* Blubbering- This is done toward the doe (or you); it can be done in conjunction with leg pawing and tongue flapping (sounds like "Wa wa wa wa).

Buck Care

Bucks are not hard to care for. They need a separate pen from the does when they are not breeding so you don't have doe kids being bred too young or to their father. However since their one purpose in life is to procreate, they should not be made pets out of (can become pushy or aggressive) and should be treated with respect and do not rough house with them, because they can and will use their horns on you!

 

Vaccines/Deworm:

Bucks should be yearly vaccinated with a CD/T vaccine, ether the Bar Vac, or the Covexin 8 product which covers more. I normally vaccinate the bucks right before breeding to make sure they are current. Also, since I vaccinate my does with Lepto-5, the buck should get this with the CD/T shot, again, before he goes with the does. Deworm with Ivomec cattle dewormer as needed, 1cc per #50 pounds, do fecals to find which worms are the most common on your farm, and don't deworm unless needed, this just makes the worms become more resistant to the dewormer faster. Bucks can also be dewormed with Valbazen dewormer, follow directions on bottle.

 

Hoof Trimming:

A buck's hooves should be trimmed regularly, since each goat is different, and the hooves grow slower/faster then others, you should check each goat monthly to find which ones need it. It is easier to keep the hooves trimmed then to let them go, the buck can become lame, or get hairy warts or hoof rot. A lame buck will be unable to breed, so this is important!

 

Companionship:

A buck should have another buck or wether as a buddy to keep him company and prevent meanness from boredom. If the buck is horned, his buddy should be horned, and if not, the same. This keeps them on even ground with no unfair advantages.

 

Feed:

Good, grassy hay with a little (just a sprinkle) alfalfa is best for bucks, you don't want them to get too fat or they may develop reproductive problems or blockage. The only time I give the bucks/wethers grain is during the breeding season (which is also winter) to give them extra energy. Use a mix that has Ammonia Chloride to prevent urinary stones (urinary calculi) which if untreated can cause death when the bladder bursts! A goat mineral block is important as well to ensure the bucks/wethers get enough minerals and vitamins. Sweetlix blocks for goats work great, I use the #988 20% Protein All Natural block. Always have fresh, clean water, promptly clean any tank/bucket that gets feed/dirt/algae because all goats are picky and will not drink dirty water. In the winter a heated bucket or tank is your best bet, you won't have to worry about the water freezing and having to haul hot water to thaw it. Make sure any cords are out of reach and the bucket/tank can't be tipped over.

 

Fencing:

Cattle panels have worked the best for me for bucks, not only are they near impossible for them to get out; they also can't beat up the fence with their horns, and are more reluctant to beat on metal T-posts. Depending on how many bucks/wethers will be in the pen will determine the size of the pasture. The more bucks/wethers in the pen, the bigger it needs to be to prevent fighting for space.

 

Housing:

Same as the does, the bucks/wethers should have a sturdy, draft-free shed or hut to get out of the snow and rain. A shed is better deeper then wide if there is no door, helps keep the rain/snow from blowing too far in and getting the bucks/wethers wet and miserable. Bed it light during the summer, and heavy in the winter with ether pine shavings or straw, do not use cedar shavings, they contain chemicals that can make the goats sick! Along with a shed, have some other areas of shade, ether natural or man made, to prevent them from becoming temporality infertile in the hot summer sun.

 

Play:

Bucks love to show off and a mound of dirt or a few large rocks (make sure there is no spaces they could get a leg or head stuck) will keep them happy as they posture for the "girls". Some short tree stumps or logs make great head rubs as well. Wethers also like to play on this as well. Plastic kid (human) playgrounds can be used, again, make sure there are no places they could get their head or legs stuck. Also, I had a friend who had a plastic playground for her goats, and during the summer they stayed away from it. We tipped it over to find tons of hornet nests on the underside!!! So make sure you check those kinds every spring and spray if you do find nests to keep the goats from getting stung.

 

Breeding behavior:

Bucks can breed as early as two months so you must make sure that they are ether castrated or seperated from the does by no more then three months of age. Bucks will urinate upon their faces, beards, and front legs, this will smell along with their scent glands by their horns to bring the does into heat. A buck will put his nose in the urine of a doe, and raising his head high and turning it from side to side, the buck will curl his upper lip to detect the pheromones which tell him that the doe is receptive to being bred. Bucks have their own special way of getting the ladies in the mood. Along with their smell and peeing habits they also have some certain behaviors that may seem odd, especially if you have never seen it before. These mannerisms are most often exhibited toward the doe in heat, but because breeding and dominance can be so closely related, you will also see does and wethers, as well as bucks asserting their dominance over each other (or you) by exhibiting these traits. Also, does in heat will exhibit these traits and this is called "acting bucky".

 

These mannerisms are totally normal and the buck may try them on you as well as a doe. When a buck is "in the mood" he doesn't always care what sex or species he tries to breed. If a buck exhibits these traits at you, he may have a crush on you and you should be careful that he doesn't try to mount you when you aren't looking.

 

* Tongue flapping- The buck will lower his head and flap his tongue at the side of the doe (or you).

 

* Leg pawing - The buck paws at the side of the doe with a straightened leg. This is usually done at the same time as tongue flapping.