THE MALE GOAT  by Margaret Thompson

Unless you have a large number of females to be served or have no access to a good stud male in your area do not be tempted to keep an entire male goat. There is no denying that male goats have a quite distinctive and very penetrating odour that will contaminate anything and anybody that comes within reach. They alone are responsible for the unfortunate myth that all goats smell.

Males are sometimes of doubtful temper, especially during the rutting season (September through to March) and many succeed in making themselves and their surroundings into a disgusting mess. These problems are, however, not universal amongst male goats and generally the responsibility for bad tamper and mess can be laid upon the owner. There is still a great demand for ‘pet’ wethers, so unless you are certain that your male kid is of breeding standard and you are going to keep him yourself or you have a buyer waiting, have him castrated and he is more likely to have a happy future. Unfortunately I still have many ‘phone calls every year from people who have, unsuspectingly bought a young, usually unregistered male kid, made a pet of him and then find the smell and antisocial behaviour impossible to cope with. Sadly they are rarely re-homed and many of these animals find their way to markets or even worse.

Fortunately, for the improvement of the breed, there is not a great demand for bucks unless of quite exceptional quality and it is usually better for small goat keepers to send their females away for a few weeks to a good, established pedigree herd where the buck’s parents, progeny and female siblings can be seen. Study the male’s pedigree, visit before deciding and see if his characteristics are those you are wanting to introduce into your herd. Most stud male owners will be happy to board your females by prior arrangement. Ask about the stud fee, boarding charges and find out if you need to take feed for the boarding period before you set off. Upon successful service a stud certificate will be issued by the ‘Stud’ owner and this will need to be presented when any progeny are registered. It is usual to give a second free service should the first prove ineffective.