Probably unpopular subject, but could someone be really honest with me? Bucklings

Discussion in 'Goats' started by jen74145, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. jen74145

    jen74145 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Excess bucklings. There, I said it.
    I am leaning more and more towards Nigies... but am having a problem getting over the whole "dealing with the boys" thing. I am afraid, since I am looking forward to these little goats so much, and will be milking and personally interacting with them daily, that I will be very much a softie with them, despite my mantra of "it's not pets, it's livestock".
    I try to avoid anthropomorphizing about livestock, but I just don't know. I've always had a bit more respect for dairy animals than strictly meat... and do not know how I could have such a relationship with a doe, then kill her bucklings at birth. I would much prefer to wether, disbud, and just GIVE the boys away. Doesn't make much sense, but there it is. Especially little Nigies, hardly bigger than a soda bottle....

    So... does anyone have a way to get around this? I'd thought of raising them up and training to pull a cart, but I have neither the space nor the time, nor budget to feed that many goats for that long. There are several large markets around here I could try selling kids at, but it seems inevitable that some won't sell...

    Or, has anyone been in a similar spot? And, how did you make yourself okay with this needed unpleasantness?

    I really would love a small herd of my own (thinking three), as hubby and I are thinking of starting our own human herd soon, and I want to provide my child with organic, wholesome dairy products. So many dilemmas here!

    Thanks to anyone who can help... I feel so silly.
     
  2. diamonds

    diamonds Well-Known Member

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    Jen74145 I am wondering the same thing. So it is not silly to me. I want to go with the dwarfs. I also would like to wether, disbud and give them away as pets. The only problem I see is that it may not be a viable option. Most people want an animal and then do not take care of them.

    Alot of times the animals ends up sick and dies. You could also be put in a position to take a sick animal back then you could expose the rest of your herd. I really think it is a no win option. I hope that someone gives a good solution that I can implement too.

    Right now as a responsible owner I feel that I would have to do what my parents did with the bucks. Sold them cheaply for meat.
     

  3. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    Don't name them....don't even pet them!

    We have one goatcheese maker who lets them stay with their mommas til they are a month old...but he does complain about not getting too much milk, cause just when he goes to milk, the babies take their share. He sas that they are easier to sell for meat at one month, and the whole herd is happier when the babies are around.

    Another one separates the babies and bottle feeds them for a month before slaughter...with a giant tub of milk that has nipples all around.

    If it's the slaughter you don't like, you could probably find someone to do that for you as a trade for some meat or milk.
     
  4. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    Things may be quite different in your part of the country, but I've never had any trouble selling my Nigerian or MM wethers for $75 to $100 at weaning age. People buy them as pets or as companions for their other animals.
     
  5. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    I have miniatures as well. I am also starting my dairy herd, so we'll see where this all goes.

    First, my miniatures don't really make all that great of meat goats... It takes them about a year to reach 65 lbs, at leat mine. My 5 month old does are just now reaching 35lbs. I still pick them up and carry them. :) Since my miniatures are JUST miniatures, (not milking, not meat, just pets) it's usually not too hard to sell them. HOWEVER, I've only sold three so far, so we'll see how this year goes, as I'll have more to sell. Since they dont' make good meat goats, I can't imagine selling them to meat homes... They'd probably get frustrated with it. So I plan to make my herd large enough to a point where I can either sell all of my wethers, or only have a couple left over. I think I will have the time to train a couple for carting and sell them as childpets that way... Though it takes 2 years for a miniature to mature enough to pull me. I could handle the expense, I would think, at least with wethers.

    My dairy herd, which I"m just starting, is another matter. At least the first couple years I plan to raise ALL kids on CAE prevention because I"ll only get one milking a day anyways, and won't be able to spare any for raising meat wethers on. So the first couple years of wethers will go as pets. If they don't go, I'll train them for cart and either keep or sell them. After the first couple years I expect my dairy herd to have grown, so maybe then I would have enough does milking that I could just milk a couple and the others could raise thier wethers.

    I don't think I could ever kill them at birth. I don't think I'll let my herd get that large.
     
