Buck Beauty Day......
I fulfilled my duties as a crazy goat lady Monday night..... I had been planning to do a buck beauty day for several weeks now. Well, you know life happens and sometimes things just get pushed to the wayside. Monday, I was hell bent to accomplishing this goal, because it was one of the last days of the year that I knew it would be in the 80's and my stinky boys needed one last bath before next spring! This really wasn't because they were too stinky, because at this point they smell like goats, but not horrible, pee covered, filthy bucks. It really was because back in August when I last trimmed the boys hooves I found urine scald on both Branson and Turbo. I wanted to make sure that they were as clean as possible going into rut.
It was also imperative, as we march towards my buck collection on October 11th that my boys are in tip top health! This means that in order to get the most straws of semen from the bucks and of the highest quality, their health has to be paramount. I also want to give my bucks and my does the best chance to produce healthy kids for next spring. In my opinion the best way to do this is to ensure that my does and bucks are as healthy as possible. This means, ensuring we are meeting their nutritional needs, along with mitigating any internal or external parasites and ensuring we are staying on top of their hoof trimming and maintenance needs.
This means I set out Monday after work in my muck boots to head out and take care of my boys. First off, I gathered the three amigos from the field to bring them down to the barn. Then I set off to wash each of the bucks, focusing on their legs, belly and barrel. Ensuring that all of the soap is removed is incredibly important , as any soap left on the skin can easily burn them and cause many more issues for you. Then, I put the boys up on the stand to trim their hooves. This has been a point that I have been focusing on closely since the spring. The big boys struggled with hoof rot, mainly because the outside of their house gets pretty muddy. I think I have solved that issue, by laying sand down, and by using coppertox on a daily basis this spring. But, as many people know, hoof horn tissue takes a long time to grow back, so I was just trimming off some of the hoof that had grown down from the bout of hoof rot, making my job a little more challenging, but even more important. I took the opportunity to remove any crevice's that bacteria could be hiding in and douse the hooves in a preventative dose of coppertox. Then I moved on to taking each bucks temperature, as a fever can easily harm semen quality and motility and would put a real damper on our collection in October. Thankfully all of our boys had normal temperatures.
I moved from there to checking each buck's Famacha scores, this is an essential part of our parasites control program. Thankfully, all of the bucks were nice and rosy pink. I did take this as the annual opportunity to deworm them to ensure they are not carrying a parasite load going into rut and breeding season. I want to stress that FAMACHA is a wonderful technique to understand where your herd is at, by I recommend at least annual deworming of animals even if their FAMACHA has remained consistent all year long. This is not indicative of all internal parasites, only a fecal can determine those loads. I have found that it is best to deworm my bucks in the fall with Valbazen on an annual basis and this works out well for me, but make sure you are using all of the tools available to you in order to determine what works best for you.
Then, I moved on to mineral supplementation, I use three products Replamin gel, copper bolus and Selenium and Vitamin E paste. Replamin is key, as it has many micronutrients in it that are not easily absorbed through feed, minerals, hay or other forage. I also live in an area where the soil is deficient in selenium, thus, making our feed and hay selenium poor. Selenium is paramount in importance for healthy goats overall, but also plays a pivotal role in semen quality. Finally, I copper bloused my two adult bucks, Branson tends to show copper deficiency in a fish tail in the winter time. I also find that adequate annual copper boluses aide my goats in their parasite resistance. After all of this, my bucks were ready and willing to go back to their house. With good luck on our side, we will have a successful
collection and breeding season! I hope that your bucks are all doing well and that you are looking forward to the impending breeding season. Happy Goating!