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Buck Stations

Cost effective strategy

Every male given has the potential to benefit 30 to 100 households, because all have access to local goats for cross-breeding. So one male goat can enable a whole village to breed their own dairy goats.

This is a very cost-effective approach, but it means that there is a delay of around 2 years from the arrival of the dairy male to the milking of the first daughters. So some projects also give out females to the most needy families. Elsewhere, we also sometimes place one female with the male as a demonstration.

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Foundation for good record keeping

Every village receiving the males must agree to keep good breeding records. This starts with recording when a goat is mated with the dairy buck. This ensures that when kids are born it is possible to trace their ancestry.   more...

Although the male is given freely, the buck-keeper must commit time and resources to caring for the buck and maintaining records. So the mating records also help them to maintain their own financial control - numbers of goats mated, and whether customers have paid.

Contact point

Experience has shown that the buck keeper plays an essential role in mobilising the community to breed their goats. The buck and its keeper are the visible contact point between the farmer and the programme.

A good buck-keeper will not just care for the male and supervise and record matings, but farmers will naturally turn to them for advice on goat health, feeding etc. It is therefore essential that the buck-keeper is well trained and supported.

As time goes by

Once he daughters of the first male are big enough for mating, a different male is needed for mating with them. So a planned buck rotation is needed to avoid in-breeding. This is made more complicated by the need to ensure that blood levels do not exceed 50% dairy blood. (I.e. Maintaining around 50% local blood.) So the buck rotation plan also has to take into account the percentage blood levels of the available males and match them against the breeding progress of the village.

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High-grade Toggenburg cross buck Community buck-keeper in Bundibugyo District Young dairy bucks being distributed in Masaka District Establishing record keeping in Masaka