Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
The Aspiring Farmer Blog
There aren’t too many male animals on our farm. I can count them on one hand. I like to joke with Sweetbreads about “my team” of guys around here. The house cat (Levon), the male guinea (Guinea-Cent), our Silkie rooster (Elvis), and that’s about it. Until Saturday we also had a little buckling that was still nursing off one of our milking does (Mayday). Mayday came to us with two one month old kids and for the past week the buckling was being weaned in preparation for his departure.
We never named the buckling for some reason, he was just known as The Buckling. Always the most friendly goat, coming up with his little horns, getting between your legs, or knocking you over when you bent down. Sweetbreads was full of little (or sometimes big) bruises. He needed a buckling playmate to crash horns with, so I would hold out my palm and let him ram it. Everyone loved the buckling. In fact, Sweetbreads’ grandma tried to slip her some cash to convince me to keep him.
But there’s not much room on a small dairy farm for male bucklings. You only need a few to breed a very large number of does and still keep the genetics straight. A week or two ago we saw him getting a little too friendly with his sister (yes, that happens) so we had to remove him. He's directly related to three of our eight does, so he had to go. He was going back to where he came from, and likely going to auction.
When we bought Mayday (and her kids) we also agreed to buy a non-related buckling. In a few months we would swap The Buckling for a new buckling. Our other option was to buy The Buckling for meat. This was very tempting because right now we don’t have our own meat on the farm and we know exactly how The Buckling raised and what he was fed, so it would be ideal. The main problem, however, is finding a slaughterhouse to process just one little goat. We couldn’t find one within a reasonable distance, so we didn’t go that route. I think we could’ve processed him here at home, but we’re not quite set up for it yet and we’ve got a lot of other stuff going on. It just didn’t fit in and we didn’t want to do him a disservice and try to rush it. The middle of summer isn’t the best time for harvesting meat anyway.
So off The Buckling went, back to his birthplace to see all the other bucklings that he spent his first few weeks with. When we went to drop him off the owner was quite impressed with The Buckling. He had grown into a strapping young lad. He was bigger than all the other bucklings and he was letting them know it. When a few of them ganged up on him he crashed down on one after the other until they let him be. Then he climbed up to the hay stack and started eating. When others would come up, he’d knock ‘em down. It was pretty funny, we were like proud parents.
Then the owner took us to see the buckling that we had bought. Whoa, this little guy was a beast! Definitely bigger than The Buckling and beautiful. We originally picked him because he came from a good line milking does out in California. I guess we picked right because he looked strong and healthy. In a couple years we’ll know if he throws high quality and high production doelings, but right now he looks great. In two weeks he’ll be weaned and on our farm, I’ll be sure to post some pics. It’ll be good to have another member of the man team out here.
(Sorry no pics of The Buckling, I couldn't find any. I'll see if Sweetbreads can dig some up on her phone)
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