In Defense Of The Buck

by Lydia Hale

For many years, I have been distressed by the wild tales and misconceptions that are spread about the male animal, THE BUCK. I would like to bleat out a few of my observations and feelings on the subject.

The buck is an indispensable member of any good Pygmy goat herd. Because of his important role in the herd, he should be given the very best possible care in feeding, housing and companionship. I am convinced that many of the problems that occur with a buck are created by keeping him separated from the does, alone and miserable. Frustrated and bored, a buck can become difficult to live with.

I do not recommend keeping a buck as a pet. He is incredibly strong and, despite his small size, his urges for mates and food are great, making him hard to handle unless his keeper uses some intelligence. [. . .] A Pygmy wether can be a good companion for him and can help keep the buck’s frustration to a minimum.

A buck needs a firm hand and a gentle touch but, given that extra bit of love, he will reward you with his loyalty and responsiveness. Most bucks are intelligent and seem to know immediately those who genuinely care for them. Young children should not be given a buck to care for, and under no circumstances must a buck be teased or allow to play butting games. Too quickly, such games turn into very rough play. We permit no visitors to touch the horns of any of our goats. Instead we encourage then to lead and control the goats by their collars.

Opinions about the odor of bucks vary, and I have had many a heated argument about it. Personally, I do not find this odor offensive; I greatly prefer it to other barnyard smells. Ever had a whiff of a chicken or duck pen on a warm summer’s day? And how about rabbits? If the Pygmy buck’s quarters are clean and he has access to plenty of fresh air and outdoor exercise space, you will find very little to complain about.

With a buck, good management is essential, but even more important is liking him. For a long time, I thought we had just been lucky to have three bucks of exceptionally good nature, but having met several other bucks lately, I realize that this is not just a matter of luck.

Be considerate to you buck, spend some quiet time with him, and you will have a good friend.


Excerpts from:
Hale, Lydia, and Ellen Kritzman, eds. Pygmy Goats: Best of Memo (1976-1981)
National Pygmy Goat Association: pp 31

This document is for informational purposes only and is in no way intended to be a substitute for medical consultation with a qualified veterinary professional. The information provided through this document is not meant to be used in the diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or disease, nor should it be construed as such.