Can Does and Bucks be used as Pack Goats?
The question if does and bucks can be used as pack goats is one of the most common questions new packers and curious goat owners ask. Without question the most effective pack goat to work with is a wethered (castrated) male goat. They grow the largest, which is the number one reason they are the first choice as a packer. Wethers also no longer have to deal with the issues that come along with reproduction as do does and intact bucks. I do believe they make a great pets. They also have personality tendencies of being docile and loving that can make them the better choice. I have many articles talking about how to raise wethers, and what feed to give them. Additionally, how to train them, but I haven’t spoken much about intact bucks or does. This article will help you think about some choices and their implications.
Packing with Bucks
Packing with bucks is possible, but there are several drawbacks. This is most evident if you have any experience with rutty bucks. During the rut everything will stink. You, your equipment, your bucks, and potentially everything in panniers on a buck, will reek. I just don’t see wanting to pack with a buck specifically during rut. If you work around that part, then you have huge horns to contend with and a shorter life span. This makes all the training work potentially less worth it. Bucks can be less bonded. Personality is ultimately what makes a good pack goat. In the non breeding season they can be OK. However, if you are just starting out with pack goats, bucks are not advised. I’d just avoid that whole part if you can. Bucks get weird, and weird goats are hard to pack with. That being said, yes, it is possible.
Packing with Does
Does make wonderful, but limited packers. They are just not very big and, if in milk, they are using energy to make milk. I often use does for the back country milk. I usually leave them essentially empty so they make more milk. It’s not worth packing them if I have boys to do that job. If it’s does only, then sure, pack them. They often have great personality and pack well, just not as much as larger goats. The kid trainer we have works awesome for does. Larger does may be able to fit into a cross buck like this one, if they are over 160 lbs. I love having my girls with me.. I just don’t pack them because I have bigger males. But, packing does is definitely doable.
One note about a does in milk; be sure to strip them out completely before you trek. This ensures her udder stays small, and doesn’t become an issue snagging on limbs and debris. I’ve never had an issue with a doe injuring her udder but I have always milked them before we moved. One last note, no need to pack a pale…use a larger stainless (single walled) water bottle and milk one teat at a time. Or, milk twice a day to not overfill the container. This will make it easier and also give you something to cool the milk in. Put it in a cold mountain stream and enjoy…yummy!!