Eau du Goat, Or, What Is That Smell?!


goat profile view
Showing off for the camera...

Goats stink. Specifically, bucks stink. Fortunately, they don’t stink all the time, but when it’s breeding season, grab your gas mask because it’s bad...really bad! It’s currently breeding season for my Kinder goats, so “buck stink” is in the air.

Meet Spock, my Kinder buck. Spock was born in March of 2019, so he’s a young boy, but he is filling out and becoming a fine looking buck. He arrived on the farm in May 2019, did his one-and-only-job very well, with four kids that arrived at the end of February 2020 (I wrote about them in a previous blog). Maybe it was because he was younger, but I don’t remember him smelling that bad last summer. Boy, was I in for a surprise when the does came into heat this year.

As you can see, Spock has a lovely beard. It usually is a beautiful grey/white/black mixture. Right now, the white and grey are a not-beautiful yellowish hue, as is his nose. I can’t think of a delicate way to put this, so here goes. His beard and nose are now yellow because he pees on himself. There you have it, folks, the secret to goat love. Urine. While a “why do goat bucks smell” search will yield oodles of information and anecdotes about stinky bucks, the short story is that bucks spray themselves to attract the does, who find it irresistible.  

(As an aside, I taught junior high and high school for 20 years. I remember Axe body spray. If you’ve ever been around a young human male who uses a product like that, I see an astonishing similarity. Some days, my eyes would be watering as the kids would change classes.)

As if this weren’t enough, bucks also have scent glands near their horns that are triggered by testosterone. The combination is a heady brew that sticks to my clothes when I walk anywhere near his pasture. When I have to enter the pasture, Spock will come up for pets and neck scratches (he is very much a friendly and calm little guy, but as with all male animals, I keep a close eye on him), leaving me to smell like buck for hours. And that’s after washing with handfuls of soap! The smell does not go away quickly.

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