In 1999, a Jimboomba Queensland breeder, Wallace Kier had access to Kalahari Red embryos from Africa. And wonderfully, for him, two of the importation a doe and a buck, were pure black. The cessation of the importation of embryos from South Africa caused by the occurrence of foot and mouth disease there, means that now stock to widen the gene pool cannot come from South Africa at the present and this may be the case for some years. There is therefore a limited number of Kalahari genetics in Australia with a select number of stud breeders.
Kalahari Reds are ideally suited to the harsh and outstretched conditions of large parts of Australia. In South Australia they are bred in harsh conditions, arid and semi-desert areas. To prevail under these conditions, animals must be sun-resistant and hardy. Over the years, a natural selection process has ensured that only the fittest animals have survived and very little artificial selection took place. Their excellent mobility allows them to walk far in search of food and water. They feed on a vast variety of plants and are resistant to disease and parasites. Kalahari Reds are less susceptible to diseases and need to be inoculated and dosed far less than other breeds, which makes them easy to care for and less labor intensive. The limited use of vaccines makes the production of organically produced meat possible. A further boon is lean meat with an excellent taste and texture.
Does have excellent mothering instincts and kid right in the veld and raise their kids there. No labourers are needed to assist does to find their young. In South Australia selection is made strongly in favour of these attributes because kids that are properly cared for by their mothers will do likewise for their own progeny. Through natural selection processes, only the fittest mothers have survived. The does are fertile and produce plenty of milk and, as a result, the kids grow fast. Breeders select for twins that are usually of equal strength. To prevent kid mortalities as a result of an inability to suck, breeders select specifically for well-developed and properly attached teats. Generally, newborn kids are strong and have a strong urge to suck. They herd well and animals flock together. They breed all year round and will kid three times every two years.
Kalahari Reds can be used to give indigenous goats a uniform, solid red colour, with all the unique advantages that this brings. Their earthy colour provides a good camouflage that protects them from predators. White kids would be seen easily by foxes, pigs and eagles. They are fully pigmented and, therefore, able to endure heat and strong sunshine. Their dark coats and long ears provide good heat resistance and will, therefore, feed for longer during the heat of the day, which ultimately means higher weight gains.
The farmer can cross-breed Kalahari Reds to improve the carcass mass of indigenous goats. This means more meat per hectare. They are tall and long, which gives them excellent mobility. As they are taller than most other goats they can take advantage of more feed. Their carcass size is similar to the Boer goat. The average weight of a buck is as much as 115kg, while does reach 75kg. Kids grow fast. In Australia, young kids show weight gains of 1.5kg per week, with some even exceeding 400g per day!
A shipment by air of Kalahari Red’s are due to arrive from Queensland into Kuching Sarawak next month fro a breeder. It will be interesting to see how they fare. Personally I don’t see any issue in them tackling the weather but the challenge will be in getting them used to the local feed and see if they can do well on it.