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Rulton's Goat Farm

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Breeding- Male Goats

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First and foremost let me start by saying PLEASE, DO NOT let your buck(s) and does live together. If you do, you will have no control over breeding and will have no idea when to expect kids. Because of this you will be unable to give the doe proper prenatal care and also will have no idea when she is due to kid. You will be unable to prepare and you will risk loosing babies. Our bucks and does live very happy, separate lives, and only meet each other when we take them on "dates".

A goat kid of either sex can be fertile at 7 weeks of age (though they should not be bred at that age). Intact bucks and does over 8 weeks of age should not be kept together because a young buck can, and will, breed a female at 2 months of age, this includes his mother and 2 month old sister!

Getting a buck:

Often, people just starting out with goats think, "I should get a pair: a boy and girl". This is a natural way to think. But... bucks are totally different than does and are really not a good thing to get for someone first starting out (see below for more detailed information). We raised goats for about four years before we got our quality bucks. We started out with an inferior buck (please read Our First Goat), realized our mistake, got rid of him and then didn't get bucks again for 4 years. I speak from experience, it is much easier... and cheaper to take your does on "dates". Even if you think you are not interested in "papers" and "breeds", I always recommend that you try to "breed up". Use a good buck, with good genetics, that will improve your herd.


 

Remember:"The buck is half your herd". A bad buck can ruin your herd just as fast as a good buck can improve it. Just because he has "the equipment" does not mean he should be used for breeding. When you are ready to get a buck, you must be fully prepared to spend in the neighborhood of $300 or more on a good buck with papers. We, and some other breeders may also, sell quality bucks without papers for a greatly reduced price. This means you still get the quality genetics, but you cannot register the babies. You may occasionally find a quality buck without papers from other souses, but you must be very careful to know what you are really getting. You want to make sure you see at least the buck's mother, and possibly the father, of any buck you decide on. Look at the mothers udder, because is she has a "bad" udder, those udder genes will be passed on through her son and you really do not want that.

We made the mistake of using just any-ol'-buck our first year with goats and have regretted it even since. It took years (I mean years) to breed out the bad genes that buck passed to his offspring (children, grandchildren, great grandchildren). After years of trying to improve on this original breeding, we actually have none of this first buck's blood in our herd because we ended up selling all his progeny since they just were never "as good" as the other kids we got when we bred the same doe to good bucks. Some of his progeny just carried out-and-out flaws that we could never breed out.

It is much cheaper to take your does on "dates". You can vastly improve your herd for a lot less money. Look for a quality buck from a reputable breeder. You could probably find a wonderful buck with a stud fee of about $25. Look around for a good buck and use him. You will be glad you did. If you have the money to invest (it really is an investment in the future of your herd) you could make great leaps forward in your herd. For example, you may be able to breed your doe to a "$1000 buck" for the stud fee of $50-$75.

 

Can I keep a buck as a pet?

We don't recommend keeping a bucks as a pet because of their bucky characteristics. Wethers make excellent pets, but in our own opinion, bucks do not. This is because wethers never develop "bucky" characteristics. Bucks are totally different animals than wethers and does. It may be hard for you to believe that your cute little buckling will change, but take my word for it, he will.

If you decide to keep a buck as a pet, that is your decision, but please read the information supplied below first and be prepared. I provide this information because I truly CARE about bucks (as I care deeply for all animals). I know that in some cases of a buck being kept as a pet, he may eventually become unwanted because of his bucky characteristics, that his owner had no idea about. He may then be "discarded" and this poor, loving boy, gets taken to the auction and/or eventually getting "tied out" alone somewhere to live a lonely sad life. This is a scenario I would like to help avoid.

 



 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

What are the "bucky" characteristics?

Smell:
As your buck grows he will develop a distinctive odor. Many people find it a bad smell, others don't find it that bad, they just find it strong. The odor will not be quite so bad the first year, and you may say, "This isn't so bad. My buck is not going to smell so much." But as he gets older, the smell will strengthen and eventually you may not want to touch your buck, because the smell will get on your hands and clothes (and everything else). A drawback to this is a friendly buck will want you to pet him and you will get the smell on you. We have gotten used to it, but you will definitely want to wash your hands and change clothes before going out in public after petting your buck.

Does and wethers (neutered males) do not develop a smell like bucks do. It is bucks and their smell that have given all goats a "bad rap" for smelling. If you keep your buck with your does (not recommended) the buck smell will get on the does, and if you milk the does, it can get in their milk.

Urinating:
As bucks mature and go into rut, the male equivalent of heat (in the Fall), they will start peeing on their front legs and faces. They have a kind of "spray attachment" on the penis and can really spray. He will spray his urine into his mouth and then curl up his lip to get a good whiff. His legs, face and beard will eventually be coated with a sticky layer of urine (irresistible to a doe). Once rut is over (in the Winter) he may, or may not, stop peeing on himself.

One drawback to this urinating is that if you spend time around the buck when he is in this habit, you could possibly get sprayed on as well (time to change your clothes again).

