Had someone tried to convince me that I would voluntarily care for, pet and become attached to a buck even as recently as early 2009, I would have cringed and possibly emitted a cynical chuckle followed by a scoff. I have never been markedly fond of bucks - they served for the purpose of propagation of offspring. A necessary nuisance if you will. During my years of having a 4-H herd, I mostly took does to bucks, although at different times did own a Togg buck for one breeding season, then a LaMancha buck I won at a show raffle several years later. Beyond that, my interaction has predominantly been at the commercial dairy where I was employed during college and in most recent years, at shows throughout the US that I have been privileged to judge. A series of bucks over the last 8 months have served to alter my opinion to the better.
Pineapple was the first buck who served to at least mellow my opinion of bucks. Pineapple arrived in the middle of an August heat wave and reacting to this stress, while exiting from the truck, landed himself in the middle of a shrub in my front yard, effectively re-landscaping it before running up and down the block not once, but twice (this during a time of goat keeping on the edge of a 300,000 population city). Over time, however, this free spirited buck began to tame and would appeal for attention over the top of the livestock panels. By the time he returned home, he was so tame that, when the truck couldn’t make it up a steep, moss covered Santa Cruz mountain road, he agreeably hiked the last 1/4 mile with us up to his home.
Then in late January the opportunity to purchase Elm*Glen Brazil presented. Talking with Karen Senn, she warned me that he was spoiled and more than a little attention seeking. In the time since Brazil’s arrival, he is more docile than some of the does. After trimming his hooves yesterday, he placed his head in the crook of my elbow and closed his eyes as I rubbed his chin and neck. I mean, really, as smelly as he is, who could really resist that charm?
Early this month, thanks to Trinity Smith of Goat-San LaManchas, we brought home Arabica, a beautiful little buckling full of spunk. A bottle baby in our herd of dam-raised kids, Arabica lived the first 10 nights in the bathtub of our spare room. He would vociferously protest the outrage of being “abandoned” by his human mothers, leading to the shutting of the bathroom door. Arabica is truly the buck who has won over my heart. No matter how much a slobbering, hormone driven buck he becomes, chances are I will still have a deep attachment to the creature who drapes himself over my knee foraging for the bottle he know I must be hiding somewhere!
This said, I suppose I should be grateful I recently discovered my ginger salt bath scrub does a near miraculous job of removing buck “cologne” so I can continue to enjoy petting the boys after the start of breeding season. With their unique personalities, the bucks truly are a bonus to the herd.