The Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment (MATLHE), through the Veterinary Division, has imported five boer goats to the island, in an effort to improve the quality and quantity of goat meat here.
The goats arrived on Friday, September 21, and were weighed and tagged this morning, Monday, Septmebr 24. The five goats include four half-bred boer does (female) from Antigua and one pure-bred buck (male) from Florida.
Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Selvyn Maloney explained that the introduction of this particular breed of goats to the island will speed up the waiting time for market ready goat meat. He said, “Most farmers with goats on Montserrat will take more than a year and a half, and up to two years to get their goats up to market weight. But with the boer goat, which is a meat breed, it means that at seven or eight months, farmers should be able to take them to the abattoir or to the market.”
The newly imported buck is already 100 lbs, at seven months old—weighing the same or more than some adult goats, currently on island.
In an effort to integrate the new breed into the market, Dr. Maloney said they plan to offer a stud service from the Ministry’s farm. He said farmers or individuals interested will have to pay a fee and bring their does (female goats) to the Ministry’s farm for the stud service; after this service is completed, the doe will be returned to its owner.
The Chief Veterinary Officer also noted that once the female goats on the farm begin to reproduce, the Ministry will keep a parent stock of about 20 to 30, following which the other offspring will be sold, along with all males; leaving only one male, the imported boer buck on the farm.
The Boer goat is a breed goat that was developed in South Africa in the early 1900s for meat production. Adult Boer bucks on average weigh from 250 to 300 lbs and adult does generally weigh between 200 to 240 lbs.