Aggression:
As a buck matures, he will get more aggressive. This is natural. Even the sweetest, most well behaved buck may challenge you, as well as his companions, from time to time (usually during breeding season). The larger the buck grows, the more dangerous this can potentially be. You must always make sure that your buck knows that you are boss as early as possible. A wether will not typically develop the aggression of a buck. Note that not all bucks become dangerously aggressive. We have only had one dangerous buck. Mostly our boys are just extremely stinky sweethearts, who would not think of hurting us (on purpose) but we still treat them with caution and respect during rut.

Other habits:
As he goes into rut, your buck will want to make sure all his equipment is in proper working order, so he will be ready at a moment's notice to breed a doe. He will get erections quite often. He will check himself with his mouth (yes, he will be able to reach).

A buck will practice his sexual technique on his male companions. He may also try to practice on you if you are not careful. He may not intend to hurt you, but you should be very careful when you are around a buck in rut.

Please also read about buck behavior here.

In their defense...

If you have the space, are physically capable of handling them, and do not mind "their funky ways" bucks can be quite amusing. We love our bucks very much. They are great, friendly and funny, but we also have 20 does to be serviced, so keeping bucks (we have three) makes financial sense for us.

Buck Behavior:

Bucks have their own special way of getting the ladies in the mood. Along with their smell and peeing habits (discussed above) they also have some certain behaviors that may seem odd, especially if you have never seen it before. These mannerisms are most often exhibited toward the doe in heat, but because breeding and dominance can be so closely related, you will also see does and wethers, as well as bucks asserting their dominance over each other (or you) by exhibiting these traits. Also, does in heat will exhibit these traits and we call this "acting bucky".

These mannerisms are totally normal and the buck may try them on you as well as a doe. When a buck is "in the mood" he doesn't always care what sex or species he tries to breed. If a buck exhibits these traits at you, he may have a crush on you and you should be careful that he doesn't try to mount you when you aren't looking.

  • Tongue flapping- The buck will lower his head and flap his tongue at the side of the doe (or you).
  • Leg pawing - The buck paws at the side of the doe with a straightened leg. This is usually done at the same time as tongue flapping.
  • Blubbering- This is done toward the doe (or you); it can can be done in conjunction with leg pawing and tongue flapping.

 

"Should I keep him a buck or wether him" and "Should I buy that buck" Q&A:

When do a really need to get a buck?

We recommend, for most cases, that you hold off on getting your own buck until you have at least 6 does (depending on your particular situation, of course). Generally, this is really the only time a buck really approaches paying for himself. Remember, most of the year, he is doing nothing but eating and taking up space, but you still must properly feed him, house him and take care of all his health needs. This can add up to a lot of time and money. For the first couple of our goats keeping years we would drive as far as two hours, one way, over the mountains, to breed our does. This was more cost effective at the time than actually having our own buck. But, as our herd grew, it because obvious when it was time for us to get our own bucks (we started with two).

Just because he has a penis is not a good enough reason to keep/buy a buck.

As stated above: "The buck is half your herd". You are basing the future of your herd on this animal. You need to consider, will he improve your herd or will he have a negative effect. Just making more kids is not enough. If you are going to keep goats... any kind of goats, with papers or no papers, there is no reason why you shouldn't try to improve them. To improve your herd, you need a quality buck.

Where will you keep your buck?

IMPORTANT: We very strongly recommend that bucks be housed separate from your does. This is the only way you can have control over your breeding. If you "run" the buck with the does, you will have no idea when your does are going to kid. Due to this, you will not be prepared for kidding and you run the risk of loosing the kids, because you were not their the assist if needed.

When you house the buck away from the does, you must provide a companion for him, this can be either another buck or a wether. Goats are herd animals and it is cruel to keep one alone. Keeping a lone buck can also lead to "cranky buck syndrome".

Do you want papers?

Many people do not care whether their buck is registered or not. This is a personal choice. The first year we kept a buck, we did not worry about a buck having papers, and we have regretted it ever since. Keep in mind, it takes just as much time and money to raise a registered goat as a non-registered goat, the big difference is the price you will get for them when you go to sell them. You just cannot ask for, and expect to get, top dollar for a goat without papers.

Please read the information presented HERE.

Should you get more than one?

It sound extravagant, but to avoid Inbreeding, if you are going to keep one buck, you should conceder getting two bucks (since the one will need company anyway). This way you are not forced to keep breeding the same buck to all your does every year.

How to choose a buck to breed your does to:

Please read the information presented HERE.

 

Breeding:

What age can a buck breed?

Believe it or not, a little buck can, and will, breed a female at 2 months of age, this includes his mother and 2 month old sister!

If you plan to use a buckling for breeding, we recommend that you weight until he is at least 7 months old to make sure he is fertile and healthy enough to accomplish his task.

At what age should I remove the buckling from the does?

You should remove bucks from all does at two months of age (unless you want everyone to get pregnant in a totally disorganized manner).

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