(Prof E Terblanche - Hierjy Boerbok!)

Goats were already here when the Whites arrived in South Africa. Various researchers and authors, such as Schreiner (1898), Barrow (1801), Pepler (1886), Epstein (1972) and others, tried to describe and explain the origins of the Boer goat and how it got here. Europe, India, Egypt and Nubia were mentioned and the routes from North Africa to South Africa were probably along the west and east coasts.

The Whites first came across the goats at around 1661 in the vicinity of the present Clanwilliam and the Namaquas whose goats they were declared that they came from the Batlapin clan in Botswana. The import of milk goats from Switzerland and Germany at the beginning of the 20th century contributed to the establishment of a Boer goat over the years that, in fact, represented a variety of types.

Van Rensburg (1938) considered the goats found in South Africa and classified them as follows:

1. Milk goats (pure imported breeds)
2. Angoras or silky goats and
3. Boer goats

The Boer goats in turn are classified as:

A) the common Boer goat, such as the

      1. dapple,
      2. brindle,
      3. underdeveloped ear, and
      4. white Boer goat;

B) The coat of long hair; and

C) The polled and elongated eared

D) The common Boer goat is a compact, fine quality, short-haired goat with a regular build, popular among butchers for its skin and meat. In good condition, the goat can be slaughtered at a young age. The goat ewes give ample milk and are generally popular. The following sub-types occur in this group:

      1. The dappled
      2. The brindle, with its definitive colouring on the head, namely yellow and brown patches around the eyes, on the cheeks and mouth.
      3. The underdeveloped ear. Similar to the karakul, Boer goats also present variations in the size of the ear, and the types with a small, underdeveloped ear, sometimes
          too small to mark, is known as the “underdeveloped ear” type.
      4. The white Boer goat, sometimes with a brown neck and head. All colours occur.

E) The coat of long hair. It has a heavy head, heavy horns, heavy shoulders, coarse legs and hooves and coarse meat. The long-haired coat covers the hindquarters only or the entire body. It can be slaughtered only when it is fully grown and in good condition. It has a rough, heavy skin.

F) The long-haired and polled. This type was obtained through cross-breeding with imported milk types; sometimes the pure milk types are called by the same name. It has a light, fine head without horns, hooked nose, long ears and the build of the milk type; is usually short-haired and all colours occur. Most Boer goat flocks were a mixture of these types and so hybridised that it was difficult to classify them accurately according to type.

Van Rensburg (1938) states,

“that although little attention was paid to the breeding of Boer goats in the past, there were those progressive farmers who started paying attention to the selection and breeding of Boer goats, particularly in the districts where intensive cultivation occurred. Thus classes for adjudication according to different ages were instituted at some shows; however, there was a lack of the required data and uniformity of adjudication.”

In collaboration with some of the farmers, buyers’ and butchers’ data was collected, and in spite of limited literature on the subject, a scale of points for Boer goats was designed that later formed the basis when a scale of points was needed for the refined Boer goat.

 

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