Kotze worked on development of Savannas in SA

(Editor’s note: Koenie Kotze is one of the South African judges who will be working with the US-SA Boer Goat Breeders Alliance to judge U.S. goats.)

By Koenie Kotze

With fraternal greetings to the US-SA BOER GOAT BREEDERS ALLIANCE:

During those early years of the Savanna, with myself being closely involved in the development, I remember well some of the challenges we met. It was not possible to go buy-in better genetics, you had to select and breed them right. So, I am the first to know some of the challenges that you stand against.

Luckily none of them are insurmountable — you only need pa- tience, time and the will to cull when required and start again when required.

At the time the goats were not very pretty. Apart from breeding for more meat and better growth and weight gain, we also started re- fining the Savanna’s heads and horns — getting the bucks more mas- culine and the does more feminine. Thinking back, it was very easily said, doing it took longer, but in the end and over the years our en- deavors paid off.

At the time cow hocks were a common problem, and they also had long hair that we bred out with the result that they now have smooth, good quality summer coats. In winter they do need some more protection and a bit of kashmir.

The heads and horns also improved from flat laid-back horns to nice soft ennobled round horns. The heads have also been im- proved to a strong head with a slightly curved nose. We strive for goats with good overall balance and good meat. Good overall balance refers to the length, width and depth that should form a complete picture and should be in relation (balance) to each other.

The same goes for the head. The size should be in proper rela-

tion to the body, a larger bigger body should have a larger, bigger and befitting head.

The legs should also be strong but not overly thick and fleshy. What is very important is that through strict selection, we bred goats with very good teats. We managed this by being very strict with teat selection, disqualifying more than two functional teats on one side. However, the ideal is to breed animals with only one functional teat on each side.

This applies to the bucks as well as the does. The buck is 50% of the entire herd, so if there is a problem with the buck’s teats, he most certainly passes it on to his offspring. The doe is 50% of her own lambs. We do not want to breed does who struggle to suckle kids from day one. When you only have five goats it may be easy to help them suckle. But as your herd grows, feeding kids becomes a serious problem, especially when you, as a commercial farmer, want them to kid and raise babies on their own. The Savanna must be a vibrant animal with a good proud atti- tude. Masculinity in bucks and femininity in does are very important in breeding and should be a focus point in your breeding progbuck. Does that appear male-like with thick necks and overly large front quarters also do not kid as often and easy as the more feminine does. The does must be able to raise their kids well in the field and still be able to also maintain their own good condition. Selecting ani- mals with good milk production is, therefore, very important. The

18 Goat Rancher | November 2021

bucks must also maintain good condition in the field while between the does during mating.

I do wish all of you the very best, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish y’all at the US-SA BOER GOAT BREEDERS ALLIANCE good luck with the difficult, but very important task of breeding natural, climate and region adapted classic Boers, Savannas and Kalahari Reds in the USA again. n

Who is Koenie Kotze? Koenie Kotze farms in the Northern Cape province of

South Africa on the farm Swemkuil (swimming hole) between the towns of Douglas and Prieska next to the Orange River. In total, also using surrounding rented farms, he uses to the effect of 8,000 hectares or 19,700 acres of land. Koenie farms with Savanna goats, Boer goats and Kalahari Reds.

He also raises almost every sheep type you can think of, Dorpers and


Dorpers, Van Rooy sheep and the various Persian versions, which consists of the Black Head Persian, Red Head Persian, Black Speckled Persian, Red Speckled Persian, White Persians, Blue-, Pink- and Tri-color Persians. The Tri-color Persians consist of black/brown/white and blue/pink/white Persians.

Koenie Kotze

Koenie is a Senior Judge and Inspector of all three of the goat breeds, and also judges Dorpers and White Dorpers, Van Rooy Sheep and the Persians. He several times was selected to judge the World Championship for the Dorpers and Boer goats. He also judges Dorpers and Boer goats internationally and also presents courses internationally. In 2002 Koenie judged the World Series for Boer goats in South Africa, the Dorper na- tionals and the Australian Open Boer goats in one year. n

Heiland Farms

STEP UP TO SAVANNAS John Heilers & Rochelle Boland 440 Walnut Grove Road, Columbia KY 42728

812-639-3208 859-351-1449

Grassfed Beef Savanna Goats

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