THE SAVANNA GOAT WAS DEVELOPED IN SOUTH AFRICA.
ARC-Animal Improvement Institute of South Africa wrote that the original Savanna goat was bred out of indigenous African goats by the Cilliers family of Douglas. A white goat was given to Mev Cilliers by her Griqua servents. She acquired further five goats which contained white in their colour pattern and then bred white offspring from this foundation herd. This herd is now kept in a camp near the Vaal River under extremely unfavourable conditions. More recently three more independent herds were established in different parts of the country to meet the demand for white goats for ceremonial purposes. As a result of natural selection Savanna goats are fertile, heat tolerant and parasite resistant and their black skins protect them from strong ultra-violet rays.
Denis Russell of GENE LINK and/or Johan Campher of DNAfrica in conjunction with South African Stud Book and Livestock Improvement Association prepared the following information on the Savanna Goat. The indigenous white goat stud of Messrs. DUS Cillier and Sons was started in approximately 1957 from a mixture of coloured indigenous ewes and a white ram. Selection in this herd was mainly aimed at breeding a white, heat and parasite resistant, functionally efficient, meat-producing goat.
The breed is very adaptable and is successful on extensive grazing, as well as on intensive pastures. Natural selection,(survival of the fittest), played an important part in producing, easy care, heat and drought resistant animals.
Savanna Goats are selected for totally black well-pigmented skins. The skins, as well as the horns, hooves and all bare skin areas, which can be injured by strong ultravoilet rays, must have black pigmentation. These goats have thick pliable skins with short white hair.
The Savanna is not a seasonal breeder and mating can usually be done at a time that will ensure that there is enough feed available at kidding.
The Savanna Goat is a highly fertile and fecund breed and a high twinning rate is generally acheived, even under sub-optimal conditions.
Savanna wethers have a good growth rate and are of an early to medium maturity type that produce carcasses with good confirmation.
The late Mike Browning of Summer Place Farm in North Carolina noted that the original Cilliers herd was un-attended for one month before kidding and two months after kidding. This is the reason for the natural selection that produced todays hardy Savanna Goats. He also advised that on the rocky piedmont soils of North Carolina the Savanna Goats did not need hoof triming.
On our sandy peanut producing soils of eastern Virginia the Savanna Goats do need some hoof triming, but not nearly as often as our Boer Goats. We have also observed the hardiness of our half Savanna kids in that they get up and start nursing much quicker than our non-savanna kids. Our first fullblood Savanna kids are due in mid-April 2002.
SAVANNA MALE Summer Place 101 born in North Carolina now in Virginia
SAVANNA FEMALE Cillier 64 born in South Africa now in Virginia