It was that time again. May, when we put the full blood does in with the bucks for an October kidding. With pens and pastures and goats spread from hither to yon, as usual I wanted just that certain doe in with that certain buck and the full blood does were laced throughout the different herds. The bucks also would have to be moved to larger pens or fields to accommodate their visiting girlfriends. So, a lot of other goats would have to be shuffled around to get everyone where they were suppose to be for the May breeding season, whether they were being bred or not.
Whew! Makes me tired writing about it, much less trying to think it through how we were going to achieve all this. I could just picture us shuffling a boatload of goats around and then thinking we are done and looking out in one pen and seeing just the three bucks we were using this time standing in the field together, looking around, saying, "What happened? Donít we get any girls?"
So, very carefully I put my plan to paper. Well, really I just wrote down the name of each buck and what girls he was suppose to have and handed it to Lee and asked him to make it happen. Also, telling him the size of pen each buck would need for his girls, depending on how well the girls I have chosen for him got along. I know my girlsí personalities and who their best buddies are and who they would get along with or at least tolerate. You have to have shelter for the different groups and youíd be surprised how many will willingly room together if they just get along. If the girls donít get along, well, you had better have a much larger pasture or pen and a much larger shelter. Because they would be together with the buck from their first heat cycle until 22-24 days later to see if they cycled again.
Lee has the clear, analytical mind, able to see different ways and means for moving individual or large groups of animals along in the easiest and quietest way, to arrive at their destination unperturbed about the whole experience. Me, I would find the hardest way to do something and stubbornly and methodically be dragging one goat at a time to itís designated pen, trying to fight the buck off to push a doe in with him.
Long time ago we discovered that it was much easier to put the girls into the pens first and then move the buck in with them. That way you donít have the buck standing at the gate, waiting for us to deliver the girls, hollering to the girl you are trying to shove inside, things like, "Whoa, Momma! Ha Cha Cha Cha. Woowee!" and other rude things like that at her.
The poor girls get intimidated when met by a buck acting that way, unless they are in heat and then they start hollering back, "Hey! Big boy! You smell good!" Then you know that girl wonít be in the pen long because she will be bred immediately and usually wonít be coming back in heat later. Girls acting forward like this donít intimidate the older, experienced bucks. Some of the younger bucks might get nervous with bold girls, but usually in May my girls arenít in heat at the beginning and have to be put in with a buck to get them to thinking about it and then a week later they come in heat.
But, getting them there and then delivering the proper buck to them can take a lot of conniving and shuffling around of goats. Finally we got to the last two bucks and we were going to have to go against the plan of having the girls in first. The two yearling bucks had been rooming together and the girls in one pen that one of the yearling bucks was to go in, had to be moved into the other pen leaving the second yearling buck where he was already at. I know, I know, I get confused thinking about what I just said, never mind actually doing it.
Since these fellows were youngsters, Lee felt he could lead one of them to the next door pen, open the gate, and the three girls we wanted in with the second yearling buck would willingly leave, just simply because the gate was open and a goat just has to go where it thinks it doesnít belong. But, to keep the young buck already in the pen, where the girls were to go in, from escaping and going where he was not suppose to go was a puzzler, until I heard myself say, "Iíll hold him back!"
Now what possessed me to say that? The buck may have been a yearling, but he was one nice chunky yearling, certainly much stronger then me. And, when that gate opened, the other buck left with Lee, and the three girls "escaped" into his pen, did I really think I could hold him back until Lee had the other buck in his pen and the gate shut with three young tantalizing does just entering into the pen I was supposedly holding the buck in?
I had that young buckís horns held in a death grip and my heels dug into the dirt, waiting for the explosion that would surely happen, with me being dragged all around the pen. The girls exploded through that gate, so excited and happy to be someplace that they just knew they werenít suppose to be that they didnít even notice me and the young buck.
I waited for that explosion. And waited And waited. I glanced down at him. He was standing there staring bugged eyed at the young does. In fact, he had taken a half step to hide behind me and he didnít tug once to be turned loose to meet his new roommates. He was feeling a mite intimidated himself at the moment.
I hollered over to Lee, "See? No problem. I held him just fine," and turned the young buck loose. He stood there a minute or two more and then walked over to the round bale and started eating, keeping careful watch on the new girls, in case they made a move to chase him away from the bale of hay. Of course this didnít last long. Thatís the nature of a young buck, he has to go say something rude to a doe, which either chases her away, or causes her to say, "Oh, really?" with great interest.
At least the May separation of bucks with their does was complete now. We can all relax until itís time to separate the bucks from the does. I have a feeling then that I will not be saying, "Iíll hold him back," to Lee. You can only get by with that so many times, and my one time is up.