for people who love the littlest dairy goats
Can someone point me towards a good source of information on how to evaluate a buckling? I am not finding it in the archives, maybe I am not using the correct search terms. I am improving my heard and until now have not had to do this, all my doelings and bucklings have gone to pet homes. In November I purchased a beautiful 3 year old milking doe from Willow Moon Farm in VT, who was downsizing her herd after closing her cheesemaking business. She was already bred and 4 weeks ago she gave me 2 beautiful doelings (which I am keeping) and one delightful buckling. Now I am trying to figure out weather the buckling should have a career as a pet or a buck, but I lack a lot of experience and knowledge in this area of goatkeeping. Any guidance on this would be most appreciated.
The ultimate value of a buck is in the daughters he throws. Since you don't have a crystal ball, the best you can do is look at his mother and his sire's mother. Are they excellent milkers with good mammary systems?
If the parents have LA scores from ADGA or classifications from AGS, are they at least 85 or higher?
As for the buckling himself, you need to be sure he doesn't have any defects or serious faults, such as extra teats or teat defects. Also, make sure his jaw isn't undershot or overshot. Does he have two testicles? Those are definitely reasons to castrate.
When he stretches himself out to pee, does he have a level topline that goes up slightly at the withers? When you look at him from the back, are his hocks straight, or do his legs bow out or in?
Thanks for the guidance Deborah. His Dam's LA score was 85 as a first freshener, and dam's mother is 88. His sire's mother's score is 87, and her dam is 89. So they fall in the very good category but not excellent. All are excellent in the milk stand and really easy to work with, with good mammary systems and all have the most wonderfully calm and easy going temperaments which I love. The buckling is a really handsome boy and ridiculously sweet but hey, thats all subjective! He doesn't have any obvious flaws or serious defects. But I really can't definitively make a call on his top line, or even his hocks. They seems straight to me but I don't think I have the experience to make that call. If he stays a buck and has a breeding career then I will sell him because I can't breed him to his dam or his sisters. If I wether him, then I'll keep him as my companion to my new buck. Maybe since the LA scores are very good but not excellent, and because I feel I lack the qualifications to discern his structural qualities, making him a companion goat may be the best way to go. Any thoughts?
With parents who have LA scores like that, he's probably a pretty nice kid. Figuring out the topline isn't that hard. It really is just as simple as I explained it above. I'm sure you know what level or flat is. What you do NOT want is a dippy topline. Does he have a swayback? That would be bad, but you don't really see that very often, and I wouldn't expect it in a kid with his parents' LA scores.
I'll also add that it can be challenging to sell bucks because the world just does not need that many, so you might try to sell him and wind up keeping him by default. It's never too late to castrate. I once kept a buckling out of one of my finished champions and then didn't like the way he looked when he was six months old, so castrated him then.
That's a good point. I should offer him for sale and if he doesn't sell then I castrate. I am selling 3 other kids and 3 adults (2 does and 1 wether), so I'll just add him to the line up and see what happens.