Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Should I Raise...a Buck?

The final installment of “Should I Raise…” is here! I have previously evaluated raising does and wethers, so check those out if you haven’t already. Today, we focus on bucks.

Option 3: Raising a buck

MegaMind (our buck) when we bought him Oct. 2012

Pros for raising bucks:

  • Bucks can be shown in competitions for cash prizes.
  • Bucks of a good pedigree fetch high stud fees.
  • Bucks can become super friendly, aren't killed for their meat and are kept for their entire life.

Cons for raising bucks:

  • Bucks are huge and have horns. When a nearby female is in heat, their mind is focused on mating, and they can be hard to control and dangerous. 
  • Without a female, you can't do much with a buck outside of showing/competition.
  • In order to get high stud fees, the buck must be of a good pedigree, which means an EXPENSIVE initial investment ($900+).
  • Many large volume breeders offer affordable stud fees (well under $100), making the purchase of a buck unnecessary. 

My Final Take:

We had many wethers and does before we bought our first buck. They turn a profit quickly and give a chance to gain vital experience.
If you have even glanced at this blog before, you may know how much I love my buck MegaMind. That being said, would he have been the best goat for a beginning farmer? Probably not. He is usually very well behaved, but that is partially because the humans around him are capable and confident. We don't allow him to get away with bad behavior. For example when we let little (human) kids in with him, he tries to use his size to bully all the corn out of their hands. Animals are still animals, and Mega loves his corn. We must correct it because he is only going to continue growing, so any behavioral issues that we allow to continue will be harder to correct as he gains weight and size.

In summary, I believe wethers are the best/safest/most cost effective/easiest choice for a first time farmer. While a doe or a buck could be the first goat you buy, it really just doesn't make as much sense as buying a wether. Why learn to swim in the deep sea, when you could have a kiddie pool and a life jacket? I think having a wether is like looking before you leap, it gives you an indication of what you will have to take on with more goats, without having all of the investment and responsibility immediately on your shoulders.

Anyone ready to buy a goat now?

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