The Savanna goat’s origin began in the Savanna Veld of South Africa in 1957. Lubbe Cilliers (DSU farm) took his first stud buck and selected for all-white goats from the indigenous bush goats. He wanted Hardiness, survivability, and adaptability as his primary traits. By 1993, the Savanna had distinguished itself as its own breed and the Savanna Goat Breeders Society (Association) was formed and developed breed standards in South Africa.
Importation to the United States
In 1994 Jürgen Schulz (JCS farm) imported the first and only live Savannas into the United States. These savannas came in with the famous CODI/PCI Boer goat flight. Mr. Schulz kept and bred Savannas for several years, thus becoming the first Savanna breeder in the United States. In 1998, these 32 Savannas were to sold to the public at his Kifaru dispersion sale. Each goat sold was given a certificate and pedigree of its breeding. These first buyers became the breeders of a new industry. In 2000, these breeders commissioned Pedigree International to track and maintain a herd book of these rare goats. In 1999, Keri-Rose consulting (KRI) imported embryos from South Africa to their existing Savanna and Boer goat program in Canada. These Savannas born in 2000 were brought to the United States with some of their existing herd. Ms. Denise Peterson (Amore Arts farm) imported frozen embryos from South Africa in 2000 to help diversify her Savanna genetics in California with 8 live kids. Ms. Peterson’s Amore Art’s California genetics are considered the rarest among many Savanna breeders today. In 2006, Mr. Kenneth Mincey commissioned frozen embryos to move from South Africa to Australia for implantation into recipient goats. The 21 Savanna goats would eventually be imported to his Georgia farm (MGF) in 2010. The Mincey’s performed embryo transplant programs to grow these numbers before being released to the public. These are the only four sources of Savannas in North America. Any new genetic material from South Africa is currently banned under international law.
- Exceptional Mothering skills
- Parasite tolerance
- Aggressive Foragers
- Very Aggressive Breeders
- Vigorous, fast-growing kids
- Less Producer input
- Strong legs and hoofs
- Higher weaning weights
- Excellent for creating percentage goat with added muscle
- Improved muscle carcass yields
These South African Savanna genetics have been highly sought after by many breeders. A great diversity of breeding programs currently exist today, from DNA-based breed conservation, full blood seed stock creation, percentage goats for meat production, and the creation of new American-made hybrid experiments.
The Savanna goat has proven itself from the dry heat of the Veld, to the harsh winters in Alberta, and in the wet humid climate of the southeast USA. This goat adds muscling and heartiness with moderate rancher inputs, giving a nice return on investment.