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BBMGA - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

Getting started with Boer or Meat Goats for the first time and have some questions before you join our society. Need some advice on how to get started with the BBMGA, or unsure who you should contact for a specific question? Perhaps you've always wanted to know something about Boer or Meat Goats but haven't felt sure of where to ask? We hope this FAQs page will help you find out a little more about keeping Boer or Meat Goats or becoming a member of the BBMGA.

Got a question that's not covered in the following sections contact us today and we'll do our best to help you find the answers you need.

  • How can I become a member of the BBMGA?
    Please refer to membership page for application form.
  • How do I choose a Prefix?
    You can choose a Prefix while completing your application for BBMGA membership. The application form allows two choices of herd name, just in case one is already taken.
  • Can anyone become a BBMGA member?
    So long as you adhere to the rules of the BBMGA, membership is open to anyone. You do not need to own goats or even live in Britain/the UK to become a BBMGA member - for example, our overseas membership is perfect for breeders outside of the UK. However, in the interests of keeping the BBMGA a comfortable, open space where members feel free to share their thoughts and opinions, membership applications are reviewed by the BBMGA board before approval.
  • Who can transfer ownership of goats?
    Only the seller can transfer ownership of a goat, provided they are a fully paid-up member. As such, if you are buying a BBMGA-registered goat, make sure the seller is a member first to reduce the risk of not receiving your goat's pedigree ownership.
  • What is a CPH Holding Number and flock number?
    The CPH number is a 9 digit number which allows the government to identify your farm smallholding or rural business. It is encoded according to 'county (2 digits)', 'parish (3 digits)' and 'holding (4 digits)' and can immediately geographically pinpoint your land to the authorities. You must contact APHA if you're keeping sheep or goats. The APHA will give you a unique flock or herd number, which is a 6-digit number used to identify your flock or herd that is linked to your main CPH . Your Flock or Herd number will be on your ear tag.
  • How many acres do you need for a Boer goat or meat goat?
    If you are looking to get into goat keeping, you should always consider first how many acres you will need for a Boer goat or meat goat operation. This varies based on the size of the animal and the quality of grazing, but around five to ten goats per acre is attainable on good quality grass. However, if feeding concentrated feed, you can keep substantially more goats comfortably on a smaller acreage, making them ideal for both large-scale and smallholder operations.
  • Are Boer goats hard to raise?
    On the whole, Boer goats may be easier to keep than other breeds since their docile nature makes them more manageable and with the right support they are not necessarily hard to raise.
  • Can you tell the age of a goat by its teeth?
    You can get an estimate age of a goat by its teeth. Milk teeth 3 weeks to 12 months. Central 2 teeth - 12 months to 18 months. Second pair 4 teeth - 18 months to 24 months. Third pair 6 teeth - 24 months to 30 months. Four pair 8 teeth - 30 months to 36 months. You can get signs of worn teeth from 36 months. Teeth can start spreading from 48 months. Teeth can start to fall out or break from 60 months.
  • How much hay does a Boer or meat goat eat per day?
    Typically, a Boer or meat goat will consume around 2-3% of its body weight in dry matter feed per day - around 1.5 to 3kg for an average sized doe. This varies with stage of production, competition from other herd members, and feed availability. If not given suitable feeders, goats may be prone to wasting a lot of feed.
  • What is the lifespan of a Boer or meat goat?
    The lifespan of a Boer or meat goat that is actively working can be estimated at around six years or longer. However, animals that do not regularly undergo more stressful experiences (such as caesarean sections, artificial breeding, etc) may live longer. Many Boer and meat goats comfortably breed until ten years or longer, when given the appropriate care.
  • What age can a Boer goat / meat goat buck and doe breed?
    The age that a Boer goat / meat goat buck and doe can successfully breed (conceive) is usually around five months or older. Many Boer goat bucks will be fertile from a few months of age, and so should be separated as soon as possible if being kept entire. Meanwhile, the age that a Boer buck can usually breed reliably is around 7 months to a year. Since Boer goats hit puberty at an early age (often around three months), doe kids may get in kid at a very young age if allowed. Ideally, all goats should be allowed to mature before being bred; if breeding early, the doe should have achieved at least 50-60% of her mature bodyweight before breeding, and must be managed very carefully with veterinary support before kidding. Many breeders aim for does to kid for the first time between 18 months and two years; however, the age that a Boer goat can breed comfortably from may be earlier than this, depending on the individual. This decision should always be made carefully to balance productivity with early growth and not putting the doe at risk.
