What to look for when buying breeding goats

Just like with sheep, fertile, good-quality goats are important for better production, healthy kids and good quality meat.

When buying breeding goats, whether rams or ewes, consider this:

  1. The head should be strong and the animal shouldn’t have an untamed or wild look. A goat should have a strong slightly curved nose, wide nostrils, a strong, well-formed mouth with well-fitting jaws, and preferably up to six teeth.
  2. Horns should be strong, moderately long and curve steeply backwards. They have to be round and solid and a dark colour.
  3. Ears must be broad, smooth and medium -long hanging downwards from the head. Ears that are too short are undesirable. 
  4. The length of the neck should be moderate and in proportion to the length of the body. The neck should be full and well-fleshed, and well-joined to the forequarter. The breastbone must be wide with a deep, wide brisket. 
  5. The legs must be strong and well-placed. They mustn’t be too fleshy. Strong legs mean hardiness and a strong constitution. The legs should also be of medium length, with strong pastern joints and well-formed hoofs which are dark in colour. 
  6. The goat should have a broad and long rump, which doesn’t slope too much, well-fleshed buttocks which are not too flat, and fully fleshed thighs. 
  7. The tail must be straight where it joins the back. 


Rams: The ram must have a loose skin and must not look like a kapater (castrated ram). The mouth and head must be strong so it can feed on veld grass and wild vegetation. The testes need to be the same size, not too small, and at least 25cm in circumference.

Ewes: An ewe must look a lot more feminine than a ram. The udder must be well-formed and firmly attached, with good teats.

Source: SA Boer Goat Breeders’ Society.