I need to say up front that I do not have a lot of experience with having a large male buck around. My oldest buck is 6 months old and I am pretty sure I can still take him on if I need to. That said I need to be clear that I am not used to a full size, young, energetic, excited buck who outweighs me. The last buck we borrowed was older and more chill so I just assumed they were all like that. My does are certainly much more passive.
I chose to run him in the pen along side my girls to bring them into heat prior to releasing him. Not smart if you have to go inside the pen as I did to feed him and our 6 month old buck. My guy didn't scare me a bit, he is much smaller and still a baby.
I was full of fear due to the size and how Sawtooth would charge in from the field for food. He could smell the fear on me and would toy with me- circling me and getting in between me and the way out. All pretty harmless but left me uneasy. I was advised to feed him from outside the pen so I put a new feeder in the pen along the outside fence. That was fine til the day he pushed it to the middle of the pen and I had to go back in there with him.
I carefully went in, while trying not to show my fear, and placed the feeder back by the fence. I turned to go back out and there he was between me and the gate. He decided to show me his moves- he went up in the air in a twisting motion, head down and all 4 off the ground- much like a raging bull. I realized I was doomed. He came over to me as I slowly backed up and followed me in circles around the hay feeder til I decided to go for the gate. Of course he got alongside me and gave me a little nudge but I made it out alive. My heart was pounding fast and I felt as though I had escaped death somehow.
It was this night I decided it was time to put him in with my girls. It had just started getting dark and I slowly opened the gate to let him out into the main pen area. All the girls came over to say hi and he came out nice and slow (I was relieved). Then all hell broke loose. He started grunting and snorting and chasing them- I of course was scared to death and I jumped into the creep feeder in the middle of the pen. As I stood there just taking it all in I watched as he would run after them and they would scatter everywhere seemingly just as scared of him as I was. They ran as fast as they could, he would chase them then he would come over to me and put his front feet up on the side of the creep feeder I was in and just stare at me. As I stood there horrified by him chasing them and them running like crazy I see that 2 does I didn't want bred had gotten free and were out with him.
I was content just staying in the small area I was in but now had to enter the arena and take my chances and get my 2 younger ones back in their own pen. Well as he went charging after the other does I quickly ran into the other pen and was able to get the 2 back in there. Phew problem solved until I realized I was far from the main gate to get completely out of the pen and had to once again enter the area where everyone else was running wild. If by chance I got caught in the ruckus I would have been run down, it was a constant stampede of does running all over and him chasing and grunting/snorting, all of which scared the heck out of me.
So I had 2 choices either sleep in there or get out when he could not see me. After about 10 minutes he went inside the hoop house and I made my way out. Thankful to have made it out of there in one piece I had the harsh realization that I was going to have to be in the pen with him every day at least twice a day and somehow was going to have to deal with it.
I share this as it is fairly comical now that it is passed. I have since been going in and out every day with a wiffle bat by my side. My intention is only protection not to hurt him in any way. The bat is more to give me courage and feel as though I have some control over the situation. When he starts to crowd and circle me I simply put it between he and I and he seems to respect it.
I have learned to be larger than him and show far less fear around him. He has pretty much backed off me but will occasionally start circling me and trying to crowd me and get all up in my business. He is not violent, not charging me but is still testing me to see if he is the boss or am I.
I think we have agreed that I will not try to boss him around as long as he doesnt interfere with my choirs inside the pen. He no longer follows me everywhere but does try to be sneaky about getting around the feeder to be by my side. What he doesnt realize is that he is a little too big to be trying to sneak up on me.
I have much to learn about animal behavior and that is what I need to remember is that he is an animal and has animal insticts. I need to respect him and he needs to respect me. I am hopeful that I will someday be able to go back in the pen without being afraid as a wiffle bat isnt going to stop him if he decides to charge me, its simply to make me feel larger than him.
I think the fear set in when I started reading what others do when a buck gives you a nudge. I read all kinds of crazy things from people getting beaten up and kicked and this only fueled my fear and made it ten times worse than it was. My advice dont read this stuff. Call your mentor or someone who knows about goats.
I want to share the craziest thing I read that someone does when their buck is coming at them. The person describes how he would bend over the top of the buck and grab one front and one rear leg, pull him to the ground and sit on him til he submits.
My first question is just how do you do this neat trick when the animal is coming at you head first and ready to take you out? I still cannot figure out how one would do this without taking a severe beating. And as someone else pointed out if you cant hold him to the ground long enough for him to submit then one would really be in a bad spot as now the buck knows you lost the fight.
In closing I am hoping that the "buck effect" works to bring my does into heat and that they become bred and not that the only effect he had here was that he scared the heck out of me!