Did you ever think you would be wondering about birth control for goats? But while baby goats are cute, there are some times you don’t want to breed your does. Luckily, the goat anti mating apron can help you prevent unwanted pregnancy in your goats.
We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about goat anti-mating aprons. We cover what it is, how to use it, and even where to find them.
We’ll even give you the skinny on whether or not they really work. So let’s dive right in.
What Is a Goat Anti-Mating Apron Anyway?
Think of a goat anti-mating apron as a chastity belt for your bucks. Its primary purpose is to prevent your goat from mating with your does. Only rather than a metal belt with a key like medieval chastity belts, the goat “chastity belt” comes in the form of an apron attached to a harness strap.
You sometimes will find the goat anti-mating apron is also called an “olor.” That’s because the Maasai herders in Kenya use a goat apron to prevent conception, and they call it an olor. In Kenya, they make their olors from leather or even plastic (1). You’ll find the ones you can buy off the internet are made from heavy-duty waterproof fabric with adjustable straps.
But no matter what you call it or how you make it, they all are designed to serve the same purpose — goat contraception.
Why Use a Goat Anti-Mating Apron?
You may think the idea of the anti-mating apron is pretty self-explanatory, no unexpected babies. But you’ll be surprised at some of the other reasons to use these aprons. So let’s take a look.
Obviously, as the name says, the aprons are to prevent mating. But then, so is castration. But castration will permanently prevent your bucks from breeding. On the other hand, your goat anti-mating apron will allow you to prevent conception except when you want it. You want to think of your goat apron as means to help control when your does conceive.
This birth control method comes with several advantages. The apron allows you to leave your bucks with your does rather than separating them. Keeping both sexes together helps encourage healthy herd dynamics. It also helps keep your buck happy. Separating and isolating bucks can lead to angry animals that are difficult to handle — and no one wants that.
Not only can you leave your breeding bucks with your herd, but anti-mating aprons allow you to leave your bucklings with their mamas longer. Usually, you want to separate the bucklings when they could possibly impregnate their mother to help prevent inbreeding. But the apron helps make this unnecessary, allowing the bucklings to nurse longer.
A final benefit to anti-mating aprons is that they can help prevent your bucks from urinating all over themselves. We all know that gross habit bucks have — they pee on their legs, they pee on their face, heck, they even pee in their mouths. Supposedly, female goats think all that pee is sexy, but I’m not a female goat, and neither are you. Not only does buck pee stink, but it can also stain your bucks and actually burn their skin. It’s called urine scald, and it can be painful to your buck. The apron blocks your buck’s ability to get pee everywhere.
How To Use A Goat Anti-Mating Apron
Using a goat anti-mating apron isn’t very complicated, though it makes it take a little while for your buck to get used to it. You might want to start with harness training your goat before you try and put the apron on for the first time. Once your buck is comfortable with his harness, then you can move on to the apron.
It’s not complicated to put the apron on — the strap buckles around your buck behind his front legs. Then the apron hangs down. The apron flap prevents any attempts at coitus your buck may make. Some aprons come with an additional strap that passes between the front legs and then up around the neck. This extra strap helps keep the apron in place.
Aprons come in different sizes and styles. Some styles offer more coverage than others, so make sure you choose the apron that is applicable to your needs. Certain aprons are narrower and will help control urine stains and scald but aren’t so good at preventing conception. You need the broader aprons to block your buck from mounting your doe.
Obviously, the same apron that will fit a Nigerian Dwarf goat won’t fit a much larger breed like a Boer. So make sure you accurately size your apron. If the strap is either too loose or too tight, then your buck will be able to move it aside in order to mate. The last thing you want is to walk out to the pasture and see the apron hanging to the side. If that happens, you will be wondering how to tell if a goat is pregnant.
Cleaning Your Buck Apron
We all know bucks are gross and stinky. So can you imagine what your buck apron is going to start to smell like? I mean, really, think of what it does — it blocks copulation and urination. Which means you are going to want to clean it pretty often.
To keep an apron on your buck at all times, you will want two aprons per buck so you can have a clean one for your buck on laundry day.
I wouldn’t recommend putting your harness in the washing machine. Instead, grab a hose and spray it down. If it’s really nasty, you can attack with a scrub brush. Harnesses are designed to be durable.
They are made out of waterproof, weatherproof material to put up with abuse from your bucks, so you don’t need to worry about being too gentle with it. If you live somewhere rainy, you can always just let nature take care of it. Simply drape it over a fence or a clothesline. Then let the rain and the sun take care of the rest.
Where Can I Find A Goat Anti-Mating Apron?
While the idea of the goat anti-mating apron may have originated in Africa, luckily, now they can be found closer to home. There are several companies online where you can order your goat anti-mating apron. You’ll find these are mostly small, family run businesses that still make each order by hand, so be prepared for your order to take a few weeks to arrive, especially in peak seasons.
The other option is to make it yourself. Just like you can find DIY plans for easy goat shelters, you can find downloadable patterns for goat anti-mating aprons. However, I would be cautious if you aren’t an experienced seamstress. If your goat apron doesn’t work, you could wind up with unexpected kids in five months.
Does it really work?
At this point, you are probably wondering the vital question — do goat anti-mating aprons really work? The truth is that unless you castrate your bucks, no form of birth control is going to be 100% effective. So if it is essential your does don’t breed, then this probably isn’t your best solution.
That being said, plenty of goat owners, the Masai included, claim to have excellent results using the anti-mating aprons to prevent conception. Like any kind of prophylactic birth control, success is based on how well the device is deployed. User error is the number one factor that causes failure and unwanted pregnancy.
In this case, the user is you rather than your buck. If you don’t attach your apron correctly, it is more likely that your buck will be able to move it aside to have his way with your girls. It also seems that commercially made anti-mating aprons are a bit more reliable than homemade ones.
In the end, if you make sure your apron fits your buck well, it should work. If you are really concerned, try it on your buck with him separated from the girls and watch him closely. You will be able to see if the apron stays in place or not. Then you can decide for yourself if you think it will work for you and your herd.
As goat owners, we want happy, healthy herds. One way to keep our goats happy is to keep bucks with the does like they live in nature. However, keeping our herds together can lead to unwanted pregnancy. In the past, the options to prevent pregnancy were to castrate your bucks or separate them.
But castration is a permanent solution, and separation makes your bucks grumpy. The goat ant-mating apron provides an alternative solution. Used correctly, these aprons can very successfully help you prevent your bucks from mating with your does.
There are some great benefits from this. You can use these aprons to keep bucklings with their mamas longer. Now the boys can get weaned later than they had before. The other main benefit is cutting down urine stains and scald. Rather than washing your goats, you can just hose down their aprons. How great is that?
Now goat anti-mating aprons are guaranteed to be 100% successful, so keep that in mind. But they do provide a great option to keep your herd together!
- Goat “condoms” save African herds. Retrieved from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7648860.stm
Rachael and her husband arrived on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua in 2011. There they founded El Jardin de la Vida, a tropical micro food forest, focusing on Sustainable Living Education. She teaches others to build with natural materials, live off-grid, and appreciate slow food.