Goats: Select your breeding Buck

Selecting the correct goat is of vital importance when it comes to successful goat breeding. Choosing the correct breeding buck is a very exciting time and can also be very rewarding if done correctly and with sound knowledge. It is sometimes good to go with a friend or two that you trust and get their opinion(s), as more often than not, a pair of extra eyes will be able to see something in the goats that you may not. A true farmer should always be willing to assist a fellow farmer!
The herd sire contributes 50% of the genes in a kid crop. His influence on your goats is immense and will go a long way in determining the success, or failure of achieving your breeding objectives. The first step in selecting a buck is to evaluate your herd. You need to ask yourself some basic questions: “What inherited traits are most important to achieve profitability, and where is the most improvement needed?” You need to identify the traits you would like to remove by culling does (females) out of your herd. Never choose a buck with obvious faults, such as a weak mouth, overshot/undershot jaw, poor legs, has difficulty in walking or small/deformed testicles. Any buck with cull defects should never be bred with, as quality in buck selection is of utmost importance! The quality of the breeding buck consequently plays a decisive role in the success or failure of any commercial goat production system. So be fussy!
When selecting a breeding buck, always look for a reasonably big, well-developed animal. It should have good length of body, a broad back, good depth, a well-sprung rib cage, and muscled forequarters and hindquarters. The buck should have loose, supple skin, with short, shiny hair. The buck must not look like whethers (kapaters/castrated goats). The head must be strong and the buck must not have a wild and untamed look. The buck should have two reasonably large, well-formed, healthy and equal sized testes in one scrotum. A scrotum with a split no larger than 5cm is permissible (according to the SA breed standards). The scrotum must be at least 25cm in circumference. In addition to the above mentioned qualities, the buck must have a lively appearance and must be obviously alert. Overall, your buck should have good, strong balance.
Remember, your buck is ‘half your herd’ and you should select very wisely. The correct buck can drastically improve your goats. The wrong buck can take you backward very fast! Do not choose a buck based on pictures – make a concerted effort to see him live and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the buck itself, the vaccination and feeding programme used. Don’t be afraid to travel to obtain the right quality.
Selection for reproduction is vital for improved progeny. Hormones determine reproduction. Research has shown that, if bucks are selected for early maturity and larger testes, their female progeny will also exhibit better reproduction. It is very important that when selecting your breeding buck, you do so on the correct grounds and not let sentiment sway your selection.
Often, buyers would want a ‘stud’ buck simply because it has been studded. Bear in mind, however, that sometimes a commercial buck may have qualities in it that will be better for the does (females) specifically at your farm that you intend to breed him to. Remember that the most expensive buck is not necessarily the best buck for you! Know the direction that you are breeding towards and be patient, remembering that it is a process that takes time.
As with all the best things in life, you may have to pay a bit extra for superiority; in this case, superior genetics. Those extra few cents may well be worth it in the long run. After all, it is an investment, isn’t it?


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