That is the question! When you have a goat herd for the purpose of milking, you will need kids. Without kids, your does will not produce milk. Simple as that. In order to get kids, you’ll need to breed your does. A decision will need to be made of whether or not to keep your own buck.
Keeping goat bucks sounds like an easy answer, but it is not. For the smaller homestead, there are a lot of cons to it.
You’ll need extra space for the bucks to be separated from the does.
This is so that you can control when the does get pregnant and kid, avoiding the possibility of a doe giving birth when you are unprepared. If you have a large area that you can fence them apart, that’s great. Smaller homesteads may not have enough room for that. Bucks CAN and WILL jump fences to get to the does, so fencing is not always enough. The bucks and does need a lot of space apart from each other.
Bucks are smelly creatures.
VERY SMELLY. A buck in “rut”, or ready to mate with a doe, will basically urinate all over himself. I guess to a doe goat that smells like Chanel #5, but to humans it is not as pretty. Even petting a buck can leave that smell of goat urine all over your hands. A friend of mine houses a buck, and she gives him “love and attention” by brushing him only. She never pets him directly with her hands.
Bucks in rut are narrow minded.
Their desire to breed can make them expend all their energy toward that activity. Some can stop eating and lose weight. Many health issues that bucks experience will happen during breeding time.
Bucks can be more aggressive than does.
In an effort to attract a mate, a buck might rear up, butt other goats (and humans), attack fences that separate him from “the girls”, as well as challenge other bucks or animals. It can really be painful to have a buck come at you, “pawing” for attention.
For these reasons, many consider that bucks are best kept by someone else. There ARE other ways to breed your does, including renting a buck from another farm and artificial insemination. Having bucks to get kids IS required, but keeping them yourself is NOT.
Do you keep bucks? What is your experience with keeping them yourself? Be sure to pin this for later!
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.