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What's that smell? It's goat love!

November 15, 2017

Love is in the air this time of year at This Little Farm.  Late Fall is the time most people are breeding their goats. Triggered by the shortening days, goats and deer start thinking about mating.  Male goats (called Bucks, just like a male deer), start to give off a peculiar odor.  But first, here's a little "Goat 101"...

In nature, most animals are seasonal breeders—that is, they mate and bear their young at the time of year in which it is most likely to be successful. 


In the goat world, there are two major categories of goats. 


Swiss goats:  Common Swiss dairy goat breeds you might see at your local farm are Alpine, Saanen, LaMancha, Toggenburg, and Oberhasli.  For Swiss breeds, the breeding season is triggered by the shorter days in fall, and ends in early spring or before.  All my goats are Swiss goats.

African goats:  These breeds were, of course, developed in warm climates are include Nubian, Nigerian Dwarf, and most meat goats.  And while they are very common in North America, they continue to be able to cycle and breed all year.


About Bucks:  Bucks (intact males) of Swiss and northern breeds come into rut in the fall along with the shorter days.  Does (female goats) come into their heat cycles at this time too.  A buck in rut will display flehmen (lip curling), blubbering, and self-anointing.  Yes, the buck will pee on his forelegs, neck and face so he smells just right for his prospective lady friends.


What's that smell?  Not only are they drenched in pee, the have a very strong odor during rut which comes from sebaceous scent glands at the base of the horns  This scent makes him very attractive to the female.  It is STRONG and most people don't tolerate the smell well.  I don't hate it, but it has a tendency to stick to/with you.  To me it smells like fall and anticipation of babies and a fresh supply of milk!









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