Today I brought Roxy to stay five days with Rah, a Saanen buck, belonging to one of my friends, Cassie.
Rah is three years old - Roxy is four - and has several offspring in Cassie’s herd. I would have originally preferred to breed Roxy to a LaMancha buck, but it was just too hard to find one a short driving distance from where I live.
A Saanen would have been my second choice anyway; they have many benefits. Their white coloring helps them keep cool in the summer but at the same time they are also well suited to cold climates - they originated in the Swiss Alps. They are also the largest of the dairy breeds, which should balance Roxy’s smallness. Saanens also have very calm, quiet, lade-back temperaments which helps them deal with changes better. They also have very high production – and Cassie’s are certainly no exception. Crossbreeds are also said to be sturdier and more disease-resistant then purebreds, which is yet another benefit of breeding Roxy to a Saanen.
Quoting Rancho Snowfall Dairy Goats (http://ranchosnowfall.com):
“We are often asked what is the best breed of dairy goat, and the answer has always been a Saanen LaMancha cross for us. These animals are truly hard workers in the milk parlor with an exceptional balance of vigor, high production, and good components. Throughout the Rancho-Snowfall history, you will find that experimentals have played an active role in milk line.”
Bucks have microscopic scent glands in the skin located right behind their horns. During breeding season, these scent glands produce a strong odor that most people find offensive. It's meant to attract the does, but if I were one I sure wouldn't be attracted. Rah is very friendly, though, and was kindly rubbing his face, neck and mouth all over me. He was trying to be nice, but believe me when I say that I was very fragrant by the time we left. Outside of the breeding season, bucks are perfectly normal - for a goat, that is.
We seemed to have had perfect timing, as Roxy is just going into heat but hasn't reached a standing heat yet. We just put Roxy and Rah together, and as soon as she's ready she'll let him do the job. When that happens, Cassie will give me a call so that I will know Roxy's due date.