If you think about it, male and female goats were meant to be together, right? Isn't that how a natural herd should be? That's not a problem with a goat anti-mating apron.
Are you having to keep your bucks and does separated? Do you ever feel it's unnatural and stressful for your goats and their families? But you have to avoid unwanted or uncontrolled breeding, right?
There's a solution! Lots of goat keepers use goat anti-mating aprons as birth control for their bucks. This allows you to keep your bucks and does together.
At the same time, you stop them from breeding until you're ready for it to happen. There's another great side benefit of a goat anti-mating apron. It prevents the nasty habit a buck goat has of peeing on his own face, mouth and legs. That causes staining and urine scald.
Never heard of a goat anti-mating apron (aka a buck apron)? That's okay.
By reading this guide, you'll learn what it is, why/how to use one and where to get one so you can start keeping your goats together and controlling their breeding at the same time.
Image Credit: House of Bacchus
A buck apron straps around a goat's mid-section. It hangs down under the buck. There it will block him from breeding with a doe until you're ready for it to happen.
A buck apron (aka Anti-Mating Apron) is simply an apron which straps around a male goat's waist. It blocks him from being able to breed with a female goat until you're ready for him to breed.
Image Credit: Ann's Green Gables
Historically, goat anti-mating aprons have been used in Kenya by Maasai herdsman. There a buck apron is known as an "olor". Goat aprons are important there to avoid unwanted breeding. Large goat herds are kept together with both bucks and does mingling constantly.
For ages the Maasai goat herdsmen in Kenya have used buck aprons on their goat herds. They refer to a buck apron as an "Olor".
In Kenya there are serious droughts when plants don't grow. If goat breeding isn't limited during those times, many does giving birth will die for lack of food.
Olors are used to stop breeding during the drought season. Most goat herds there are not fenced and are being herded in the open.
Also, it's considered a punishable offense there if a goat from one herd breeds with goats from another herdsman's herd. That's another good reason to use an olor to stop breeding until the timing is right.
People in the U.S. and other parts of the world began to learn from hearing about the Maasai herdsmen.
The popularity of buck aprons spread across the world.
A buck apron stops your goats from breeding when you don't want them to breed.
Even when goat keepers have their bucks and does in separate pens, they still sometimes use buck aprons. Even with the best fences, a creative or determined buck can sometimes climb a fence or push through a gate.
Many experienced goatherds have seen "buck breakouts" occur, and it's discouraging to have goat pregnancies occur at random, inconvenient times. It also makes life difficult if you don't know which bucks bred with which does.
We've been through that on our farm and it usually means spending more money on DNA testing and guessing when goat kiddings might occur. When bucks wear buck aprons, even though separated in different pens, a buck breakout isn't a big deal.
The apron can stop the breeding from happening anyway.
Just because your goats are ready to breed doesn't mean YOU are ready for them to breed.
Often, you'll want to avoid kids being born at the same time as other kids being born. Or maybe you'll want to avoid kids being born in super cold or super hot seasons.
With an anti-breeding apron, you'll have better control over the timing of your goat's breeding and kidding.
Also, no more worrying about bucks breaking into the doe pen.
Image Credit: House of Bacchus
A goat anti-breeding apron allows you to keep your bucks and does together. You can avoid breeding until you're ready for it to happen.
Many goatherds feel that their goats should be kept together in a "natural herd".
This refers to goats living together, male and female, without being segregated into different pens and separated from each other. After all, that's the way goats live when they're in the wild in their natural habitat.
A buck apron can help you keep your goats together as a "natural herd".
You won't have uncontrolled breeding taking place.
Studies have proven that goat kids can grow to be much stronger and healthier if they can be left to nurse on their dam (mother) longer until they have reached an appropriate weight, and not weaned until it's absolutely necessary.
This is usually interrupted, however, when a buckling must be weaned early from its mother. That's usually necessary to avoid the risk of the buckling breeding with its own mother (inbreeding).
This is a real risk. A young buckling can possibly get a doe pregnant when he is as young as 7 weeks old.
A young doe could possibly get pregnant as early as 4 months of age. That could be fatal.
A doe's body at that age may not have the capacity to carry and deliver one or more kids.
All of these issues can be avoided when a young buckling is fitted with an anti-mating apron.
Urine can cause "Urine Scald". It can burn the hair and skin of a buck.
It's a serious, painful condition if left untreated. Urine can also stain the hair of a buck.
If his hair is normally white, this can result in an obvious yellow stain on the hair. That can be a big problem if you plan on showing the buck in a goat show.
If the buck wears an anti-mating shield, urine is mostly blocked and these worries can be avoided.
An anti-breeding apron has a strap which goes around the goat's waist, just behind his front legs to hold the apron on. When putting on the buck apron, just put the strap around the goat and secure it with a buckle.