  • How often do you breed Boer goats?
    Most Boer goat breeders will choose to breed their goats around once per year. However, some breeders choose to breed their Boer goats more often at around once every eight months (three times in two years). Typically, a Boer goat will come into season every 16-21 days, and her heat may last for around one or two days typically.
  • Can goats survive on grass alone?
    By nature, goats are browsers, which means they will naturally prefer to eat a wide variety of forages. However, a growing number of meat goat keepers are keeping their goats on grass alone with good success. However, since every Boer and meat goat is different, not all goats will survive on grass alone; in addition, many will also need some degree of minerals and hard feed during times of production, such as early lactation. Discuss this with a nutritionist to determine a suitable feeding strategy for your goats.
  • How can I improve the carcass of a dairy goat kid?
    A Boer goat buck can potentially be used as a terminal sire over dairy-type breeds to improve carcass conformation. Boers can also be used as a terminal sire over other breed types such as Kiko goats, cashmeres, and the like.
  • What is so special about Boer goats?
    Boer goats are an incredibly hardy and adaptable breed. They are typically gentle in temperament, making them easy to handle, and have generally impressive growth rates, carcass conformation, and mothering abilities. Boer goats are also excellent for crossing with other breeds. Boer goats are not the only choice of meat goats. They are widely used for crossbreeding in the UK with other breeds. Alternatively, breeds such as the Kiko goat are able to provide an excellent alternative for applications needing an even hardier animal.
  • How big are Boer goats?
    Generally, most mature Boer goat Doe's will weigh about 60-100kg, and mature Boer goat bucks are usually around 90-120kg. However, some may be smaller or larger than this, depending on other factors such as genetics and body condition score. Boer goat kids are usually around 3-5kg at birth, but this can again vary; multiples will usually be smaller than singles.
  • What are the 5 most important characteristics of the Boer Goat or Meat Goat?
    There are many vital characteristics of Boer goats and meat goats. However, some of the most influential, important characteristics of the Boer Goat for production purposes are 1) a strong frame with good conformation (that will provide a good meat carcass); 2) excellent fertility (to produce the desired crop of kids); 3) strong kids with vigour for life that don't require assistance to nurse (reducing the risk of losses during kidding); 4) Good mothering instincts; 5) rapid growth rates to achieve a good carcasses. While these traits are crucial, there are many other traits influencing these three points. For example, Boer goats and meat goats should have rapid growth rates to achieve a good carcass, excellent mothering instincts to look after newborn kids, and the like. The BBMGA allows registration of both herd and show goats, meaning that even if your goat does not exhibit all of the necessary aesthetic traits for showing, it can still be registered as a suitable breeding animal for a commercial herd. However, all BBMGA registered animals must be capable of producing a good, commercial meat animal without expressing cull traits (as defined in the breed standards).
  • Can you get goat meat in the UK?
    While UK supermarkets don't currently sell goat meat on a wide scale, if you're looking for places to get goat meat in the UK, our BBMGA pedigree Boer goat and meat goat breeders may be able to help. Many of our members supply fresh Boer Goat meat across the country to several outlets; some may also be able to arrange shipment directly to you.
  • Is goat meat healthy?
    Many people believe that goat meat is healthier, since it contains lower saturated fats, lower calories, and higher levels of iron and protein than many other meats. Be sure to cook it slow so as not to lose the moisture.
  • Do UK supermarkets sell goat meat?
    While you can occasionally find premium, UK goat meat in butchers shops and farm shops, not many UK supermarkets currently sell goat meat. This is due to the lack of consistent supply to fulfil supermarket requirements. However, the BBMGA strives to promote goat meat to a wider audience wherever possible.
  • Why is goat meat so lean?
    Goat meat is a naturally lean meat. This is largely since goats tend to store most of their body's fat reserves around the internal organs rather than within the muscle directly; as such, the meat itself is typically very low in fat content. As such, goat meat often benefits from slow cooking to bring out the best of its flavours.
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