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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This year I was lucky enough to find a buck to service my girls, but next year I would like to be able to get my own. There were not a lot of super nice bucks in my area and next year I'm hoping to pick up a couple more does. So, I'm hoping to get some advice, stories, thoughts, or anything on picking out a buck. :p

I do have quite a few questions. Is a buck or a buckling better? Are there any really important questions I need to ask about a buck? What kind of different needs to they have from a doe? Are they really as tough on fences as they sound?

I feel like it may be early to be thinking about buying a buck, but I'd like to get one next spring and in my area it seems like all the really nice ND breeders have reservations on the fancier kids or they don't update their websites so I have no clue what they have. I've also seen that ADGA seems to have auctions every once in a while.. Is that a good place to look along with looking at the classifieds?
 

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Is a buck or buckling better? They both have pros and cons. I personally think that it is better to get a buck, because you can see what they produce, if they can even produce, and what their kids look lke.
What kind of different needs to they have from a doe? They need a proper calcium to phosphorus ratio 2:1 usually. Or you can just add ammonium chloride to their minerals/grain and not worry about it.
Are they really as tough on fences as they sound? They are definantly harsher on fences than does are.
 

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The ADGA sales sell very expensive animals.

Have you checked out local breed or goat clubs in your state? Go to the ADGA site and find your states dairy goat club. Look at breeders of the breeds you own and check out their farms. Go to shows/fairs and talk to the owners. Ask other goat owners for referrals. Most farms will take a deposit on a buck from a certain breeding that will suit your herd. The earlier the better, especially for some herds who sell out quickly.
 

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Buy the best buck you can afford, no ands, ifs, or buts about it! He contributes 1/2 to the kids and he can help change - or worsen - any problems you're having with your does. I'm not sure what to tell you on the buck or buckling question. A buck is going to cost more than a buckling but, on the other hand, a buckling isn't grown out and can develop problems like split scrotum, problems with conformation as they grow, issues with aggressiveness and/or dominance, etc. Please notice I said CAN, not WILL.

As far as questions, I would make sure the buck has had a breeding soundness exam, has been tested for CAE, Johnes, CL, and I would find out if he was a virgin or not. If not a virgin, make sure he has been tested for Brucellosis, and Q-Fever at least.

Yes, bucks are generally hard on fences and everything else in their pen, as well. My bucks totally destroyed a feeder - tore every bar out of the hay rack in a matter of months. They have also destroyed a wooden shelter, several cattle panels, and various other things as well.

On the bright side, bucks don't need a lot of fancy feed. Plain old grass hay will serve them very well once they have reached adult status, except for when they are actively breeding. When breeding they need a little more than grass - I feed mine grass/alfalfa.

It's not too early to think about getting a buck if you want to buy one. It's much better to start early so you aren't put in the position of having to settle for a buck you don't really want because you need to breed your does.

Never, ever buy a breeding buck from a sale barn! Personally, I would not buy one from any kind of production sale, auction, or herd dispersal, or any other mass sale. Animals are generally sold as is in that kind of a situation, and you have no recourse in the event of problems, disease, etc. Unless you are very experienced and know what to look for, you could very easily get burned. I would suggest you buy from an individual that you have checked out. Talk to your vet, other goat breeders, neighbors, etc., to get an idea of how the person does business and what his/her general reputation is. Check out the premises to see how they are maintained, what the rest of the herd looks like, check for anything that looks out of place or wrong - abscess, etc. If in doubt, don't buy. I hope this helps.
 

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stonebrokefarm
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Try to get the best buck that you can afford……..look at hisdam's udder and hopefully he will have older sisters who have freshened andthey will have udders that you can base your decision on. A knowledgeable breeder will raise up some daughtersfrom a doe she thinks is good enough to sell buck kids from. Daughters will help prove that the dam lines have whatit takes to make a good breeding buck. Too many bucks are left intact and sold as breeding bucks when they don'thave what it takes. A buck is half ofthe genetic pool in your offspring. Astempting as it is to buy "flashy" don't choose a flashy buck that doesn't havewhat it takes to produce exceptional udders over a "plain jane" who has what ittakes. As far as buck vs buckling I like to get them as bucklingsand raise them up myself but that is just my preference.

