Thursday, February 26, 2015

When the Buck doesn't Stop

Curly is a third season Australian Brown cross Bitsa buck. Last season he was just big enough and keen enough to serve one of our does, Princess. His little sister, Christina, we decided was too young and we kept her away from the bucks.
Goats are known to cycle through autumn - late February to Mid March - to produce kids five months later in spring. We figured that if we avoided pregnancy during autumn then the window was closed and kids would be put off for a year. We were wrong and greatly surprised when we found a small brown kid buck following Christina about in December when we had no idea she was pregnant. Curly was the father.

This summer we separated the bucks and the does into three groups - Meat does with Cedric, Dairy does with Curly and the young and as yet unattached in a separate paddock. While Cedric is a diminutive poddy who is too lazy to climb fences and chase skirt in other paddocks we have discovered that Curly is not.

Last night on dark he had escaped through a decent fence to get into the laneway and was calling through a second fence to Posy, whose heat was obvious by the very close attentions being paid by Cedric. Posy is ever the opportunist so she was calling back to Curly and waving her butt at him.
We went to bed to the sound of Curly's alto "Naa-aa-aa" and Cedric's bass "Bworr".

First light this morning revealed that Curly had hopped through the second fence and was chasing Posy around, while being harassed by Cedric who wasn't best pleased to have a rival on his turf.
It took about half an hour for the two boys to clash heads and work out who was the boss. Curly retreated to a safe distance and waited for his chance.

I was daunted by the prospect of trying to drag a very fired up buck back to his paddock just to find that he escaped again. Another factor was that Christina, ensconced in the single females paddock, was calling out to whoever would come and relieve her itch. Moving Curly would involve getting him past her paddock. We decided to leave him where he was.

There was a busy morning away planned so when we returned Curly was nowhere to be seen. A quick check of the paddocks found that he had climbed through three more fences to be beyond the 'girls' paddock and in with the sheep. I locked his sister, their kid and one other young doe in the shed and walked away. Returning twenty minutes later Curly had recrossed our fences and was back chasing Posy, who was still running away from Cedric. By dusk he was back hassling last year's kids so in the shed he went and the girls locked out.

So what have we learnt from this. After a few years with only a docile Boer buck who stayed put, we now have a situation that needs careful management. It will be almost impossible to keep any doe from being served. Either we lock Curly up or the does or let him have free rein. The latter may work now but once the does are all his kids it doesn't. We will have to have a rethink - maybe we can pass the buck and swap him with someone else in the same boat.

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