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  • Writer's pictureConstance Wilmoth

Are bucks worth it????

I read a very interesting post this week about how important bucks are to your herd and it really resonated with me. If you read last weeks blog you would know what I was planning to write about my stinky counterparts, but Zoey's health crisis prevented me from doing this. I will update you on how Zoey is doing and where we are going from here. In reading this very interesting post about bucks it made me reflect on the past six months of buck ownership.

My husband was one of those never guys.... he never wanted bucks on the property.... well we have two bucks now.. So we can see how the goat journey caused some thought evolution... He now loves our bucks and regularly comes out to pet them despite their perfume.... Buck ownership has come with its own set of new learnings and experiences. We were lucky to have one buck born on our farm, so we were able to learn slowly through the buck ownership process. When Turbo was born we planned to keep him, because we really liked the genetics of both of his parents and wanted to add more of that to our herd. So from Day 1 we started planning how to keep a buck. For the first few weeks he was no different than his sisters, but soon he was mounting them and I knew we needed to prevent breeding. Thankfully, our friend at Rosebay Ridge made us a buck apron for Turbo that he wore until we completely separated him. Secondarily, we called in a lutalyste prescription from our vet, just in case of buck escapes or failures of the buck apron.

We also knew that we would eventually have to separate Turbo from the rest of the herd, so we went on the quest for not only a companion for him, but also another quality buck to use in our herd. This led us to Swallow Hill farm in Michigan where we purchased Branson. We knew since he was older he would need to be separated immediately, so we began working on a fence and shelter for him, which ended up being electric net fencing and we cleaned out the back of our chicken coop for the boys. The bucks really missed seeing the does, and would cry and cry so we ended up turning one back horse stall into a dual horse/ buck stall where the bucks sleep at night and the horses hang out during the day. This has been working quite well since they are on opposite turn out schedules, but the boys will likely have to move back to the chicken coop for the winter when everyone goes out only for the day.

It has also been a learning experience in managing the bucks, since they are confined and not free range, they eat a lot more hay. Additionally, their hooves require more frequent trimming every 3 weeks or so, since they are almost constantly on soft surfaces. Turbo also requires his bi weekly ammonium chloride treatments, and both bucks get kelp, zinc, minerals and baking soda free choice in their diets daily. I have also made a point to put each buck on the stand weekly to simply check their FAMACHA, hooves, coat and overall well being. They have just added an extra step to the routine, like leading them to and from their fencing each day instead of just opening the stall and letting them run.

I love our bucks and I enjoy spending time with them. They have sweet personalities and I have been working to take the best care of them possible. If you are a goat owner and you love your does, make sure you love your bucks too. They are an essential part of the genetics for the next generation and a major part of your herd. They do require some special care, but with the correct preparation they can be an important addition to your herd!

ZOEY Update:

Her FAMACHA has not improved, but it has not worsened either. I have been supplementing her with daily red cell and I dewormed her a week ago. I ordered Levamisole for use in case her FAMACHA has not improved and it has not arrived yet. Zoey is still acting normal, but we will continue to monitor the situation and work to improve her FAMACHA.

Happy Goating!

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