any animals to predator attack although all of these predators have been seen on the farm occasionally.
It is important however to have alpacas that have been specifically selected as herd guardians – all alpacas will spot predators but not all have the temperament to do something about them.
The Beauterre alpacas are from a breeder just outside Mansfield (see link).
Goats require some form of shade, shelter and protection from the elements in each paddock they are in.
It is also helpful to have a protected area for mothers and new babies to bond in particularly if any mismothering.
Bucks can breed from about 4 months of age, but shouldn’t be used until they are about 12-18 months old. A doe can breed from about 6 months of age, but shouldn’t until about 18-20 months old so that she can grow out to a size able to cope with having a baby. Goats come into season every 21 days and they are pregnant for 5 months (150 days).
A mature buck can join up to 40 does – leave in for at least 6 weeks (ie. 2 cycles) then remove.
We leave kids on their mothers for 4-6 months so they grow out well, however the boys will need to be wethered (castrated) or separated a bit earlier so they don’t join with their mothers.
- Discuss with your vet: Long-acting, broad spectrum antibiotic (eg. Alamycin LA).
- Equipment: disposable gloves, drenching syringe (for oral medications), alcohol prep wipes, sterile syringes and sterile needles, rectal thermometer, collar & rope tie to restrain, hoof trimmers.
- Medications: Pink eye spray/Terramycin pink eye powder, Cetrigen spray, Probiotic gel, D-Scour paste, 7% Iodine, VAM injection, Vitamin B12 injection, Vitamin C injection, ADE injection, Zinc sulphate (and foot bath for scald), Cal-Jet oral (calcium/magnesium supplement if needed post kidding).
- Kidding – tube feeding kit, Pritchard teats (fit onto soft drink bottle for bottle feeding), Colostrum and milk replacer (eg. Profelac Shepherd) for hand-rearing, kid scales, tagging applicator, rings and applicator for wethering, soft baby blankets.
- Also consider: stock scales.
- Worms: we drench at weaning, prior to kidding, and as required. Move to a fresh paddock 3 days after drenching.
- Lice & Mites: If needed.
- Fluke: if in irrigation areas that carry liver fluke
Vaccinate for tetanus, pulpy kidney and cheesy gland with a 3 in 1 or 6 in 1 vaccine.
This is a subcutaneous injection – follow instructions. Initial: at 4-6 weeks of age, then a booster 4 weeks later.
The next injection will be 12 months later, then annually for all animals. If in an area that is high risk for enterotoxaemia then 6 monthly immunisation with 6 in 1 is advised.
- Trimming may be required at least twice a year depending on ground
- Foot scald: lame/limping, red/slimy between toes, offensive odour. Treat with zinc sulphate in a footbath/bucket over several days. Use pinkeye spray/powder to affected foot and injected antibiotic if treatment still required.
- Temperature – 38.8-39.8 degrees Celsius
- Respiration – 15-20 breaths / minute
- Pulse – 70-100 beats / minute
- Average weight at 12 months – 45-65kg
- Average lifespan – 10-12 years (15 years maximum)
You will require a PIC number from DEPI for your property to get NLIS tags for your animals and National Vendor Declaration forms (Goats) if you plan to ever sell or take your goats off your property
You will need a good vet for advice and healthcare
You will need to keep good records for DEPI under the following headings:
- Treatment given – including date, batch, expiry, withholding period
- Grain and fodder treatments
- Crop, pasture and paddock treatments
- Record of purchased livestock
- Livestock feeding record
- Record of livestock sold
- Property risk assessment
Boer Goat Information Links
- Goat information Australia:
- www.australianboergoat.com.au Boer Goat Breeders Association of Australia
- www.acga.org.au/goatnotes Australian Goat Notes
- Worms / Faecal egg counts:
- Stock feed:
- Apply for a PIC (Victoria):
- Guard Animals