Every baby goat is perfectly adorable, but none are perfect, and some are more suited to be herd sires than others. Selling lots of bucklings as future sires is tempting. It is natural to want to recoup expenses after you’ve invested so much in buying, raising, and breeding your does. When 7 of your 10 kids are boys, what else can you do? Selling as many boys as possible as intact bucklings is definitely the easiest answer, but it is usually not the best for you or your buyers.
In order to continue to make advances within your herd and in the breed, only the best males should be used as breeding stock. Lesser-quality boys should ideally be culled, meaning that they should be wethered and sold as pets, weed-eaters, or go into the freezer. Selling lesser-quality bucks is never a good idea – it could set someone’s breeding program back years. Don’t forget that that poor quality buck and all of his offspring will have your name on their papers. If you are unsure of the quality of a buck, protect your reputation by erring on the side of caution and wethering him.
So, how do you decide which bucklings should be sold as breeding stock?
Promising bucklings, with good width, muscle, and rear arch.
First, make a list of your best does. These should be does that have evaluated as excellent, earned milk stars or have records of excellent milk production and long lactations, have performed well in the show ring, kid easily, maintain their weight well throughout pregnancy and lactation, and adhere closely to the breed standard. Yes, that is a lot of qualifications! Ideally, any bucklings you sell as breeding stock should be out of these does. As a general rule, only 10% of boys AT MOST should be kept intact. Since breeders with lots of experience and very high-quality lines often sell more than 10% of their males as breeding stock, new, inexperienced breeders should probably be selling less than 10% of theirs. This means that the bucklings you sell should only be from outstanding does and bucks.
Next, make a list of the bucklings out of the does you’ve designated as your best. Immediately remove any boys that have faults as described by the breed standard. Omit bucklings that are narrow, frail, or otherwise lacking qualities you look for in a buck. Now look at the boys left on your list. Determine which bucklings adhere most closely to the breed standard and embody the ideals of a quality Kinder buck – they should be reasonably big, well-developed kids that have good length of body, broad backs, good depth, and well-sprung rib cages. Overall, the bucklings on your list should have good, strong balance and already appear more masculine than your other kids. Watch them closely as they develop, noting which ones continue to impress you. Immediately rule out any kids that develop faults, grow more slowly, or loose width and muscling as they develop.
A buckling that should not be kept intact. Too narrow, leggy, and dairy.
Never keep a buckling intact based on color or because he is your sweet bottle baby!
While personality should definitely be considered when choosing who to keep intact – no one wants an aggressive buck – conformation and quality should always come first. Although everyone seems to love flashy kids, your buyers will appreciate that you sold them a quality buck instead of a just a colorful one in the long run.
By Sue Beck