Going into Goats: A practical guide to producing goats in the rangelands

Breeding and selection

An increasing number of rangeland goat operations are seeking to improve the quality of the goats they are producing by retaining female breeding stock and joining these to either selected rangeland bucks or an introduced meat breed such as a Boer goat, Kalahari Red or Savannah goat. This can be done in several ways including:

  • Turning desirable bucks (rangeland or introduced breed) out with rangeland does in a relatively uncontrolled free range environment.
  • Confining rangeland does to a goat paddock and introducing desirable rangeland bucks into that paddock.
  • Confining rangeland does to a goat paddock and introducing meat breed buc(eg: Boer) into that paddock
  • Confining meat breed does (eg: Boer) to a goat paddock and introducing meat breed bucks.

Regardless of the breed or whether the breeding operation is intensive or extensive, bucks should be selected to comply with the enterprise breeding objective and be of sound conformation. Rangeland environments can be challenging and it is important that the bucks be able to persist and perform.

When bucks are introduced into the enterprise, it is critical that they be acclimatised to the conditions. The safest way to do this is to source bucks from a similar environment. Alternatively, bucks should be brought in as young animals, the sooner post weaning the better and allowed to mature in the environment.

Rangeland does make good breeding stock and persist well in rangeland conditions. Does should be classed based on conformation and type. Some producers prefer does that demonstrate dairy goat characteristics as these are considered to be superior milkers. There is generally a uniform dislike of hairy goats as they tend to be light framed types that devote more energy to growing hair than producing meat and kids. Refer to Module 5: Goat selection of the GiG Guide for further information on goat selection.