Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bucks on the Farm

We are beginning to re-think our buck keeping on the farm. Our boys are now 2 years old and about 200 lbs each. They are big boys and beginning to be a pain in the neck. Fences are being torn down from their climbing, they run the horses away from their food, and are beginning to think they can challenge me when they feel like it. So, we either spend more money on heavier duty fencing or we do something different. I think we will do something different. I mean really facing the facts it is only prudent to use the same bucks for a few years anyway and then you run the potential of too much line breeding bringing out problems. So we have decided to not keep bucks year round any more. Once the girls are confirmed all pregnant for this year, the boys will go in the freezer. I still have a spring buckling that I will possibly keep for next winter's breeding season and then he will head to the freezer. I will probably buy a totally unrelated buckling the following spring, use him for fall breeding and then provided I get a buckling he will head to the freezer. As long as I get a buckling each spring, then I don't intend to keep any buck for more than a year any longer. They simply cost too much in time, repairs, and feed for the few months that I actually need them. At least these are my thoughts for the moment. It might not be so easy to put these guys in the freezer as we did expect to have them for several years and then trade them off or sell them. I guess the biggest thing that made me start to really think about this was when they both leaped the 4 1/2 foot gate into the barn and beat the girls off of their hay. The boys were getting their own hay, but simply couldn't wait until I got there. No fence we have can hold them in. Since I milk in the barn aisleway, I have had them leap over the gate (yes all 200 lbs. over the gate like a deer)and start ramming the doe that I am milking to get at her food. It has become a pain. I have tied them up in the mornings so that the girls can eat and I can milk, but this is where the challenging is coming in now. They see me coming with the lead line and then threaten me. So, I think as soon as breeding season is over they need to go. They are only 2 and the more they mature the bolder they will get. Unless I spend a good amount of money on electric fence, I can't keep them in. They are becoming a liability and I have had enough issues with at least one neighbor. I don't need them hurting someone and I don't need to get hurt. A smaller buck can breed the girls and be less of a problem. This really is the first year that the boys have been an issue. Up until now they have been sweet and mild mannered. However, the hormones are in full force and they know they are big boys. Anyway, just wanted to share my thoughts in case anyone else was thinking of keeping bucks for the long haul. They can be a pain in the neck. A friend of ours has six and they are kept in a six foot fence with three strands of hot wire. During breeding season her husband handles them. So what do ya'll think about my thoughts? Blessings from the farm, Kat


Kelly said...

In your circumstances I'd do the same thing. We didn't want to keep a buck year round because we didn't have a separate pen. However, when last years breeding season passed w/o us finding a suitable buck, we decided to buy one. He's an Alpine, and his parents are registered, but he's not. Our girls are registered, and for $75 it seemed like a good deal. He's been mild, even this rutting season. I'd have to get his info out to remember if he's going on 2 or 3. We have him at our "pasture" with our 2 cows, which is a couple of miles from our house. We take the girls over there when they're in heat. It's fenced with 5 ft pipe fence and heavy gauge, small square field fencing. We have to feed him from Nov to March, and until I calculate that cost I can't say if it's cheaper to keep him or pay for breeding. I think with 6 does, keeping him will be cheaper. If we run into trouble like you're having, we'll probably reconsider.

Hope you don't get hurt!

Kat said...

We will always have a buck of our own for breeding purposes, but an 8 month old buckling can do the job just as well as a 3 year old buck. I don't ever plan to not have a buck, simply because it would be next to impossible to find a buck close by when the girls come into heat. We have 7 does and want to build the herd to 10. Having that many to transport would be a nightmare. We already new when we got the boys that after a couple of generations they would have to be replaced anyway. I think that we have just decided to do the replacing on a more regular basis. The boys aren't overly aggressive and still love to be scratched behind the ears and on top of their heads. However, they will challenge if you are keeping them from doing something they want to do, like stealing the horses food. And then of course there is the mess they have made of the field fence from their body weight and climbing out to.....steal the horses food. But we will always have our own means of breeding the girls each year. Thanks for the thoughts, Kat