The last month of bad heat is an important time to start thinking about bucks if you are a homesteader who has or is getting goats. This is because once cool weather hits, the boys will be looking for girls and the girls will all be in heat.
If you want to raise goats and you don’t have a buck, now is a good time to get one for your girls. At this point, the buck should be old enough to breed. The disadvantage to buying a grown buck is that he will be more expensive.
You could choose to rent one instead but I would caution you on that idea. There are a lot of devastating diseases to be found among goats. Be certain that he is disease free. Otherwise, your whole flock may be infected and depending on which diseases they get, you could loose all of them thanks to one diseased goat.
My family prefers to buy a buck or two and rotate them for several breeding seasons. They don’t cost much to keep and we often buy a buck kid in the Spring time when we want to replace a buck. We often keep a pair of bucks just in case something happens to one.
When you are looking for a dairy buck (I don’t have any experience in meat only goats), you want to look for a buck who has a long back and a wide thigh gap. That buck will have daughters with a wide gap for their udders and a long back that is indicative of a good milker.
You also want a buck that is sweet natured. Keep in mind that he will naturally be rougher than your girls. Don’t let him be rude when he’s little if you get a buck kid. Just like puppies, buck kids grow up and depending on the breed, they can get big.
What Breed of Chicken Is Right For Your Homestead?
There is a saying “Different strokes for different folks.” The type of chicken that works for us, may not be the type that you want.
Years ago, my family raised Kraienköppe chickens which are a game type chicken that is endangered of extinction. They are very flighty, excellent at self preservation, good egg layers, with smaller carcasses.
Kraeinkoppe rooster on watch
Krainkoppe Hen with her chicks
The downside to the Kraienköppe was that since it is a flighty bird, they are very hard to catch when you need to catch one. Being game birds, they are also a bit aggressive. They used to kick our tom turkey’s butt!
After having Kraienköppe chickens, we decided to change breeds to something less flighty and therefore easier to handle. My mom wanted to get Rhode Island Reds. Dad wanted chickens from a different heritage breed.
The biggest differences between the buckeye and Rhode Island Red is that the buckeye is a better meat bird, and the Rhode Island Red is the better egg producer. That said, both are good birds. In my father’s experience, the Buckeye is a little calmer. The Buckeye was almost extinct at the beginning of the 19th century. However, Rhode Island Red was second most popular in the world. Unfortunately, over time the breed has been hybridized and now there may be more Buckeyes that pure Rhode Island Reds.
It’s an excellent idea to really research your breeds before selecting what type of chicken you get. If you ever have any questions about a breed, feel free to contact. George is a poultry specialist and can rattle off lots of positives and negatives about many breeds, including their history.
As a side note, I apologize for no Rhode Island Red pictures. I wasn’t able to find any free. The pictures posted here are genuinely our birds. Unfortunately, we haven’t had Rhode Islands in years so I don’t have any pictures of them.