Critter Ridge
Hardy Boer Meat Goats
kencandy@critterridge.net

Seasonal Breeding in Boer Goats and Other Meat Goats

Boer Meat Goats on pasture


Most goats are seasonal breeders, with the length of the breeding season varying between individual goats within breeds and between breeds. The breeds of dairy goats that originated in the Alpine Mountains of central Europe (Saanen, Toggenburg, French Alpine, and Oberhasli) have an average breeding season of about six months in Northern Arkansas and Southern Missouri. Nubians and Boers have longer breeding seasons and have more variations in the length of their breeding seasons. These two breeds were developed by crossing diverse types of goats from several different parts of the world. It has been reported that the farther from the equator a breed of goats originates, the shorter is the length of its average breeding season, and breeds (such as the pigmy) that originate on the equator will breed the year around at any location.Savanna Meat goats are also reported to be nonseasional breeders. It has also been reported that breeds of goats which are seasonal breeders in the northern parts of the United States will breed the year around in the southern most parts of Florida and Texas.

The start and end of the breeding season in goats is determined by changes in day length. In seasonally breeding goats the breeding season usually begins 60 days after the longest day (late August) and ends 60 days after the shortest day (late February.) The dates of coarse would be reversed in the southern hemisphere. It is the change of the length of uninterrupted darkness that determines the beginning and end of the breeding season in goats.

There are a number of different ways to get goats that are normally seasonal breeders to breed out of season. Some of these methods can also be used to synchronize the estrus cycle in does so they can be bred on a predetermined day. If you are interested in using any of these procedures we recommend that you read the article on "Advanced Caprine Reproductive Methods and Techniques" published by Langston University at http://www2.luresext.edu/goats/training/advrepro.html. We also recommend this article if you are interested in using artificial insemination in goats. Langston University also has excellent one day workshops on the artificial insemination of goats (http://www2.luresext.edu/goats/extension/workshops_field_day.htm.)

It has been shown that if does are gaining weight for three to four weeks prior to when the bucks are placed with them for breeding and they continue to gain while the bucks are with them they will have more multiple births and produce more kids per doe. Since we normally turn our bucks in with the does on October 8th so that kidding starts about March tenth, we start feeding small amounts of grain in late August to encourage multiple births. We are able to average 2 kids per doe using this system. When the acorns start falling we stop feeding because our Boer goats get plenty of nutrients from the acorns and pasture. In late August pastures are usually dry and in poor condition in this area. In years when rainfall in July and August is above average and pastures are in good condition we do not feed our does grain to condition them for breeding. This conditioning of does for breeding to encourage multiple births is called flushing.

Research done in Australia has shown that running multiple bucks with a herd of does encourages the bucks to rut harder and increases the number of multiple births. Since we have registered Boer goats we can only run one fertile buck with the herd, so we use a vasectomised buck for the second buck. The first vasectomised buck we used was a full blood Boer and he worked fine when he was younger but when he got older and we started using a younger herd sire he wouldn't let the younger buck breed the does, so we recommend using a vasectomised Pygmy buck as the second buck. Since Pygmy goats are not seasonal breeders, vasectomised Pygmy bucks that rut hard during the non breeding season can often be used to get other breeds of goats to breed out of season.


We find that mid to late March kidding works best in this area for optimum utilization of pasture for feed. Pastures are at their peak level of nutrition when does are at their peak level of production. December and January kids are ideal for the market meat goat shows at the county, district, and state fairs in Arkansas. October and November kids would be best for the Missouri fairs. Goats would have to be breed out of season to get October and November kids.


Come Visit Us and See Our Herd

We are located in north central Arkansas, twenty miles south of Missouri.

Ralph is four miles south of Yellville, Arkansas, on Highway 14.
We are two miles west of Ralph on County Road 5040.



kencandy@critterridge.net (870) 449-6789

Boer Meat Goats