Then you need to remember all the other pieces, like buyingfrom a tested herd, reliable breeder, etc.

As far as fences I use cattle panels and have no problemswith my Nigerian bucks……in fact don't tell them but the electric web fencingdown at the north end doesn't work anymore…..lol. They haven't figured it out yet because backwhen it actually worked they learned their lesson!

Karen
 

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stonebrokefarm
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Crap, I cut and pasted that response from a word doc because my internet keeps cutting in and out and I lose my post when I try to send it.....anyway words are running together.....I don't want the grammar Nazi chasing me down.......lol
 

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If you have a small herd, see if you can buy an older buck - around 4 or 5. Bucklings are fun, but bucks are more reasonable for a small herd.

Often a buck will use up his usefulness in a herd after a few years - there are still several good breeding years in him but he has too many daughters in that herd to be valuable for the initial owner to keep him. It can be a great deal because you have the change to see his daughters, get amazing genetics, but don't have to worry about what you will do after 3 or 4 years when you have too many daughters and can't use him any more. The sad truth is bucks have a shorter lifespan and a buck over 8 is considered pretty old.

Look for a buck who has LA scores, DHI values. A mature buck can be moved by trailer in the spring so it is possible to get a buck from somewhere else and bring him to you.

What breed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thanks for the helps everyone! I really appreciate it. :D

Lottsagoats: I had seen that ADGA's listings were pretty pricey but we're pretty flexible with our budget. We're going to put up at least 4,000 to buy a buck. We figure since this is going to be a huge part of our breeding we should get the best we can.

I have checked some of my areas breeders to see what they have but there's nothing that really sticking out to me. I feel like its kind of worth it to travel for a buck because I seem to be looking for something me area doesn't have. I've done it several times when in looking at horses so why not do it for a buck. :p

GoatCrazy: Thank you for the tip. I would never just buy from a normal sale barn. I've heard too many horror stories about losing goats or one goat ruining the whole herd! If I did any kind of auction I would only go to the big ones ADGA has. They seem to have a lot of nice goats going through and at that price and level I would expect people to only put goats up that look nice and are healthy at the risk of ruining their reputation.

That is kind of nice too that the bucks don't need fancy hay. I usually end up with either a grass timothy mix or just straight timothy so would that work? I'm also wondering can a buck be out on pasture like does can? That's most of what we have at our farm although if I have to I could make more another pasture in the wooded area of the farm for them.

Kbluekeman: I like your cattle panel idea. I will definetly get some electric rope and run it around the future pen before I get one. :)

Cadance: I have Nigerian Dwarves, and thanks for the suggestion about an older buck. I think what you and Goatcrazy said about getting an older buck makes a lot of sense. It would be nice to get something that proven so I will look into getting an older buck and then if I have to I'll move onto looking at bucklings.
 

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This is such a great thread. I am currently selecting a buckling right now - I have the option of a polled, white boy from a mom with a reserve udder or a flashier, horned, wattled boy from a mom with a grand champion udder. Both have mature sisters who have been great moms but neither has been milked.

And no, I can't decide.
 

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Buck choosing is a full year long process for me. It takes me all year to nit-pick through and choose what I like and need.

I need:
Conformationally sound with good eye appeal
Uphill build
Long rump, keeping level throughout
Strong thick hooves
Johne's, CAE, CL, and no VD
Clean two teats, decent sized. No midget teats. No elephant teats either.

