Gelykfontein, Veld Goats
For the last 42 years goats have been part of the farming operation. Schalk bred improved “Boer” goats for 25 years, after realizing the hardiness and compatibility of the indigenous breeds, and switched to indigenous veld goats 11 years ago. These goats originated from the Kunene region, Kaokoveld in Namibia and the Transkei (Eastern Cape). Some more stock were purchased from Nico Nel, a breeder from Hopetown as well as Mbusi’s from Kwa Zulu Natal. These African goats are very hardy. Diseases like pasteurella has not been seen in the 11 years since Schalk started breeding these goats and they have a remarkable resistance to lice. Competing in shows were good marketing in the earlier years, but now the exhibiting of these goats at agricultural shows, proven great attraction.
CHARACTERISTICS OF OUR VELD GOATS:
- The Indigenous Goat of South Africa is naturally bred for functional efficiency; they are antelope-like with longer legs, so they move with ease and can walk long distances, to either graze or browse on a variety of plants.
- They are highly adaptable and disease resistant, with low maintenance costs.
- They have good herding instincts to protect themselves and their kids from predators, they will even fight them off with their sharp horns.
- The ewes are known for their remarkable mothering abilities and protection of their offspring, they have very good milk production, and can easily feed twins and even triplets.
- They are highly fertile even from a young age, have a long breeding season and produce offspring the year through, and have a long productive lifespan (one ewe can produce an average of 3 kids per year, every 8 months)
- Their meat (Chevon) is succulent with good flavour, and very low in cholesterol.
Gelykfontein has been in the Van der Walt family since 1884 and we’ve been working towards a balanced farming operation in the Karoo, close to the Gariep Dam since then. Today the farm is run by Schalk van der Walt.
Schalk has initiated the registering of a breeders association and in 2006 started with seven members, himself being the first Chairman. An Application to the Registrar were made to achieve Breed Status, because this breed are out-crossed with “Boer” goats and are becoming extinct. Currently 115 members are registered and the interest in these goats are astonishing!
The improved Boer goats have been culled for the presence of down in their skins, but the African Goats use that precise down in combination with their own hair, in winter times, to keep them warm, which could be the reason for not contracting pasturella. The pigment of their skin are dark, to prevent damage from the harsh African sun and their legs are longer to walk distances and maneuver easily in hill tops.
In the stud the rams stay with the ewes in the veld, only the young rams are moved to different camps. About 30% of the rams are kept for stud breeding, the remainder are sold at three months straight of the veld at about R18 per kilogram live weight. Ewes conceive at the ages of five to six months and their first lam usually arrive before they are 13 months old, two tooth. They lamb every six to eight months and mostly twins or triplets. That means an average of 2.8 lambs per ewe in one year! Young females are available for sale from three months at R850 each. Older ewes sell for R2500 each.
Gelykfontein veld has a variety of grass and shrubs, these goats do exceptionally well on the veld only, with no supplements at all! The Indigenous veld goat’s herd and mother instinct are much stronger than that of other breeds, and protect their lambs effectively against predators like jackal and caracal (rooikat). A very good unlimited marketing and selling of these goats is getting better all the time! The 70% kapaters are sold at R15 to R17 per kilogram live weight. The goats has tasty meat with little fat.