This is a continuation of the goat series I started, but forgot to finish. With goats as pets becoming the “in” thing, there are a few things everyone considering a goat should know. For part 1 of the series, go here “For the Love of Goat”.
There are a few things about male goats that may cause you to think twice about getting one. If you only have a couple of does, I would AI or rent-a-buck.
If you have or are wanting a decent sized herd, I would go ahead and buy a buck, cheaply in the spring. You can cross breed goats with just about any goat. I hear there is an exception with pygmies, but we had a “pet” that was fainting and pygmy. And that has to do with their sizes rather than genetics. I would stick closely with the breed of doe you already have.
A buck is ready all the time, just put them together and they figure out the rest. Bucks also stink, reek! And you will smell that way as well when you handle him. The stench can also get into your milk. You can keep them separate, but be sure you have a non milking lady with him. We had a buck that would cross through 3 different hot wire fences to get to a girl or two. If you plan to keep them separate, make sure the fences is super secure. They will do anything to get to a doe. The best option is to have a lot of room for them all to roam and keep the buck out with the herd. As long as your milkers aren’t in close contact with the buck, your milk should be fine.
Bucks have bad butting habits. Even if you are careful and authoritative with him, that instinct will awaken eventually. So what is a person to do? The best thing is to raise your own. If you buy one, try to get one of your milkers to be a surrogate mother. The thing with boys, is that you don’t want them to see you as part of the herd. Start working with him straight away, and don’t allow him to become a pet. Be firmer with him, than you are with your does, putting up with no rough housing. He needs to learn that you are the boss. Train early, teaching him to lead and to stand quietly while you groom or tend to hooves.
During breeding season you should keep your young buck away from the does until he is 7 months old, then he can be allowed to breed with a few of your does.
Rent-a-buck is a good option for that small herd owner, the one with 1 or 2 does. Place a want ad on craigslist or look through the forums and ads for you specific breed. With a rent-a-buck, you should be able to take your doe to him, and bring her back that day, confident she is knocked up. This is usually cheaper than AI.
To recap, bucks stink, they butt and they are destructive, but worth it if you plan on having a 4 doe herd.