Raising Boers vs Cattle

18 September, 2015rodster385Comments (0)

So, why raise Boer goats? One reason is efficiency of feed and space. The accepted standard in the Northwest for raising cattle is one cow-calf pair per acre of good pasture. With goats, the equal comparison would be six does with two kids each per acre. Ten months after breeding, a cow is nursing a 75 pound calf. Ten months after breeding to a Boer buck, six dairy or spanish goats will have raised 12 kids (a goat's gestation period is 5 months), and the kids will have been sold. Boer cross kids reach a market weight of 50 to 90 pounds at about 5 months of age. (A weight gain of .5 pounds a day (or more) in cross bred kids is not considered unusual). If we use a market weight of 60 pounds, at $1 per pound, these 12 kids sold for $720. The same six does were then rebred 60 to 90 days after the kids were born and are now 60 days pregnant ten months after the first breeding!

At the end of 18 months, the cow should be pregnant again, and her calf is ready to be sold for $325 (in current market conditions here in the Northwest). The six does have kidded again with another 12 kids (plus the does would be pregnant again) who are now 5 months old and ready to be sold for another $720. Feed cost comparisons between one cow and six goats would vary greatly, depending on the time of year, type of pasture and area of the country. It may cost a little more to feed the six does than the single cow, but the difference in the sales ($1440 - $325 = $1115 more gross sales) certainly makes up the difference. Plus you don't need expensive squeeze chutes, and it is easier to own a buck than a bull or to artificially inseminate a doe than a cow.

If you have 10 acres, you can easily raise 60 goats or ten head of cattle. Goats, especially Boers or Boer crosses, can survive, even prosper, on poor pasture and brush that would not support cattle. Many breeders find the fact that goats will eat berry bushes, russian olive, elm or cottonwood trees, ragwort, gorse, dock, amerauthis and other weeds, to be an important factor when deciding to raise goats. Some ranchers also find it good pasture management to run goats on the pasture after their cows to clean up the weeds.