|By CELESTE BAUMGARTNER
HAMILTON, Ohio — After Will Vaughn showed his first Boer goat at the county fair, he wanted to take it home. His family bought it back at the sale. After that, his mom, Diane Ramsey, said, “let’s go for it.”
They bought two females and began breeding the goats. Six years later, Vaughn, 17, has 45 Boer goats and is expanding the herd.
“It’s an animal that you can raise a few as a hobby, but you can make it be a business,” he said. “They’re easy to raise on a small amount of property.”
Vaughn likes Boer goats because they have personality, he said. And he is quick to explain the facts about the breed.
“Boer goats are from South Africa, they can live pretty much anywhere,” he said. “They’ll live in 110-degree weather and minus-10-degree weather - some people are raising them in Alaska. They’re raised for their meat.”
Boer goats can be red or white, called nontraditional, or white with brown head, which is called traditional, Vaughn said.
His goal is “to have one of the best, maybe the best herd in Ohio,” he said. He’s moving in the right direction.
Vaughn had the Reserve Senior Champion Buck at the NAILE in 2005. He has won Grand Champion Breeding Doe at the Butler County Fair for the last four years. He was named Goat Showman of Showmen at the 2006 fair. A member of the Junior American Boer Goat Assoc. (JABGA), Vaughn is the first junior board member from the northern states; the association is headquartered in Texas.
Yet Vaughn, who is a member of the Oxford Livestock 4-H Club and in 2005 received his FFA State Degree with his goat project at Butler Tech/Talawanda FFA, takes time to share his knowledge with others, young and old, who frequently stop by his home looking for information.
Also, he encourages those who show goats not to get discouraged when they don’t do well at shows.
“You have to stick with it,” Vaughn said. “There are some judges who won’t like your animal and some that will. Last year I got Reserve Senior Champion buck at NAILE. This year I didn’t make the cut in any of my classes. That’s just how it happens. I’m not discouraged.”
Vaughn is also not discouraged that OSU, where he plans to go to college and study animal science, does not have a Boer goat program.
“I talked to them about it,” he said. “That’s one of my goals - to bring goats to OSU. I could probably help get donations for that. It would be helpful in training veterinarians to treat Boer goats; there are not a lot of vets around here that know how to treat them.”
So Vaughn does a lot of his own veterinary work.
“The younger goats need to be wormed once a month, if they’re being shown,” he said. “The older goats need worming 2-3 times a year. If the ground gets soft, they’ll get foot rot and you have to treat that. I try to trim their feet once or twice a year. I also give shots when they need them.”
He knows each of his animals, what their food rations are, when they need medical treatment, and, if they’re being shown, how to groom them to bring out their strong points and hide the weak spots.
“You just have to work with them,” he said.
For information on Boer goats phone 325-486-2242 or visit www.abga.org
This farm news was published in the Nov. 29, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.