Alchemy Acres
Tip of the Month

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Well - its Fall once again, and time to think about breeding the does. Egad!! Time sure flies when you're having fun - or so I'm told. So this month we're turning our attention to the buck.

First, we must select the buck of our dreams. What this means is that we must take a good hard look at our does. What are their strong points, and what are their shortcomings? The buck must be selected to complement the doe. If the doe has lousy feet, select a buck with well-formed hooves and who stands on strong legs. Try to keep from losing the doe's good points, while still improving on her weaker areas. As an example, my herd has strong mammaries with lots of milk. I surely don't want to lose that. My does have mediocre ears, however. Therefore, I select a buck who comes from a long line of good mammaries, but who also has very good ears. This is just an example. It all boils down to that which is important to you, the breeder. Decide on the characteristics that are most important to you, and then select a buck for those characteristics. If he has a weak area or two (most animals do), make certain that your does are strong in those characteristics. I also like to stay within one bloodline - in my case, the Muirhill/Cadillac line. You will probably find more consistent results if you limit the number of bloodlines in your breeding program. You do NOT want the "flavor of the month" buck. Just because "everyone else" is using a popular buck does not mean he will do well in your herd.

OKAY!! You selected your buck, and purchased him last Spring. Now is his golden moment. For him to do well, you need to do a few things to put him into tip-top condition. You should, of course, give him good care year round. But at breeding season, he can use a little extra tender loving care. First off - trim his hooves. He MUST have a good set of "wheels" if he's going to be able to breed the does. You might also want to wash the bucks forelegs and then coat them with mineral oil. This treatment can help to mitigate the scalding that occurs when he sprays himself. Secondly, feed your boy very well. Give him as much chow as he can pack away. At breeding season, the bucks can suddenly develop interests besides eating, so make certain the herd sire gets plenty of nutritious chow. If your buck is an anomaly and doesn't stop eating, don't give him so much chow that he founders, however. And feed him lots of vitamins and minerals. We feed Vita-Firm, Diamond yeast, and trace mineral salts. We also start putting a squirt or two of apple cider vinegar in his drinking water (the better to produce doe kids, supposedly). The vinegar is good for him, in any case, so it makes us feel better to think we're stacking the deck with doe kids. Thirdly, check the boy's jewels for lumps or any abnormalities. Call your veterinarian if you find anything suspicious.

Ann Sherwood of Springfield, Massachusetts sent me the following poem, which I believe is particularly appropriate for this month's topic.

Ma-a-a, he's making eyes at me.
Ma-a-a, he wants my company.
Great God Pan: He's stomping his hoof.
I can't keep on being aloof.

Oh, Ma-a-a, what does bluh-blub-blub mean?
His Capri-scents so keen.
See his big dark eyes afire.
He's an ADGA purebred sire.
Oh, Ma-a-a, he's hugging me.

I hope you enjoyed Ann's poem as much as did I. And take good care of your buck. He will reward you many times over when you get that gorgeous crop of his doe kids next Spring. GOod luck with your breeding program, and we'll yak at you again next month.

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Welcome PageDescription of Dairy HerdWhat's New at the Site?Crafts and Nifty StuffAlchemy's MenagerieTip of the MonthPrevious Tips of the MonthOther Resources of Interest