Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bucks and wethers

I forgot to mention a few things in my previous post about bucklings and wethers. I wanted to point out the obvious but often overlooked fact that the does love their kids very much. They love their sons just as much as their daughters. I am sure that they are heartbroken when their sons are taken away from them forever. We decided early on that we would allow each doe to keep her first daughter, so that at least she would always have one of her offspring to keep her company. Xoe has had her first daughter Yin, and this year we are keeping Asia as well. Rose has her daughter Zinnia. She will lose all three of her sons this year, so hopefully Zinnia will be a comfort to her. Xanadu had her first doeling this year, one of the main reasons we decided to keep the two doelings this year.

The doelings do much better if they have one other companion their age. We've decided to keep either two doelings a year, or none, but never one. Of course keeping eight does is getting close to maxing out on numbers. If we want to keep doelings next year, we may be selling a couple does. We will try to sell a doe with her daughter, or a couple does that are close to eachother. We are trying to keep a couple does out of each buck, so that as they are bred we can see the differences between half sisters. We have three does out of Lew that are all ready to be bred this year. This years doelings are the first out of Xavier. This coming breeding season we have two bucks that we've never bred yet, Zanzibar and Zoro. We will have six does we can breed, although I think we will chose one to milk through and not re-breed so as to have a constant yearsupply of milk. My girlfriend has four Lamancha does to breed to our bucks this year. So we'll be having fun deciding who to breed to who. Zanzibar, pictured below, is getting much attention with his striking markings.

Xavier is three years old and full size. Zoro and Zanzibar are a little over a year and about half the size as Xavier. The bucks are very friendly and lovable. They are also large and don't realize their size or strength. I am cautious around them, but not afraid. We tie the bucks up every morning to eat their grain. This is to make sure we handle them and they are use to being guided by their colars. They also get use to waiting patiently while chained to a tree, so we can clean up their coral, fill waters etc. 

The bucklings are just as cute as the doelings. They run and play. They are curious and enjoy attention. Unlike the doelings we do not name them. I tend to handle them less in an attempt not to grow too attached. We find that the doelings tend to be more suspicious and aloof than their brothers. This year I have been working harder at handling the doelings from the beginning. In past years, I thought that they would come around to trusting me as they got use to my presence. This spring I've been picking the girls up and petting them daily, since they were born, and as a result they relax into my arms as soon as I pick them up. It's not easy selling the boys and not knowing for sure if they will be well cared for. We can give them a good start with their families and then look for responsible owners and hope for the best.

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