Why You Really Don’t Want a Billy Goat

Reader Contribution by Maggie Bonham
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“Oreo is tearing up the pen again.” That had been my constant whine when Oreo, my buck goat, decided that being in the main goat pen was boring. He had put four major holes in the stout chain link fencing even though he had access to all the does. It was the main reason we finally put together a buck pen and stuck him in it.

I would’ve called this post “Why You Really Don’t Want a Buck,” but I was afraid newbies may be thinking I meant deer or rabbits when in fact I mean goats. The word “Billy” to describe an unneutered male goat or buck is derogatory and few who are serious into goats use that term.

We put Oreo into the buck pen none too soon. His daughter, Mocha, was getting close to breeding age and his does would be ready to breed again. As much as I didn’t mind him breeding them, this year I wanted control over when the does kidded. We made his pen out of stout 4×4 posts, pallets, field fencing, and lots of electrical wire. Lots. We put three lines of live wire to keep him from bashing the pen to shreds.

That’s when he started going into rut. When bucks go into rut they pee all over themselves. They pee on their beards, in their mouths, on top of their heads, down their front legs, in their water bucket, and just anywhere they feel they should pee, even if it’s you. He peed on Kimi, the wether who hung out with him. And buck piss? Well, it’s just nasty. You can smell his odor halfway to the house. Luckily, we live on close to ten acres, or I’m sure the neighbors would complain.

It’s caustic too. Oreo now has urine burns from his pee scalding the fur off his face. So now he’s stinky AND ugly.

Did I mention obnoxious?

This past summer, Oreo decided I was ready to be his new girlfriend—if you get my meaning. When a 120-pound, lovesick buck decides it’s time to mate with you, he doesn’t take no easily. He didn’t get his wish, but it took a lot of discouragement. And not just a quick rap on the snout or pushing him away. Let me say that we had to be extremely firm with him that I was off limits. And with good reason. I heard of one friend who actually got thrown down on the ground and had to kick her family’s buck in sensitive places when he decided it was time to mate. Yep, they’re that bad. And when they get all ready to woo, they stick their tongues out and make blubbering noises at the object of their affection. Charming.

So, the other night I noticed that Oreo was pretty much done with Delilah, an Alpine doe, and I noticed that Lisa, one of my Saanans, was in heat and had been all moony-eyed at him by his pen. So, I’m thinking “How hard could this be?”

After several tries to get Delilah out of his pen (which result in me getting an electric shock), and several attempts at getting Lisa into his pen (which resulted in me getting shocked twice more), I finally got her in with him. But this wasn’t before he stood blubbering with his head pushing through the gate, and Lisa wanting nothing to do with him. Then, when I opened the gate, he came charging out through my legs to get at Lisa, thus making me stink like buck goat. I managed to get them both inside the pen and locked it.

Walking back to the house, I seriously questioned my sanity about having a buck on premise. But I have nine does and if I want meat and milk, I have to breed them. Paying a stud fee for each would be prohibitively expensive. So, I’m stuck owning a buck.

If you’re a first-time goat owner, I’d recommend that you skip getting a buck and just find someone who has one that will service your does. You do have to breed your does to get milk, but by the time you consider the cost to have a separate pen, feed, and general care (not to mention your neighbors’ ill will from the stench), you may want to rethink buying a buck.

I walked into the house and my husband took a whiff of me and said, “I think you want to change your clothes. You stink.”

Oh gee, thanks, Oreo.