It is very important to select bucks that can bring desired qualities to your herd. If you are breeding for market, you will want to focus on fast growth, multiple kids, and feed conversion efficiency. Someone interested in breeding stock will want to evaluate what qualities they would like to add to their herd and select based on that.
If you have only a few does to breed, it may make sense to lease a buck by locating a breeder that has a buck for “live coverage” rather than owning the animal. If you choose to keep does from the initial breeding, you will need to purchase another buck for further breeding.
Locating bucks can be done through listservs, breed associations, Facebook groups, or other public forums.
It is important to be selective during this process.
- Are you interested in an animal that is registered?
If you intend to show your animal, you will want to evaluate based on breed standards.
- Does pigmentation meet the qualifications?
- What’s the jaw structure? Do the teeth line up?
- What is the teat structure of the buck?
It is further important to verify if the buck has been tested for Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL), Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE), or Johnes in the past year. We used Sage Labs and were happy with their service. You should also know the status of the animals in your herd that are 6 months and older.
Once you’ve determined that the buck is a good match for your program and the biosecurity evaluation is up to date, it is important to have a contract in place between you and the owner of the buck. A contract template may be available from the breed association. Some associations will require a copy of the contract be kept on file with them. This will be important when registering the offspring if you choose to do so.
A contract should include the following:
- Name of lessee and lessor
- Addresses of the lessee and lessor
- Registration numbers of buck and does to be bred
- ID/Tag numbers of buck
- Tattoos of buck, if applicable
- Replacement value of buck and that, in the event of death or loss, the lessee pays the replacement cost of the buck
- Who is responsible for veterinary care?
- Start and End Date of Contract
Ensuring these items are covered in a written document will help to guide the process, enable critical conversations to occur and will outline what happens in the event that something does go awry.
Additional items may be added to the contract or as an addendum such as:
- Vaccination records
- Hoof trimming
- Worming dates
- Vet Check date
- CL, CAE, Johnes testing
- DNA testing
- Feeding Schedules
- Housing requirements
- Supplementation requirements
- Use of probiotics
I’ve created a template for your use. Please feel free to download for your own use.
As always, please share your experiences and best practice in the comments below! I would love to hear from you!