BUCK POWER

We introduced Coltrane, our new, very handsome buck, to a pen of ladies this past month. At two years, he should have the stamina to breed about 25 does a month. At three, he will be all business, breeding up to 40 does a month. This is his "buck power".

 Buck libido and fertility are linked to day length. Now, in late summer and early fall, is a good time to breed. As the days get longer, a buck produces less sperm, of uneven quality.

Does reach puberty at anywhere from 4 to 12 months, depending on breed and their health, but we don't breed them until they are a solid 70% of their adult weight. At puberty, they will come on heat about every 21 days, and stay on heat for 12 to 36 hours. On heat, they will waggle tails, snort, and flirt. We have used raddle powder in the past to identify which does have bred first. Raddle powder is a non-toxic dye - just a solution of colored chalk and vegetable oil will work - that you can apply to the buck inbetween his front legs either manually or by attaching a harness. Provided you position the powder where it will only mark a mounted doe, you will have a good idea of which does have bred and therefore their due dates. If marked does are marked again the next month, you may have a buck with poor quality or even sterile sperm.

So far, Coltrane is all about the look-at-me, aren't-I-handsome snorting and less about getting down to business. Maybe if we stop hanging out watching?

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