When we started out with our goats, we decided not to have bucks of our own. This was because of all that I have read and all that I had heard. Bucks were dangerous, bucks were stinky and bucks were unpredictable.
We went for a long time hiring a Rent-A-Buck to come by Gullringstorp for our ladies. We were lucky to get a beautiful buck named Emil who fathered some of our most beautiful babies. You can read about Emil on another post “Our Rent-A-Buck” .
Then it happened, Hilda, our most gentle of all our goats gave birth to a doeling and a little buckling. Knowing how the temperament of the mother is passed on to her babies, we knew that this would be a wonderful and gentle buck when he grew up. We were right. Then we realized that since we also had tiny Pygmy does, we needed some tiny Pygmy bucklings for them. We purchased 3 tiny bucklings from the same farm we bought the doelings. With these little boys , we gave them all the love and attention we could so that they would be manageable.
Two years later, Nanna one of our Pygmy does, gave birth to Toby and I just couldn’t bring myself to sell him. Alika and Hilda two of our Nigerian Dwarf goats gave birth to 3 beautiful little bucklings, Pip, Winston and Phillip. Needless to say, they all have remained here with us and near their mothers, at Gullringstorp.
We have 7 bucks now in the boy’s quarter. With all the love and hands on, hand feeding every day, we have 7 beautiful, tamed bucklings. They are all collar and leash trained, should we need them to be led on a leash.
Although they are all tamed and kind, they are not without challenges: One challenge has been the way they have their hay in the box. We had one hay rack That was already in place from when horses used to live here. That hay rack was modified for our goats. Then we saw that we needed more hay holders of some kind. We tried horse hay bags. Well let me tell you, I know horses weigh a lot more than our little boys, but our little boys can really do some damage. they used their horns to systematically destroy the bags. That wasn’t working with the bucks , but did work with the does and doelings. We found an ad for hay racks at a great price, when purchased in volume. so we bought 5 of the.
Our bucks got 2 of the new racks. We thought our hay storage was solved. well it really wasn’t. We had two little bucks who thought it was fun to leap from the cable drum and lad right in the middle of the hay rack. Not a good idea; no place for accidental poopies or pee pee. We tried to move the cable drum so they couldn’t reach the hay racks. We did that, then , one day saw something that I had never imagined. Our little buck Winston, no bigger than a Cocker Spaniel actually leaped up into the hay rack from the ground!!
Then I got an idea. Not just out of the blue, mind you. Lids!! Lids are not unusual here at Gullringstorp. I our tiny Pygmy girl’s box, we had the same problem. We had a tiny doe who kept leaping into the hay rack. Solution, a lid. Pygmy goats love to climb so all the girls have had a chance up on the lid, now a fun shelf.
So lids it was:
Our bucks were shocked at first to see the lids and were a bit confused. Then they found the perfect use for the lids; sharpen their horns , of course!
As our little bucks have enjoyed their enclosure, it became obvious that they were now in need of more grazing. It was time to extend their space.
The boys like to relax on warm days:
Well with new covered hay racks and extended enclosure, our boys are more than happy!
After a couple of days of wind, snow and rain, the goats were let out this morning. the conditions were not ideal but our goats were getting cabin fever. You can always tell on morning rounds just what the mood is when you enter the stable.We have most of the girls in the first section of the stable so when you enter there, quite often the ladies are all still “in bed”. They look so cute all snuggled up together. There are two to a box except our 4 tiniest ladies share a very large box.
Entering the next section of the stable is another story completely. We have had the occasion to enter and fine everyone still “in bed”. But usually as I stop and say good morning Pumpkin and Rose who are in the last box in the first section, I can hear the commotion in the next section of the stable. Nanna, if not in heat is usually relaxing on her “perch”. The boys have been “in bed” on some mornings but that is not always the case. Like this morning, they were up and spunky! Alika is head butting her door making quite a noise.
