When you get goats, you’ll inevitably run into the question of whether to get bucks or not. While some prefer to just raise does, if you’re breeding or wanting goat milk (something I’d like to have someday), you’ll have to deal with this at some point. So, can bucks live together?
Goat bucks can live together, but if they’re newly introduced, or don’t have their pecking order established, they can fight. This is especially true during rut. For best results, separate the bucks from the does until you’re ready for them to breed.
So, while bucks might butt heads quite literally, what about wethers (castrated goats)? Or does? Can bucks get along with them too?
Can Two Bucks Live Together?
Two bucks can live together but may butt heads and occasionally injure the other, especially in the beginning. Bucks usually get more aggressive when they go through rut and have does nearby. If your bucks aren’t getting along, consider keeping does out of their range.
Bucks will often fight and head-butt each other during rut. This is especially true for bucks that weren’t raised together and were introduced at a later age.
If you’re introducing a new buck, it’s best to keep them separated until rut is over. Otherwise, they’ll fight and compete for the does attention for most of the season.
If you have a polled (hornless) buck, they’re normally more defenseless than horned bucks and should not be kept with them. This can result in bullying and the horned buck taking advantage over the other.
The same goes for wethers. While they can better defend themselves and can make for good company for bucks, they’re often less aggressive due to the lack of testosterone. This makes wethers more of a target for bucks that are in rut.
Even if you separate bucks in rut, if they see or sense each other, they’ll still feel threatened. Bucks have even been known to fight through the gaps in fences. It’s best to separate bucks based on how big they are, if they’re intact, and if they have horns or not.
If you have more than two bucks, you can designate the more submissive ones to one paddock and the more dominant ones to the other. In extreme cases, you may want to keep the highly dominant bucks to themselves or with other livestock they might get along with, such as sheep or llamas.
What and When Is Goat Rut?
Rut can dictate a lot of what you do with your goats on the homestead. You’ll likely have to separate goats during this time and keep an eye on the bucks. Here’s a bit more what to expect.
Rut is when goat bucks get a boost of hormones (largely testosterone) and are ready to mate with a doe. This is prime time for bucks to fight as tensions are high. Rut usually lasts from early fall to late winter. If bucks are too competitive, it may be best to separate them in different paddocks until rut is over.
While some goat owners don’t need to separate their bucks, others do. It has to do a lot with the buck’s temperament, drive, and previous experience. If you have bucks that weren’t raised together, you should keep a close eye on them, especially if it’s their first rut together.
Can Two Wether Goats Live Together?
Wether goats can live together more effectively than bucks that are in rut. They’re generally calmer and less bothered. This is especially true if they don’t have does nearby. Although there’s a chance they’ll occasionally butt heads, it won’t be nearly as much of an issue.
If you’re keeping both bucks and wethers together, it’s best if they’ve known each other for some time. If they weren’t, you might have your hands full. The most ideal scenario is to have a few weathers or bucks raised together and properly (and slowly) introduced to the rest of the herd.
Can You Keep Bucks and Does Together?
It’s not recommended to keep goat bucks and does together unless you’re breeding them. Even then, you should be introducing one buck to a doe at a time. Bucks in rut can get territorial, so separating them until you’re ready for them to breed is usually best.
Intact bucks should ideally be separated from does at all times other than for breeding. Does will come into heat about every 3 weeks and bucks will take advantage if they can.
Consider housing your bucks and does separately, as the bucks will try their hardest to find a way to them, especially if they’re in rut. They can even breed through a fence, so wiring the gates shut and checking them often is a good idea.
Some bucks can be successfully housed with other bucks or wethers. But occasionally, they might need to be separated. Keeping them in a separate paddock, but still in the visibility of the herd can help ease them and make them still feel like they’re part of the herd.
If the bucks get lonely or dejected from not being part of the herd, consider running them with sheep or a llama as they’ll likely bond and won’t be as aggressive as they would be with goats.
Bucks can live together, but they will become much more territorial when they’re in rut. They’ll constantly challenge each other and try to climb the pecking order. You have a better chance of two bucks accepting each other if they were raised together. Also, bucks can get pretty messy, so becoming familiar with their breeding process and pecking order will help make raising them a bit easier.