Boar goats originated in South Africa as a meat and dairy breed fit for the harsher terrain of aired savannah. The goats we raise today at Leafhopper Farm come from genetics imported through Texas. Brownie, our lead doe, was born here in Washington, and she and her offspring here on the farm are well adapted to life in a cooler, wetter climate. Though they still harbor many traits of their desert dwelling ancestors, like long ears to offer better heat loss, and an incredible immune system, capable of fighting off most infection, including a resistance to parasites.
We introduced a Nigerian Dwarf buck into our herd last year. Broc was a wonderful stud, but in an unfortunate tussle with another male goat (our boer weathers Bran) Broc sustained a fatal internal injury and we were forced to put him down that summer, only getting one breeding season in. Our current herd has three does, including one female by luck from this year’s covering. The other two male kids were butchered and I am still kicking myself for that decision because we lost our buck and had to requests for bucks in the community this year, only after I had butchered. We lost all our male genetics in one false swoop.
Gamble is the dream mix of genetics I was hoping for in the herd planning. A good smaller dairy breed mixed into some great boer stock. We’ll plan on picking up a male goat again next year, and selecting Nigerian dwarf genetics again, this time, without a pushy other male to batter him around. We’ll also wait to cull till we’ve advertised our kids to the community.
We’ve recently been testing the goats out in pasture with electric fencing. This method, ensuring the power is plugged into a main grid for stability, seems to be keeping the goats in without much hassle. We’ve also recently moved our larger stock into new pens. These stalls will keep our goats and sheep dry, while offering daytime access to open pasture. Hopefully this new electric setup is enough to deter escaping. It will also require us to maintain a strict rotational system to keep pastures lush enough to persuade goats to stay in. Fingers crossed!