Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
A phrase we hear quite often is: “oh, I don’t want to keep a buck, I’ll use someone else’s”. Our answer is “why not?”
I have so many reasons to keep a buck, it was worth writing this post just about our answers to “why not?”
First of all, bucks, if treated right and raised correctly are even friendlier than the does are! Our bottle raised buckling’s are silly friendly, gentle, and are the first ones at the fence for attention when anyone drives in the yard, the UPS delivery guy, the meter reader, or any person who will take a second and say “hi” to them.
One statement I made above is if they are raised correctly, and this is a really important bit of information! A buck alone (housed without a companion) can often time be a nasty buck. The only one they can interact with is you, when you enter their pen to feed them. If you have ever watched bucks play together they head butt (horned or no horns, doesn’t matter), they jump up on their hind legs in what looks like threatening positions, it’s all play, but when they do it to a human, it can be very intimidating
A buck should never be the solitary occupant of a pen, he should always have a pen mate! Either another buck, or a neutered male works just great, but again, never, ever alone!
Another reason for keeping a buck is disease. What? Well, if you are planning to bring your does to another farm for breeding, there are several things to think about. Any virus, worm, sickness, bacteria, and etc. that might be at that farm, will now come and visit you at your farm. There may not be one single sign of any problems at your chosen breeder farm, the goats that live there could have built up a good immunity, but when it comes to your farm, it could “go viral”. And the same thing goes for renting or leasing a buck.
I always get a charge out of folks who talk about quarantining new animals, but think nothing of bringing their animals to someone else’s farm for breeding. Works on one hand, but not the other? NOT.
And, what happens when your doe, who you know has a short heat cycle, comes into heat on Thanksgiving Day? With your own buck, you just put her in for a visit, without your own buck, you either bug someone on a holiday, or lose a whole heat cycle.
Quite a few years ago, we took three does on to our farm to breed to our Boer bucks. The girls went into heat, we bred them, and they went home. One of the girls either didn’t take, or absorbed her fetus and went back into heat…on CHRISTMAS DAY! These people called us and wanted to bring their girl back and have her bred again. We said they could, but believe me, we we’re real happy about giving up our Christmas!
Having raised several different breeds over the last 24 years, I can tell you that some breeds of goat bucks smell more than others, and some types have nearly no odor at all! Our Boer bucks and Angora bucks had virtually no odor. Considering the fact that there were three of each in the pen, it was surprising how little odor there was.
On the other hand, my friend Martha, who raises Nigerian Dwarfs, has some very smelly little guys! Seeing that she has several of these little darlings, the smell during rut really cuts down on her visitor population!
Our dairy bucks have definitely got an odor, not over whelming, but it is there. Our girls think the boys cologne “eau de buck” is just delightful.
Remember, once all your girls are bred, rut will end, and the smell will go away!
Don’t forget about our next Goat School coming up in October, on Columbus Day weekend. Come, join us, have fun, eat well, and make new friends!
Want to learn more? My “Goat School Manual”and "Goat School: A Master Class in Caprine Care and Cooking" are available.