  6. jen74145

    jen74145 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am not talking about a large herd at all: a maximum of three does and their buck is likely my limit. I will, if I can find one, start with a bred doe this fall, and build up from there... perhaps keeping her daughters and purchasing a buck later on, but anyway.
    However, Nigies do have "litters". As in, five-six babies is relatively common. Worst case scenario, I *could* have 18 bucklings out of one kidding from each doe. Unlikely, but possible.
     
  7. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How many do you plan on having?? Anywhere up to 20-30 *shouldn't* be *that* hard to get rid of. There are many ways to rid yourself of excess bucklings without killing them at birth. That to me is a waste of life and is not handling responsibly our duty as livestock breeders. It would be my absolute LAST choice. I sold well over a hundred wethers last year and plan on doing it again this year. Most sell as bottle bucklings at a week old for $15-$20 a head. They are healthy and sold off the farm to buyers who will raise them for meat, pets or brush eaters. I make sure that the buyers know what they need and have what it takes, from there its out of my hands.

    Or if you have the milk, raise them till weaning, be sure they are tame, and depending on your area, you can sell them as pets. Around here I can very rarely sell them as pets, the area is just not right for it.

    If you eat meat, allow your does to raise their own kids so that they are wild, don't pet, touch, or name them, and have them butchered for your use. Delicious meat, you know how it was raised, what went into it, and they had a good life. What could be better?
    Or, if you are in an area of high hispanics or other ethnics who eat goat meat, that can be a very good outlet for your weaning size wethers/bucklings. Some of those groups prefer them still intact.

    Some places have a good brush goat market for weaned wethers.

    There are many options, though some are better suited to full-size breeds than to mini breeds.
     
  8. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I try to sell all my surplus bucklings by 3 weeks on bottles....mostly nubian and crosses...
    but we've butchered a couple for friends to roast at about 6 weeks.

    Killing them at birth is wasteful from a homestead point of view. If the milk is good for you then so will the meat...take pride in the fine fare you are "growing" for your family table and know that the meat was produced humanely. If you dont think that you can do the butchering find someone that will teach you or pay them.
     
  9. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well.....with only that many and with all the options as I posted in my last post.....you shouldn't ever be in the situation where you have to kill them at birth. That is just so wasteful if there is any way around it.
     
  10. jen74145

    jen74145 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Emily, I agree... apart from the horrible "I just killed her baby" guilt, it seems so wasteful of life... and that's another thing that bothers me.

    I guess my fear that no one will be interested stems from the pygmy bucklings I always see for sale... people can't give them away, it seems. I know pygmies are a totally different goat, but it still makes me wary.

    You've all reassured me quite a bit, thank you... heck, if it comes down to it, suppose there's always Canton... (huge farmer's market/flea market thing)
     
  11. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes....and if you have to, its not a bad option really. I'd rather butcher them myself because then I KNOW they were taken care of to the end. But the swapmeet is better than killing them at birth as you said! If you take them there as bottle babies, take some pop bottles and lambar nipples with you to give one to each buyer. I like to give them away full of milk so that the kid has at least one feeding of exactly what he is used to. I also print out instructions for bottle baby health and basic goat care. It makes me feel much better.
    And if the person asks no questions, just wants to grab the baby, pay you and go?? I don't sell them a bottle baby because to me, thats an indication of not enough interest in his well being. Good luck with all your guys! :)
     
  12. goatmarm

    goatmarm Well-Known Member

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  13. ChickenMom

    ChickenMom Well-Known Member

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    You could also check with the 4-H'ers in your area. They will take donated or inexpensive animals for projects for the kids.
     
  14. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I do the same here, only I butcher them at home. To me it is the one sure way of knowing they were always happy and wellfed. But with this many goats(100+) it becomes impossible to do that many. I am hoping someone with substantiate the rumour of a goat packing plant going in near here thats been floating around for several years now. If they would do that, I'd raise them all to butchering size and send them straight there to be slaughtered. Unfortunately, its just a rumour thus far.
     
  15. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    I just sold off my nigerian herd. I never had any trouble selling wethers. I sold them for $100 each if they had blue eyes, $50 if they had brown - and half off if they were going as companion wethers. I never sold any bucklings as breeding bucks. They were all sold as wethered pets, and I had as many as a dozen does kidding. By the end, I was timing weaning to be right at Christmastime. That worked out very well. I don't think you will have any trouble, really. The good thing about minis is that you have the pet market on top of the other two, (meat and milk).

