Monday, December 31, 2012


Bucklet was born last March. His mother died shortly after his birth, so Bucklet became a bottle kid. We bonded with him immediately. He was affectionate, cute, and tiny. He maaed mournfully when we left him in the barnyard after feeding him. He spent most of his time with Ditsy Baby, another bottle animal, and in general, hung out with forty sheep and four does.
We only keep male animals in two situations, one as a vasectomized teaser to get the females cycling together, or two as a breeding male. With only four does, we didn’t need a teaser, but we did need a breeding buck, so we decided to keep Bucklet. He grew slowly. I wasn’t sure if he’d be tall enough or mature enough to breed the does come fall. The does spent September hanging out at the fence between their pasture and the ram pasture. I didn’t think they could be bred through the fence. But eventually they stopped hanging out at the fence line.
By November, Bucklet had changed, like a young man, spitting and swaggering as he entered puberty. He didn’t spit but he did swagger and he developed an even more disturbing habit. He urinated on his face and front legs. Adult bucks also stick their heads in a doe’s urine stream to see if she is in heat. No wonder male goats are known for their horrid odor.
When we put Winthrop the ram and Bucklet the buck in with the females, Bucklet seemed to have no interest in the does; he mounted sheep after sheep. He mounted sheep from the front, from the side, and occasionally from the proper position in the back. But he was fortunately too short and of the wrong breed to impregnate my sheep.
Over a month later, he began following the does. Perhaps he had figured out sex while practicing on his sheep friends and was now sure enough of himself to take his place as dominant male in his goat flock.
We returned Winthrop and Bucklet to the ram pasture in mid-December. They had been with their females for two heat cycles, so we should have a good percentage of pregnant animals. Three weeks later, Winthrop went over the fence and Bucklet went through the fence back into the barnyard. We wrestled them back onto the ram pasture and reinforced the fences. Did they leave because their ladies were in heat or because we hadn’t fed them first?
We won’t know how many animals are pregnant or how well our new breeding males have done until lambing begins in April. I can hardly wait until then.

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