Keeping farm animals as pets has become increasingly popular in recent years. While farmers and their families always bonded with the animals they raised to provide meat, milk, eggs, wool, it was understood that these animals were more of a commodity than pets. Traditionally, goats are raised for their meat and milk but breeds such as pygmy goats, Nigerian dwarf goats, and alpine goats have become popular as pets. The Boer goat is another popular choice.
If you love raising outdoor farm animals, Boer goats are one of the best animals to have as a pet. They’re extraordinarily docile and friendly to be around. These goats also have a high fertility rate, rarely get sick, and grow to become quite large. Although they’re commonly known as excellent meat producers, they’re also cute pets. Baby goats loved to be coddled too.
Raising a Boer goat as a pet is not difficult, but they do not like to be alone. Keeping them in pairs will ensure that they are happy goats. Some goat owners complain that goats stink! This is especially true of the bucks, but they are not the type of pet you will have curled up next to you on the couch watching tv at night so this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. If you are considering getting a Boer goat to keep as a pet, here is some helpful information on how to raise them.
Costs of Owning a Boer Goat
Usually, Boer goats are priced around $150 to $400 online. The American Boer Goat Association has its listings of goats, and their price varies based on the breeder and whether it is a purebred or not.
However, there are many other factors you need to consider when raising a goat:
- Goat Fence: To ensure your goat has enough space to move around and not escape, you need a goat fence. The price can range from $40 to $200 depending on the length and type of fence. There are electrical, wooden, and other types of wirings available.
- Veterinary Visits: This can vary based on any health concerns that may come up. But plan to spend $50 to $250 in total costs per year for every goat you own.
- Food: Goats usually eat about 2 to 4 pounds daily. It’s best to buy them in bulk of about 40 lbs, which costs $3 to $15 depending on the location and season.
- Supplements: The most common supplement for Boer goats are goat pellets, which ensure your goat is healthy. They usually cost about $20 and last a couple of months.
- Bedding: You’ll need to make sure your goat sleeps comfortably indoors. Indoor bedding costs about $10.
- Maintenance: You will need services and equipment to keep your goat safe, like deworming or hoof trimmers. Deworming test costs about $30, and hoof trimmers cost $10 to $20.
- Cost of Labor: Most people don’t consider what it’ll cost to maintain your goat. Unless you’re taking care of them full-time, you may need to hire someone to help you. If you have more than ten goats, it may cost $5 per hour. Milking goats can take 7 hours, manure and changing bedding takes 1 hour, feeding hay and grain takes 1 hour, cleaning and setting up takes 2.3 hours, and other tasks can take up to 6 hours. Keep in mind owning one goat will take much less time.
After the initial cost of a couple hundred dollars, expect to pay around $30 to $50 a month to keep your goat healthy.
Boer Goats Behavior and Temperament
Boer goats make great pets due to their submissive nature and extremely friendly attitude. They tend to enjoy living in taller pastures such as weeds, tree leaves, and brushes.
Boer goats typically spend a lot of their time eating. Sometimes as long as 11 hours of feeding. But they aren’t just gobbling food for hours. Usually, Boer goats spend a lot of time moving from one plant to another. They can eat about 25 plants per day.
Boer goats rarely fight except to establish a social hierarchy. They might fight one to one, such as when a new goat enters the herd. You may find that they dislike rain or harsh weather conditions. These goats will seek shelter immediately when the rain comes.
Boer Goat Size
Boer goats are genetically the largest breed and become quite heavy when mature. Female Boer goats or Boer does range between 190 to 230 pounds, while male Boers or Boer bucks weigh 200 to 340 pounds.
These goats grow at a rapid rate. At just three months old, these goats weigh about 45 pounds. When Boer goats are fed under ideal conditions with lots of livestock, they can grow over 0.4 pounds per day. Most of these goats are about 2.5 feet long and have a height of 17 to 25 inches.
How Long Do Boer Goats Live For?
Boer goats can live for quite a long time. Female Boer goats tend to live longer, around 12 to 20 years. While male Boer goats live approximately 8 to 12 years, this breed is also highly resistant to diseases.
How Much Space Does a Boer Goat Need?
For adult Boer Goats, they will need about 10 to 15 feet of space outdoors. The space must be filled with pasture. If you reside in a desert area or city, you may need a larger 20 feet space. If you include the indoor and outdoor space, it can be 30 feet per goat. If your goat has kids, make sure to have a 4 to 5 feet kidding pen.
Boer Goats Colors
Based on the breeding process, the colors of Boer goats may vary. But, typically, Boer goats have quite a unique look. Their heads are covered in a brown color and have full white bodies. Some Boer goats have spots of brown or white throughout their body.
Boer Goats Diet
During warmer months, having high-quality pasture is enough to feed Boer goats. For a goat to remain healthy, it’s crucial to feed them healthy plants such as trees, grains, and shrubs.
When pastures become dry, it’s best to feed them hay, especially in winter months. Hay has fantastic nutrients for Boer boats, and they will need about 2 to 4 pounds of them daily. For hay, they can be fed freely or twice a day. As for water, Boer goats need about two to three gallons of water every day. When grazing green grass, they can get by with less.
Do Boer Goats Make Good Pets?
It’s sad to see that Boer goats are primarily used for meat production. However, this breed makes a very good pet. They are often referred to as gentle giants because of their friendly personality and submissive tendencies. The babies are extremely cute and fun to cuddle with.
In fact, it’s better to make sure they have companions to prevent behavior or depression issues. You’ll be surprised to know that you can train them to enjoy treats, playtime, and snuggles. Having a large pen encourages playing and movement. I recommend purchasing your Boer goats in pairs to make sure they aren’t lonely.
What Age are Boer Goats Full Grown?
Boer goats usually bred year-round and are fully grown within five months. Boer goats begin puberty around three months and ready for breeding around 5 to 6 months in. They mature quite fast compared to other breeds of goats, which can take up to 3 years to reach maturity.
Do Boer Goats Climb?
Boer goats can climb, which is why most fences start at 4 feet high and go up to 7 feet. These goats may be escaped artists, which is why electric fencing can work extremely well. In addition, Boer goats can jump up to 48 inches high.
Are Boer Goats Hard to Raise?
Boer goats aren’t very difficult to raise. In fact, they are a great option for beginners because they are easy-going, affectionate, and love to play.
Typically Boer goats are very caring towards each other, especially the mother to their babies. If you invest in high-quality pastures, you may not need to buy additional hay under winter months. They also aren’t sick very much, so they are quite self-sufficient.
How Long is a Boer Goat Pregnant?
The pregnancy period for Boer goats usually lasts around five months or about 150 days. You may notice your goat is pregnant if their belly tightens, and their appetite goes up. Also, you will see that their udders start to swell.
How Many Babies Can a Boer Goat Have?
Boer does are highly fertile and will typically have multiple goats at once when pregnant. These female goats have a kidding rate of 2 babies per pregnancy period. On average, they may give birth about three times every two years. Their high fertility rate makes them a popular choice for meat options. If you’re planning to have multiple Boer Goats, make sure you can handle the kidding process.