After all my mothers to-be , have been on the Milk Stand, Max our dog and I go out and walk the enclosure to access the condition after the last two days. It is still wet in some sections, but overall it would not be a day that the goats were forced to remain indoors. I grab my wheel barrel and Max and start to fill the boys hay rack and then take the boys out first. Boy are they ever happy to be out. I just hope it doesn’t rain. But if it does, we have two wonderful deep outdoor shelters for all the goats to get in and stay out of the rain. Most of my goats do not like the rain. Fingers crossed. There was a time in our goat raising that we would run out of the house at the first drop of rain and run the goats in. I soon realized that our goats cold withstand the elements to a degree and they did have more than adequate shelter from the elements.
The girls were also eager to be outside. They ran for the enclosure while kicking up their cute little heels! It’s always a sight that gives me immense pleasure.
Remember when it was time to place my two little boys in with the big boys and I was so upset?
Here they were as bucklings just before they made the transition:
Now by little babies are no longer bucklings,, they are bucks ready to spar at any given moment for dominance :
The boys settled in and enjoyed being outside. The girls soon followed:
We are continually making improvements around Gullringstorp and many of them are goat related. One of the biggest issues facing goat owners is wasted hay supplies. So often it falls through large hay racks that have large openings between the bars. You see, they don’t make hay racks for these small livestock. All of us have to improvise or try at building our own. We have a two-sided wooden rack that Leif built that fits one in Pumpkin and Rose’s box and the other side fits the sister’s Pansy and Poppy’s box. They have been working well except some waste in the sister’s box. The boys have the conventional horse hay rack which works fine ever since Leif had some bars welded on to help keep the hay in. That was a good idea. The problem in this box is 7 bucks. They can’t all eat at one hay rack and I don’t like to make situations that could prove volatile. So we tried horse hay bags. They worked fine for a while until the boys decided to sharpen their horns on them and rip them causing the hay to fall out. Alika, Keriana and Fiona have bags; they are not without their issues. Alika’s is always turned around. You see there is a nice round opening for the goat to stick their nose in to eat. This means she has to stand up and stick her head in from the top and eat. Keriana and her daughter Fiona have ripped he side of their bag loosing hay .
We bought 5 new hay racks and my husband has welded the bars on all of them. We won’t be placing them in the boxes until the weather gets better and our road gets better to be able to drive the tractor with the hay from the boxes. They still have the winter full level of hay and straw that keeps the goats warm during the winter. With the level up so high we can’t place them in till the level is where it should be, much lower.
These hay racks are not complete yet. There will be a fencing material with smaller openings fit inside each rack. These are just the beginning of repairs and improvements that will need to be done here at Gullringstorp after the long cold winter.
Oh dear, the first thing I must do is apologize to everyone waiting for Iris to give birth. With all that has been going on and being indisposed for nearly a month, I was way off in my calculation for her delivery date. I had it in my head all this time that Iris had been bred in the first week of November when in reality, according to my records, she was bred twice, once on Nov. 25, and again on the 26th. This places her delivery date around April 19th or 20th. Darn!!! No one is more disappointed than I. Well I am back on track and it looks as if Iris was the only one on track all this time.
Iris and all our mothers-to-be are doing quite well . We are happy that all the goats have been able to get out of the stable and enjoy fresh air, run, play and relax in the sun. We are especially happy for the mothers -to – be.
While we wait for our new babies to arrive, there is much to do around the farm. One of the things I make a point of doing, is putting into service, items that we bought with the property that we had not yet used. One such item is a large cattle feeder that sits in the boy’s enclosure.
I have looked at it for years and wondered just how could we use it. There must be something we could use it for. The previous owner had steers at one point, so this was for them. First issue with this large piece of equipment was its location. I felt it was too close to the fence. We have young boys that live next door and I just wouldn’t want the goats startled by their playtime.
