Condobolin-Goats – The Origins

The Condobolin-Goats breed has its origins in Australia’s feral or rangeland goats. The first goats came to Australia during the early settlement years and some even came in the First Fleet. Dairy goats with Saanen characteristics and Angoras followed with the early pioneers and settlers during the 1830's. The following years also saw various other breeds arrive and eventually many either escaped or were released into the bush.

These goats formed the basis for a very large wild goat population. Interbreeding and very successful adaptation to the harsh local environment produced a rather nondescript but very tough animal. Some 200 years of natural selection has resulted in a very hardy and resilient and what is a uniquely Australian bush goat. They are referred to as feral or more latterly as a rangeland goat. In effect the more familiar Boer goat and the Kalahari Red goat are also the result of similar selection exercises.


How Condobolins Started

Back in the 1970's a program was started by the NSW (Australia) Department of Agriculture at their Condobolin research facility to upgrade the meat potential of this important animal and harness the many desirable meat-goat attributes. Australia was at this time and still remains the largest exporter of goat-meat in the world. The feral or range land bush goat has been the mainstay of the goat meat industry. Market forces however dictated a consistency of shape, size, weight and finish, and in this respect the feral could not meet the changing goat meat market requirements.

Condobolin-Goats Program – Breeding Aims

The Condobolin Meat Goat Project principal aim was supply the expanding Australian goat meat export market with the product quality and consistency that it demanded. The breeding aims were to capitalize on the natural hardiness, strong survival instincts, the good mothering abilities and the structural soundness of the wild Australian bush goat, and for goats to produce the maximum possible weight of saleable lean meat per doe per year.

The foundation stock for the program and a series of carefully planned mating was from carefully selected animals taken from herds of feral bush goats out in the Cobar and Wanaaring districts of Western NSW. The does were initially selected based on overall physical conformation and the yearling bucks chosen for their robust, and superior growth rate for age. The program then used 2 Anglo Nubian bucks, and they were selected for their physical soundness and minimal inbreeding. These were added to increase both stature and milk production.

The first in a series selected mating started in 1974 and the selection criteria was based on the kid growth rate, fertility and the kid survival rate. Preference was given to twin born and twin reared kids.

By 1980, the program had breeding outcomes with an average live weight of 5 month old twin born and reared bucklings, that were grown entirely on semi-arid range land, of 30 kilograms. This is impressive given there was no supplementary feeding or other growth or nutritional enhancements. In 1981 the first selected Condobolin Meat bucks were offered for sale to the public. Unfortunately this project ceased in 1987 and Boer goats soon started their emergence in the Australian Goat meat scene.


Condobolin-Goats Program – Breeding Aims

I have always been intensely interested in the excellent breeding outcomes of the program and some 20 years on now have a Boer Goat meat enterprise. The Condobolin-goats as a breed had nearly ceased to exist and the characteristics of the Condobolin-Goats breed I had considered as desirable attributes to try and infuse into my commercial herd. It wasn’t easy to track down the few remaining breeders and now I have a small Condobolin-Goats core herd to start with.

The fertility outcomes of the Condobolin Goats breeding program were clear. The average weaning rate of the animals I now have, had a remarkable number of 2.4 kids per doe, which is astounding given that most enterprise aims focus on achieving a weaning rate of 1.5 kids per year. Go back to Boer-Goats-Australia. Long term raising this has significant commercial advantages as well as improving the overall herd characteristics. Condobolin-Goats

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