Yet when you look at him you wonder just how long it's going to take for him to 'grow into himself'. Those narrow gawky kid legs, hunched rump and timid eating habits don't do anything for your confidence. You wonder how much of this is bad management and how much is genetics.
Hopefully, your buckling will still have plenty of time to mature before he's required to do his job.
I'm right there with you, now. When I chose the buckling I did for my junior herdsire, I did it sight unseen, by the numbers. As I stared at the small, scrawny 6 month old kid before purchase, I mentally weighed the other options in my area- the only other good match was a 4 hour drive one way and more than twice as expensive as this buckling. Yet their genetics were both on par. This buckling wasn't so expensive that wethering and using for companion or meat would put me in the poor house. But, it was still another mouth to feed.
I didn't deliberate for long, and went with my prior decision based on the numbers. I bought him. I made a bet on his ancestors against the clearly inferior looking animal in front of me.
It is more than possible that bad management can take the best genetics an animal can have and turn it into a mess. It is also possible to use management as a tool to bring out the very best in even genetically compromised animals. With my experience in animal husbandry, I can usually tell the difference between a genuinely shoddy animal, and one that has just been neglected to have been cared for properly. This is a skill honed over many years managing a great many different types, breeds and species of animals. The main message here; just because your chosen buckling doesn't look the part right now, he might surprise you in a year or two's time. Perhaps more importantly than knowing that there is hope for your planned junior herdsire, there should always be a 'plan B', or a way to mitigate loss and expense should your choice in fact not turn out to be herdsire quality after all.
For general reference, a healthy goat kid should gain 10 lbs per month. That means, if a kid is born weighing 5lbs, by 8 months old he should weigh 85lbs.
It is also in general, difficult to tell just how much a goat weighs by looking at them. Even seasoned breeders sometimes are off the mark. Weight tapes can be inaccurate with growing kids, too. The only good solution is to use an accurate scale.
Every new goat owner is usually all too willing to buy into a kid or even group of kids from one farm that promises excellent quality at a low price. I can tell you from experience, even if you do trust this goat breeder wholeheartedly, just go visit some other farms with young stock too, and see what their goats look like.
It's a nightmare scenario that we've probably all gone through at some point in our goat raising careers. Bringing home an unthrifty, stunted, wormy, or just sickly kid in with high hopes usually only ends in disappointment, or at worse, tragedy.
Such a kid has the very real potential of infecting your entire herd with any number of parasites or diseases. These problems are often not caught early enough in fledgling herds; the caretaker simply doesn't know what to look for. The infected kid may or may not be too stunted to be a productive member of your herd, but you can bet that if it infects your entire herd, all your future stock will have a tough time being productive. A new or fledgling herd can rarely if ever afford to compromise even one kid crop.