BUCK IN STOCKS
Connie S. Reynolds
No, Iím not talking about an HBO movie or a Hallmark movie "Bucks Behind Bars" or "Bucks in Chains." This is actual stocks built for a fullblood Boer buck. Lee had been working on the plans for these stocks in his "spare" time and these stocks actually have the posts set deep in the ground. It is not a moveable stocks.
Why do this? We made the mistake a year and a half ago to not handle our new fullblood Boer buck kid much. We were busy farming and we just didnít take the time. Sure, we caught the little guy and wormed him regular and trimmed his feet and gave him shots. All the things that would just naturally endear him to us, but we just didnít take the time to train him to stand quietly when caught and accept the fact that he could be caught.
Suddenly, he wasnít a "little guy" any more. He was over 300 pounds and growing. I could put grain out and he would come to it and thatís when I would usually swoop down and grab his horns and hold him to do what needed to be done. No more! After plowing up one side of his pen and down the other with my heels when I had grabbed him, I decided something different had to be tried.
So, I had Lee there. I put the grain out, Lee swooped down and grabbed the buckís horns, and then I was to doctor or worm or whatever was needed. Mainly, I just stood and watched Lee plow up one side of the buckís pen and down the other with is heels while holding onto the buck. So, something else had to be tried.
A halter, why didnít I think of this before? We can control thousand pound horses with halters, why not a big buck? There was just this strange quirky thing about a Boer buck. The buck has this Roman nose thing going for them, a hooknose that turns downward. I tried a pony halter, a llama halter, scratched the goat halter because I couldnít find one big enough for our big boy, a sheep halter, an Arabian halter, calf rope halter, and the list goes on and the noseband just slid off his nose. There you stood with a big powerful buck whose halter had basically slid off his nose and is loosely hanging around his neck. Itís not a good feeling. Heís happy, but youíre not.
We did find one pony halter that we thought might work. We could adjust the noseband to the size we wanted, and also the cheek pieces. I put the grain out, Lee swooped down and caught the buck by the horns, I hurried and put the surprised (not really, he just looked bored, like, "Not again. Donít they ever give up?") buckís pony halter on and it fit! We had him!
Next was to get him over to a post to tie him so he couldnít take off with us. Fortunately the post was nearby. I tied the rope with a slip knot in case we got into trouble and needed to untie it fast. The buck stood there with his head tied to a post and thought things over. He was tied to a post up against the wall of a building. He mulled this over a while. Then he started squirming when Lee picked up a front hoof to trim. It was a slow, steady, very powerful squirm with walking on three legs back and forth back and forth. This is not good for hoof trimming.
Lee decided to try a hind hoof and leaned into the buck to keep him pinned up against the wall. Of course I was being helpful by standing in front of the buck to keep him from moving forwards, which by the way didnít stop him, and shouting helpful instructions to Lee. At least, I thought they were helpful.
Since the buck weighed more then Lee, the buck did not stay pinned against the wall for long. Plus, he was doing this pumping thing with his hind leg that Lee had hold of. The hoof was a blur the buck was pumping that leg back and forth so fast. And, all the while trying to come sideways and run over Lee.
Then it happened. The halter seemed to just stretch out of shape and there was an irate buck with just this loose halter hanging around his neck. Lee and I quickly saw the problems with this and stood back to let the irritated buck settle down a bit and then I unbuckled the halter and the buck stomped away greatly insulted by the whole business.
Thatís when we thought about our milk stand. Years ago we had dairy goats and we used that stand for milking. Itís a wonderful contraption for holding a happy or even unhappy goat while you milk. Why couldnít we build something similar that would hold a buck still? The milk stand we had would never hold this big buck, but yes, we could build something that would hold our buck.
Lee started off good, digging post holes, putting four treated posts in the ground, and then had to go get some more tools at the barn. We were going to put the stocks in this buck pen. If we couldnít catch him to lead him, how on earth could we lead him to some stocks built in or near the main barn? So, it had to be built in the buck pen itself.
He was gone only five or ten minutes and when he came back he found the posts leaning and twisted every which way and the buck standing innocently on the other side of the pen looking up at the sky. If he could have he would have been whistling, pretending he didnít know what had happened.
Lee straightened them up and tamped the posts in again and even nailed up some temporary bracing to keep the posts in place. He went to get some more boards. He came back and the deeply set posts were almost out of the ground where the buck and used the boards for bracing and his horns as leverage and had totally messed everything up. And, he was standing behind his building peeking out when Lee got back.
Lee gave up and took everything out of the buck pen and went and built the stocks in the barn where they couldnít be sabotaged. His plan was to build the stocks, use the tractor to carry the heavy-duty stocks to the pen and then re-dig the postholes and set it up already pre-made. He did a great job on the stocks. He built the floor so the buck only had to step up a couple of inches to get in the stocks and there was a board on each side so he couldnít twist around, but the side boards were up high enough that a hoof could easily be picked up and trimmed.
The buck would climb up in the stand, walk forwards and stick his head through the opening where the feed bucket was, and we could slide two boards against the buckís neck and put a bolt in pre-made holes to keep the buck in place. All very nice and simple.
Lee used the tractor and carried the heavy-duty stocks out to the buckís pen and then started re-digging the postholes to set the stocks in. He was happily digging away and happened to turn around to see the buck lifting the heavy stocks up with his horns and almost flipping it over. Lee hollered and the buck took off. Lee went back to post hole digging and turned around to see the buck doing the same thing again. This buck was having a wonderful time. Lee chased him off again. This went on for some time until Lee finally got the stocks in the ground and all tamped in. Then the buck really applied himself and tried to flip the stocks over. Didnít work. We put grain in the bucket and watched to see what the buck would do.
In no time at all he had figured how to climb up and put his head in that bucket. He didnít trust us and would back out if we got near the stocks, but eventually he got use to us standing nearby. I had to go do some bottle feeding and when I got back Lee had that buck caught in the stocks.
The buck stood quiet, but if it had been a cool day Iím sure I would have seen steam coming out of his ears. Lee trimmed some badly needed hooves. I easily wormed the buck and then I brushed him. After we were finished and turned him loose, he was one greatly insulted buck.
Wouldnít come to his grain for a day or two, turned his back on us and wouldnít look at us if we came around. He was one huffy buck.
Now those stocks are his favorite place to go and take a nap. He likes eating in the stocks. Itís a wonderful place for him to go and get a good scratching on the boards. The only thing is, I have to keep explaining to people why I have a milk stand in the buckís pen.