Next, adjust the buckle to tighten the strap so the apron won't slide around. It shouldn't be so tight that the apron doesn't stay hanging down under the goat.
It has a weight at the bottom of the apron. That keeps it hanging down and always staying below the goat.
When you tighten the strap, you should be able to put two or three fingers under it. If it's too tight or too loose, just adjust one of the buckles until it's about right.
A goat apron also usually has a chest strap. It passes around in front of the goat's front legs across his chest.
This prevents the apron from sliding to the back of the goat. To put it on, stretch the chest strap around in front of the goat's chest.
Secure it with it's buckle. Tighten it just enough to keep the apron from sliding back down the back of the goat.
Watch your buck as he walks around, sleeps, etc. to make sure this isn't happening.
If the apron gets out of place, just adjust the straps. Adjust it so the apron stays in place under the goat and doesn't move around.
Remove the apron when you're ready for your buck to breed.
You'll need to clean the goat apron every once-in-awhile. Many people just hang it on a fence and let the rain and sun work on it.
It's a good idea to have more than one apron for each goat.
Your buck can wear an apron while another apron is being cleaned.
Most users seem to report that their buck aprons are highly successful, although they aren't totally guaranteed to prevent breeding 100% of the time.
There are plenty of videos of buck aprons in use that you can watch online. When you see goats in action wearing buck aprons you'll notice that they can jump, climb, lay down, rub on things and do plenty of rough stuff, and the aprons still seem to stay in place.
Some people have a problem with their buck when he rubs has back along a fence, which can sometimes cause an apron to slide up the side of the goat. Keep an eye out for this issue with your buck.
If it's happening, try adjusting the straps until the apron stays in place, even while your buck is scratching on a fence.
When you see your buck attempting to breed with a doe, a properly fitted and positioned buck apron will be right in the way and ready to block the action to keep breeding from happening.
A goat apron is also effective at preventing urine scald. When a buck wearing a buck apron attempts to pee on his own face, mouth or legs (which is common with a buck in rut during breeding season), the apron blocks most of the pee and makes it difficult.
Of course, it's not perfect, and a buck can usually get a little bit of urine on his legs. But the apron cuts down on a majority of staining and grossness that would otherwise occur on the buck's face and beard.
This can really be a benefit if you're about to take your buck to a show soon.
Image Credit: Ukerdis.eu
One downside of a goat anti-mating apron is that the thread and seams tend to break down quickly with regular use and exposure to goat urine and the elements outdoors.
You can find buck aprons for sale from a couple of sources.
Image Credit: House of Bacchus
House of Bacchus Pet Supplies is a primary source of goat anti-mating aprons for sale in the U.S.
Through their webpage online you'll find a House of Bacchus buck apron and these aprons are known as Bacchus Johnson Aprons. Prices at House of Bacchus goat supplies run anywhere from $22.50 to $40.50 per apron, depending on the size.
When you check out after shopping on their page, there may be a place to put in a House of Bacchus coupon code. However, the company has reported that there really is no coupon code available at the moment.
The coupon code box on their checkout page is apparently something provided in their checkout platform that they don't use yet.
Image Credit: House of Bacchus Goat Supplies
A Do-It-Yourself (DIY) goat anti-mating apron is an affordable option for goat keepers. The cost of purchasing goat aprons online can sometimes be too expensive. Costs can add up if you own multiple bucks. Aprons can wear out and need replacement every so often.
Buying goat anti-breeding aprons can get expensive. They can cost somewhere in a range of $20 to $40, not including shipping.
This can add up when you have several bucks. You'll need multiple aprons for each buck. Aprons wear out.
Also, while one is being cleaned, the buck will need to wear another one.
For many goat keepers, an affordable alternative is a do-it-yourself buck apron. Want to learn more about how to design and make your own DIY anti-mating aprons?
Check out the following case studies. These are goat keepers who documented the results of their own attempts at making a DIY goat anti-mating apron...
Image Credit: Ann's Green Gables
You'll want to test out your goat's anti-mating apron by watching to see that it stays hanging under the goat. Make sure it doesn't crawl up the side of the goat or get stuck.
Once you've purchased a goat anti-mating apron for your own buck, you'll want to test it.
Observe for at least a day or two before you leave the goat unsupervised. Adjust the apron on your goat so it's snug, but not so tight that it bothers or scratches your goat.
Watch your buck as he walk around, wearing his new buck apron. Look to see that the apron consistently hangs directly under the goat.
It should stay in place directly under his torso. It shouldn't crawl up his side where it won't be effective.
Soon you should see that your goat is accustomed to the apron. He should be able to go about his daily activities without any trouble.
Then you will only need to check the apron every once-in-awhile, for adjustment, cleaning and replacement if needed.
Video Credit: Clove N' Hoof Ranch