Then I got an idea, (poor husband hates when I “get ideas”, he knows what that means for him). Ok, we will just move it further into the enclosure. Well, that was a no go! The piece of equipment was set in concrete beneath the soil. It was there to stay! Darn!!!
My youngest boys are no longer bucklings, they are strapping bucks now, so I it came to me , why not use this wonderful piece of equipment for the boy’s hay supply. There were a few posts in the front, that were in question, so my husband used a hack saw to remove them . They were oddly placed, not far enough apart, and just close enough for a mishap. For us a mishap usually means a head getting stuck. So I am so glad those posts have been removed. My husband saw another potential issue; because the unit is so close to the fence, there was the possibility that a goat could get into the unit and somehow jump over the fence. Well, that problem is now fixed. Now there is a large plank of wood attached to the backside so that even if they get the notion to jump, they can’t.
This morning the hay went into the equipment. My boys were not so sure, so I had to coax them toward the new hay location. Goats love and thrive on consistency so any change is received slowly. It might take a few days for the boys to catch on to the new routine, and they will be comfortable with the new location of their hay supply. It’s just like my mothers-to-be learning the Milk Stand routine. It was not so easy in the beginning with them. Some arrived at the Stand on t heir knees, all were led by leash, some laid down on the stand and some wouldn’t eat. Now I don’t need a leash, they walk or run by themselves to the stand, hop up unassisted and begin eating. Just as the ladies learned , so will the boys.
Today was a real good start :
I know, I know, who has 7 bucks?? Well, I do. I have made a promise that any bucklings born this year will be sold. We have more than enough bucks.
Welcome back later in the month for Updates from the Maternity Ward and soon the Nursery Ward at Gullringstorp.
Things alway seem to be in transition here at Gullringstorp and with those transitions, I have to make some changes. Some are fun and some are a bit heart wrenching. Well this was one of the later ones to deal with.
My two little babies, Phillip and Winston were ready for their move out of their mother’s box , into the buck’s box.
I knew this time was coming, this is a transition that I have had to do several times. this does not make it any easier, however. Around the first of December, I started to introduce my little fellas to the other buck. They were placed in their box, under my close supervision for just a few minutes at first. The time was increased, but always under supervision. They were afraid at first, as expected, but #2 mommy was always there by their side. Mommy #1 Hilda was never happy during the boy’s brief moments away. That was not fun to hear her cries. But, it had to be done.
I have kept a close eye on my little fellas for the signs of maturity. Little bucklings mature quickly and you must really enjoy the “baby” stage because like all babies, theirs is also fleeting. I have enjoyed these two boys tremendously. Hilda has had other babies here at Gullringstorp and they are both still here at Gullringstorp. Peanut is as gentle a doe as her mother and Little Man retains her gentle ways also, even after 1 1/2 years.
These two little ones are my last bucklings to keep here from our breeding. I made a promise that any future bucklings will be up for sale. It pains me to think of this, but it would have pained me even more if I was forced to sell Phillip and Winston.
January 2nd, I looked at my boys and said this is the day. They were moved in with the other bucks. Having had many years of employment in hospital Clinical Laboratories, Emergency Rooms and as a trained Paramedic, I am able to tackle painful or uncomfortable situations with the strength required to get the job done.
The task at hand was completed, and I did cry as I walked away. I cried at my little one’s cries for their mommy and for the cries I heard from Hilda’s box. It was heart wrenching to say the least. I knew it was time for these little “babies” to now become little bucks. My little fellas were born August 11, 2012.
We are so very fortunate here at Gullringstorp, each of our mothers, so far have been able to have an entire box to themselves for labor, delivery and the first 4 months with their babies. It’s wonderful and I am so happy to be able to provide this for them. I have to say, it’s a bit of a luxurious life for my ladies. We have not sold any of our new babies to date, but I will be selling boys, if the come. My mothers are able to feed their babies, have their private nursery and play yards. I don’t take any of this for granted, believe me. My mothers are happy and content playing and feeding and looking after their little ones and I just love watching it all.
