It seems I spend as much time studying goat personalities as I do goat conformation and goat bloodlines. You ask, you mean in trying to decide which buck should have what does for that perfect baby? Thereís that, but mainly to figure out what does will get along together while they are in with their buck.
It seems my kidding is always on a time schedule. I need them to kid a certain time in the fall, no sooner no later. And, a certain time in the winter, no sooner, no later. So the girls have to be put in with their bucks at a certain time and taken out at a certain time. No leeway in letting them straggle past the deadline in their kidding, because Iíll lose my market and have kids on hand to sell at the worse possible times.
I have to take in consideration how many does to each buck, how many goats will a pen or pasture hold, how many will the shelter of that pen or pasture hold if the weather turns nasty, factor in that if I have an inexperienced buck, I just might not get all or any of his girls bred while he is trying to figure things out, such as, which end is which, or if he falls in love with just one girl and forsakes all others, that kind of thing. And, one of the biggies, will the girls be able to tolerate each other.
In the big herd of does out in the big pasture, personality differences arenít such a terrible thing. The meek ones are able to move out of the way of the bossy ones. But, put in a smaller pasture or pen and have a smaller run-in shed for nasty weather, whether they get along will affect my girlsí health and if they get bred.
Last year I learned the hard way with my horned girls. Usually, anything born on our place is disbudded by 7 days of age, this helps our operation run smoother and they get along much better. But, I have a group of horned girls that I got from a good reputable farm years ago and I dearly love those girls, but they are bullies.
In a big pasture, itís not such a problem, but a smaller pasture situation and smaller run-in sheds, itís trouble big time. Girls with horns are the ultimate bullies to girls without horns. I have only one disbudded girl who is the exception, and she pushes the horned girls around. Anyway, I put those horned girls in with a group of dehorned girls to get bred by this one buck and the horned girls kept the dehorned girls away. I saw what was going on too late and did not get as many does bred in that group. Of course, all the horned girls got bred.
Then I had put a group of girls in with an inexperienced buck and only half his girls got bred before he finally caught on why they were in there with him and by that time it was time to take the girls out. When they first came into his pen, he hid behind me. Then, when he realized that they werenít going to beat up on him, he fell in love with one girl, letting several go out of heat, while he concentrated on her. We got her moved out and at least he did get some others bred. The next breeding season he was all work and knew exactly what to do. You just have to figure it in sometimes when using an inexperienced buck.
This breeding season we put all the horned girls in one group and they got their own pen, their own buck, their own run-in shed, and things were pretty much evened out and everyone got bred in their group. Oh, we also put the one dehorned boss girl in with them and she picked on them a little, but they were careful to bow to her wishes.
This year I very carefully put the more timid girls in the herd together with one buck. I thought, this is going to be perfect. A sweet peaceful herd of little timid girls just getting along.
Well! The worm had turned. In this case it was a whole herd of worms turning. Those sweet timid little girls turned into ferocious beasts. Everyone was thumping on everyone else. All the dirty tricks the boss does had pulled on them, they finally had a chance to try on someone else. Only the goat they were trying the dirty tricks on had the same thoughts of whipping someone, too. My sweetest most timid girls were unrecognizable. Everyone wanted to be boss instead of just getting along. None of that getting along business! Here was their chance to rule the roost. The worm had indeed turned!
At the end of the week, the dust finally settled in my supposed timid girlsí pen and a few bosses were still standing and everyone else was walking around saying, ďI didnít want to be boss anyway, but I still wonít take no crap from her. Growl. Growl Growl.Ē And, how did the buck handle all these personality conflicts? Fortunately, he was an experienced buck and was not the least perturbed. He just thought they were fighting over him and deservedly so.