Here in Tennessee we don’t get to experience the beauty of a snowy winter very often. But it sure is worth the wait when it does come!
We entered 3 of our Jacob sheep fleeces in the Wilson County Fair wool show. There were around 50 fleeces entered and our Jacob ram fleece won grand champion and best in show! Our other two fleeces also placed very well! The grand champion fleece was a lamb fleece that was grown by OUR FATHER’S GIFT MOSES. The two other fleeces came from OUR FATHER’S GIFT CHEAH and OUR FATHER’S GIFT ABIGAIL, both two year old ewes.
Do You Love Your Buck?
Over my many years of raising goats, I have heard countless stories of mean, dangerous, and uncontrollable bucks. While I do not deny that those animals exist, I believe that nearly all of them would not have been a problem if they had been properly handled from birth. Many people say that they love goats, when in reality they only love the does, wethers and kids. They see bucks as smelly, sticky, gross, dirty animals that only exist to make more does, milk and kids – a “necessary evil,” if you will. If you can’t see through all the urine-soaked hair and stench to appreciate him for what he is and for what he adds to your farm, then it would be much better for you and the buck if you artificially inseminate your does or bring them to someone else’s buck each year for breeding. That said, if you’re up to the challenges of giving that big sticky guy a hug, then welcome to the wonderful smelly world of bucks!
Bucks are amazing animals and they all have unique personalities. Some are gentle and calm. Others are rude and obnoxious. Some are even dangerous. In most ways, they are just like does and wethers and they deserve to be treated just as well too. Don’t lock them up by themselves and expect them to be happy. They need another goat as a companion and should have all the same quality care that you would give to your does. However, they are not exactly like does and wethers. Because they are male animals, they do have the potential be more dangerous and unpredictable. Often they are bigger and stronger than you, which gives them an intimidation factor. In order for you to enjoy the company of your bucks, and handle them safely, the relationship must be one of mutual respect. People create dangerous bucks because they do not respect them from the start. You may think it is fun and cute for a buck to butt you when he is a little kid, but this behavior is very dangerous and should never be allowed at any age. The same goes for standing and jumping on you. You will have a very dangerous animal on your hands if you allow him to get away with this kind of behavior. It will not be funny when he is 300lbs!
Just as he should never be allowed to disrespect you, you must always give him his due respect too. Don’t grab at his horns if he has horns. If he is polled or disbudded, don’t push on the top of his head. He will see that as a challenge. Always be aware that he is a potentially dangerous animal, and like any male animal, he can be unpredictable. Don’t “trust” him. I absolutely love my bucks. I give them hugs and go on walks with them, but I always watch my back and am aware of where they are around me especially when they have horns. Even if they are not trying to hurt you, they can sometimes run up beside you and catch you with them. Don’t get too scared though. Most of the bucks I have owned have been gentle and easy to handle as long as they have been treated properly.
Training them to lead as bucklings will also make handling them a lot easier when they are big. Some of my bucks have been trained to lead well by their beards or the scruff of hair above their shoulders. They should still be trained to lead with a collar or halter too, but it is nice sometimes to just have something to hold them by when you need to get control of them quickly.
If you are not starting with a kid, you may end up with a buck that already has bad habits. Bottle bucklings in particular are predisposed to being more dangerous. He must be strictly disciplined for his bad behavior. Normally a good whack to the nose is enough for rude behavior like flapping his tongue at you. Never lose your temper with any animal, kicking and hitting him! You are the one that will end up getting hurt. His head is a lot harder than you, especially if he has horns. If he is a truly dangerous animal though, don’t keep him. There are so many good-tempered bucks out there that it is not worth the risk. Nor is it a good idea to breed that kind of temperament into his kids. We have sometimes culled bucks for meat because they were just too dangerous.
Hopefully this has not scared you away from ever having a buck. That was never my intention. I do hope that you now have a better understanding of how to handle them in a way that will make them fun and safe so you can enjoy your big stinky guys to their fullest.
Written By Lenore Thorne
I’m so excited to see kids from all these breedings! Contact Us if you are interested purchasing a kid from any of these planned breedings. Not all the kids will be available, but I can put you on a waiting list to be contacted when we decide who will be available.
All the kids will be at least 50% Oberhasli and some will be 75%. See our Dairy Goats page for more information about the breeding and show records of each of our animals. All does will be ADGA registerable as either experimental or grade experimental. Experimental bucks will be registarable as well.
Our whole dairy goat herd is CAE, CL, and Johne’s tested negative. Their last test was on 8/31/2018 done by UBRL. I can forward the lab report to you.
Dairy Goat Breedings Fall 2018
Warren County Dairy Goat Show was great! We showed 5 does:
BELACRES GRETA won Recorded Grade Grand Champion and Best of Breed.
To lose an animal will always be a trial for me. I have loved and cared for that animal. Planned their future, tried to make them happy. And then all those hours, thoughts, dreams, and dollars seem wasted.
Over the years of farming, I have lost many animals. Some were kids that never even got the chance to take their first breath. Mothers have died and taken their unborn with them. A favorite buck dies suddenly with no warning. A gentle calf was never given the chance to run and jump for joy. A beloved doeling, with all the potential in the world, dead. And the list goes on. And it hurts every time. I would ask myself if there had been anything more I could have done for them. Sometimes the answer was yes, and that is always when it hurt the most, because I felt like I had let them down somehow.
Had all the hours of stress and vet bills, trying desperately to bring that animal back from the brink of death, been wasted? Did their life have any purpose?
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
As hard as it may be to see at the time, their lives, all of them, did have a purpose. It’s my responsibility to make the most use out of their deaths, because I know that God is working even that out for my good. I need to learn as much as possible from their deaths, so that maybe next time the outcome can be different. Sometimes that has meant improving management, or nutrition. Or keeping certain medications on hand and removing hazards from their pastures. Maybe the only thing I got out of a death is to just spend more time in the barn and never take their lives for granted.
Whatever it is, I know I can trust God that their lives were not wasted.