Phillip and Winston made the big move January 2nd to the boy’s box:
Well as you can imagine, I didn’t really sleep very well with my “babies” having their first full night with the big boys. When I arrived in the stable the next morning, they were yelling so loudly and so was Hilda. I mistook the screaming for the boys missing mommy and mommy missing her boys. To my wonderful surprise, it was to let me know they were ready for their morning grain.
As with all my baby boys, they are allowed to have grain for at least a month after they have been transferred to the boy’s box. Since they are still babies, they can still have some in the morning only. As bucks become older, they can no longer have the beloved grain because it can cause urinary stones.
January 3rd, I mistook Hilda’s cries once again and brought her boys down for a short visit. to my utter surprise, I was actually in rhythm with Hilda’s cycle. She did not want her boys anywhere near her now. My instincts on the morning of Jan. 2nd were correct. She was ready for her babies to become bucks and she knew that couldn’t happen in her box.
Well today, Jan. 4th, I got the idea that poor Hilda might be lonely with her boys gone now. What to do??? Ok , Nanna lives alone, and they seem to get along well, so I tried to bring Nanna to Hilda’s box. things seemed to go well for a bit but then on careful inspection, although there were no real clashes, Hilda was afraid of Nanna and Nanna was afraid of all the sounds coming from the two boxes on either side. I sat with them for a while and decided it was not going to work. Hilda will be fine actually until her box is once again filled with the patter of tiny hooves and Nanna loves her home.
Overall, the boys are just fine, Hilda will be fine and Nanna as always is happy.
Just a few of the changes and challenges with a small goat herd at Gullringstorp in 2013.
We had quite a scare with little Baby Boy on July 19th. He came around on the 20th and has made a steady climb back to good health. This is a little cutie you just don’t want to see not feeling well. What a sad little fellow he was. Yesterday, July 26th was his first day out in the enclosure. The vet recommended some days off fresh grass, grains and just have hay and straw. Boy it really felt good to let him and his buddies out to play! Their enclosure had been reinforced and a door put up to keep them in and the girls out.
My husband put a door on the fencing to help secure the enclosure. There is chicken wire around the entire enclosure. This would keep the live electric wires on the inside to deter the boys and the girls could not try to climb through the electric ropes. The entrance was a problem. A door was the solution. So far it’s working!
The boys really enjoyed their day out in the enclosure and so did the baby girls and the others, including our mothers to be.
Sleepy Nanna’s three steps to a nap:
Nanna was not the only one enjoying the day and taking a nap:
My expectant mothers are all a bit tired in the July heat. They rest as often as they can and they are a bit grumpy. they get really grumpy when new branches are brought into the enclosure or when we give another attention and not them.
Frida is getting a bit grumpy with her daughter Keriana. Frida would like to rest alone at times and poor Keriana is having a hard time with this. Frida eventually gets her space and Keriana must find a different place to rest.
With the mothers-to-be resting , alone, my yearlings Keriana and Alika had to make new arrangements for themselves:
After rest time, everyone heads out to enjoy the enclosure and all the yummy grass and flowers:
One of the climbing items in the enclosure was damaged by the goats so it needed some repair work. Finding things for goats to climb on safely is not so easy. We don’t have a natural rocky area for our herd so we have to bring things in for them. My husband began working and our Pumpkin who has a crush on my husband, was right there to check it all out:
I can’t say I wasn’t nervous with Baby Boy out eating grass after his problem, because I was. It was a long night as we kept checking on him in the box, only to find him happy and chewing his grass all over again! Best thing we could ever see! He was kept inside today just to give his rumen time to settle with all the grass he ate yesterday.
My expectant mothers are doing very well and seem happy and comfortable. Frida will be the first to deliver in the beginning of August. She is large, has a bit of trouble walking and lowering herself to rest but there are no real problems.
Welcome back for more from Gullringstorp!