    The rest of my post is about big dairy goats - but you may find something useful in it so I'll write it anyway:

    I live on the outskirts of a huge city, with a large ethnic population. I have taken surplus bucklings to the auction - but I can't do it again. It was too hard. I'd rather butcher them myself than go through that again, but that's our auction - others may be more humane. Harder on me to butcher at home, but easier on the animal - that's a price I'm willing to pay.

    I cull heavily - and only keep the very best, because on my small acreage, my numbers have to be limited. I 'should' be able to just do that anyway, but I must say, in the end - that it really helps my decisions!

    I did a lot of research - a lot. Even though I don't show - people have heard of me 'through the grapevine' around here now and since I have out of state bloodlines, but don't charge as much as the well known herds in my pedigrees, there is a demand for my kids. I'm not saying that I never have surplus bucklings - just that the above has been a good strategy for me, reducing the number of 'unwanted' goats. I'm not a large herd-owner by any means, and if I was, it may be more difficult. One of my goals in spending a bit more money on my goats was to create more demand for the 'byproduct' of my home dairy. It takes time for people to know that you are there (unless you show, I suppose), but once established it works. Lest you think I take advantage of my 'bloodlines' for sales - I only register goats that I feel are superior; I don't waste my time registering a goat with obvious conformation flaws. As a result I do sell unregistered family milkers and such, and still feel good about the quality/consistency of the milking genetics behind them. I always tell the buyer the reasons behind my decision not to register.

    When I was in Washington this past summer, the grade A microdairy that I bought goat's milk from for my son ran a very tight ship. She breeds only to a boer buck, unless she specifically wants/needs herd replacements. All those kids go into the freezer at three months old, using a butcher that she feels is the most humane. It is all put into ground meat - and then is sold to her customers as 'goat burger'.

    I know another larger dairy here in Arizona who seems to be able to find pet homes for their wethers due to the high volume of hits on their website - they sell all over the country, and have a scrupulously clean herd. So a website can help too - most of the breeders that I have spoken to who have websites say they sell 80% of their kids online.

    None of this will be necessary to you if you are only keeping three minis! I fully expect that your wethers will be easily sold as pets. It's when you keep the GIRLS that the problem grows exponentially! lol

    Niki
     
  16. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    dezeeuwgoats and others who say you have had good luck selling wethers to pet homes--how/where do you find buyers for the boys? I've had this same concern about raising dairy goats, and I just don't know that many people who want a pet goat. Do you advertise in the local paper, website, feed store, etc., or what? What kinds of people do you find who are looking for a pet goat?

    Thanks!
     
  17. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In this area, the money is just not there to sell to pet homes. And truly, a pet home is not usually the best. Most pets end up neglected after the novelty wears off, or at an auction. A home where they are destined for slaughter is actually *usually* the best as they generally get well fed till the end. Forever pet homes are rare to say the least. People who want pets are usually older couples or young couples with children. With older couples, the possibility of them not being able to care for the goat is quite strong. With young families its usually left to the children to care for them and unless supervised well(the parents responsibility that is often shirked), children generally don't do as good a job as they should and are sometimes just downright neglectful or worse. Out of well over 100 wethers I sold this year, only two that I know of went to straight pet homes....of those two, I know for sure that one was resold by the fall.....to where I don't know and its out of my hands. I much prefer a brush eating or butcher homes for this very reason if possible, though I can sell them for more money if I find them "pet" homes.....
    Sorry, I know this isn't really what you asked. :rolleyes:
     
  18. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    I use these two sites to sell, and they work fairly well :

    www.hoobly.com

    www.domesticsale.com

    Reminds me that i need to go email my buyers from this year. :) Ask for updates and whatnot. :)
     
  19. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    Hisenthlay - the pet homes were for the nigerian dwarf dairy wethers. I have not sold any large dairy wethers as pets.

    I no longer own a nigerian herd. The nigerians were fairly rare here - I advertised at feed stores and that's all I needed to do to sell all my available wethers. It helped that I didn't charge as much as other breeders for wethers.

    Niki
     
  20. moonspinner

    moonspinner Well-Known Member

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    With the small numbers you're talking about I can't see where you'd have trouble selling wethers as pets. I've never had a problem selling wethers and I have at least eight does kidding a year.