I want:
Daughter proof with DHIA/DHIR records
Good temperament
Some sort of show record
One "OH!" moment on the pedigree (big name)
Deeper the better
Excellent scrotum circumference
3-6 years old and NOT showing his age (longevity)


This year I finally found one. I'm picking him up next week. He's an excellent buck with excellent daughters. I try not to do bucklings. Simply because when it comes time to do the deed, sometimes they are over eager, or not interested at all until the following year. Depending on how the herd you purchased from feeds and the genetics in it, you may have a slow developer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Flannlberry: That really is a tough decision! Both sound so nice! I personally like the sound of a polled buck, but I'm not sure I could pass up one whose udder was that nice. :p Good Luck picking one!

Mjs500doo: Thanks for that list, it's very informative! You had a lot of things one there I wouldn't have thought of, and I'm going to use that as a reference as I start looking.

I did see some super nice bucklings that are going up for auction at the ADGA convention, but I already made a deal to breed my girls this year and don't want to be rude and back out. I'm also wondering if I did really decide on one if it might be to much to have the buck just sit around still next year. I do love lot 7 of the sale. His dam was the 2012 ADGA national grand champion and best udder. Plus his blood lines are amazing.
 

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Goat Girl
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It's not too much to make a buck wait to breed until the next year. Most of the goats in the ADGA Spotlight Sale are all this years' kids so letting him grow another year would be good for him. If you can afford to, I would definitely consider buying a buck from the spotlight sale, the goats in that sale are selected by a committee from hundreds of applications every year, they are goats with strong show records, milk records and LA scores in their background.

On the other hand, if your does are already going to be bred to a different buck, you might want to wait around until later this fall when people are done using their bucks as you might be able to get a mature buck from someone who has used him for several years and needs to sell due to keeping too many daughters. You can also put in a reservation on a 2014 buck kid if you want. A person might also watch around for someone who is retiring from having goats and is selling off their herd, that is also a good way to get animals that otherwise wouldn't be for sale.

Buying a buck you really should get the best you can afford, the higher quality the buck (and your does) the higher quality kids you will get and the better able you will be to sell the kids for higher prices. It is so much easier to start with quality animals than it is to start with so-so animals and try to breed up.

I would try contacting every farm in your area (or where you are willing to go to buy a buck) that has the caliber of animal you are looking for and see if they have any bucks for sale, a lot of goats are sold without ever being put up for sale so even if they don't have any listed on their website (if they have one) they might have one they have been considering selling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
No, I must have got the lots mixed up. I like them both but I like the Paperclip/Calvary buckling a little more.

I am somewhat nervous about possibly investing a lot into one goat, but like you said ptgoats45 it's easier to start with quality and go from there than try to breed up. I figure even if I invest a lot if I play my cards right I can make that money back.. It's a huge decision because I know he's not going to go for cheap. But, I love the idea of having something really nice that will set my herd apart and step up our breeding. My biggest problem is though, I won't be able to be there for the actual auction. I will have to go through ADGA with the proxy bidding.

I will follow your advice and check out what's in my area before the auction, but so far what I've seen hasn't impressed me. Most of them their milking lines are just okay, their pedigree is alright, and their parents LA scores are kind of meh. It's hard too that like you said some are sold before they are even put up for sale. I feel like if I wasn't so competitive and set in my ways it would be much easier for me to find a buck lol :rolleyes:
 

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Do you know anyone who will be at the spotlight sale? If you do, maybe you can have them call you when he is coming up and you can "bid" on him over the phone rather than go through the proxy bidding. They would also be able to look at him for you and tell you if you really want him or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sadly no. :(

I wish I could do that but everyone I know isn't planning in going. We live 7+ hours away from the convention so its not like it's easy for people around her to go. Ordinarily I wouldn't mind the drive, but with this prior family commitment I just can't back out.
 

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Flannelberry: That really is a tough decision! Both sound so nice! I personally like the sound of a polled buck, but I'm not sure I could pass up one whose udder was that nice. :p Good Luck picking one!
I am leaning towards the polled one because everything else between them is similar. The horned one comes from a mum with a slightly better udder but the rest of everything is pretty similar.

I love these kinds of problems!
 
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