I've been reading Deborah's wonderful book (received it yesterday afternoon and just finished it, lol) and one of the things that got me thinking was her info on breeding. I admit I hadn't giving it much of a thought besides a vague "when the time comes we'll find someone who can breed our three girls". However, as time has progressed I've been feeling more and more like I should have a definite plan... I'd hate to get to fall only to have things not work as planned. First of all, we are the only people in our area that we know who are raising Nigerian Dwarf goats (or any goats for that matter). Second, we haven't had our little herd tested for Johnnes or CAE or any other the other diseases. We bought our goats this spring and each owner stated that they were all disease free etc., but I'm starting to "catch on" that people are pretty picky about who they will service because of these diseases. Plus they are probably busy enough with their own herd. Third, there is the transportation issue - our goats there for a week or a buck here for a month. I'm sure there are other things too... my brain's been a whirl. I did not want to own bucks because we have a small place here, are just starting out (and learning as we go) and all the stink, jumping, more fencing etc. that seems to come with bucks. However, now that I'm really thinking this through it might be a good idea to add a buck (or two). It would give us flexibility in breeding (if we wanted to stagger things a bit), no transportation stress, and we wouldn't have to jump through hoops of testing, coordinating schedules and such.
So what do you all think? Would you add a buck? Would you get one buck and a wether to keep him company? One buck and a meat goat? How much housing, fencing etc would he need and how far should he be from the girls? Should he be grazing in his own electronet or would that not keep him properly contained? If I want to breed this fall/late summer would I need to get a full grown buck? Thanks for all the help!
Because of the risk of disease, it's tough to find someone who will do buck service, and even harder to find someone who will lease a buck or board your does. That means you have to do a driveway breeding. When the doe comes into heat, you have to drop everything and drive her over to the buck for a date. Most people give up with that idea after a year or two because it's a hassle. The other thing is that it's easy to get the timing slightly off. A doe can only get pregnant for a few hours every 3 weeks, so it's easy to miss that window and take her to the buck a little early or a little late. If you are planning to get NDs, they are not as stinky or difficult to handle as larger bucks, so most people with NDs do have their own bucks.
Two schools of though on the bucks companion -- get a wether or another buck. A wether is cheaper, but a second buck is inevitable if you plan to ever keep a daughter from your first buck, so some people just get the second buck right off the bat. And bucks do need companions. They're herd animals, and if they don't have a companion, they will forever be trying to get to the does, even if they are not in heat. I explain this in detail in the book.
You should always have two fences between the bucks and does, whether it's Electronet or woven wire.
ND bucks can reliably breed does by the time they're 6-8 months old. I know there are people online who swear they've had 2 month old bucks breed does, but I'd like to see the DNA tests to prove it. I know 2 month old bucks will try, but I also know that I've had 6 month old bucks breed does and not get them pregnant. I think most bucks in the 2-3 months age range are shooting blanks.
Thanks for the reply, Deborah! I'm so glad to have this answer now (and not be scrambling later). I hadn't even considered the need for two bucks, makes sense. Thanks for the link too... I'll definitely be checking that out! I've been reading through that site and learning a bunch.
I've enjoyed your book tremendously. It has been hard to find a book that is for owners of small herds who are naturally minded and want to eat what they raise (as opposed to books on conventionally raised, larger herds or people looking for backyard pets).
On the double fencing. Would stock panels work for bucks also?
I guess I'm off to shop for bucks and more fencing...
Stock panels work great for bucks! I prefer the combination livestock panels because they are as tall as cattle panels, but they have horizontal wires at the bottom that are closer together like pig panels. Makes it a little more challenging for kids to go through. Some will figure out that they can get through the openings higher up, but not all of them. You can use four stock panels and rotate them around your yard.
Location: Woods of Northern Indiana
posted 4 years ago
That sounds perfect! I was wondering about a dogloo (or something like it) for shelter. Any opinions on that for bucks? Or should they have a permanent paddock that they come back to every night?
People do things like a dog house for bucks, but it should be bottomless. Unlike dogs, the goats won't go outside to poop and pee, so if the dog house has a bottom, you'll have to clean it out every few days. Dogloos are pretty popular. People just leave the bottom off. You also need to put straw in there for insulation during winter. You also have to make sure that one of the bucks doesn't keep the other one outside during rain or snow.
Location: Woods of Northern Indiana
posted 4 years ago
Got it. That makes sense. I was thinking plastic might be lighter to move around than the wood structures our limited building skills have come up with.
Thanks a bunch!
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