Goats are farm animals that are famous for their beards. But do female goats have beards? Let’s consider what a beard is in this case before we look at some pictures of female goats with beards.
A goat’s beard is a tuft of hair that grows under the chin, and sometimes down towards the chest. It is not to be confused with a similar tuft of hair on the male Bovidae family called a “bell.” In order for a beard to grow, it must have certain levels of testosterone in the blood. As with humans, some female goats have beards.
Do female goats have beards?
The answer is yes! Female goats can have beards just like male goats. Aside from beards, they can also have wattles, which are hair-covered appendages of flesh around the throat area. Sometimes it can also be found on the face or hanging from their ears.
Anatomically, beards are used by males during courting to attract potential mate. However, since female goats have beards, it is not considered as a gender indicator.
Why do female goats grow beards?
As mentioned above, beards are not always a sign of a goat’s gender, as horns are with sheep. (However, they may assist you to distinguish a goat from a sheep; not all goats have beards, but no sheep do.)
Scientists do not agree on the purpose of beards in female goats. One theory is that a beard mimics the look of a buck (a male goat). This may confuse other female goats and lead them into thinking a buck is nearby, encouraging them to breed.
Another theory is that if a male goat mates with two or more females, it signs its own paternity, communicating that he was there and encouraging the females to breed with him.
A third theory is that once a female goat has mated, her beard helps anchor her babies in place while she is giving birth. This would help prevent injuries during the birthing process. While none of these theories are yet proven, it does not change the fact that female goats have beards.
Which goats have beards?
In general, male goats have prominent beards, while some female goats have beards and others do not. The males use their beards during mating season to show dominance over other bucks. This means that male goats with longer beards are typically the top bucks.
Do female Nigerian dwarf goats have beards?
It depends. Both male and female Nigerian Dwarf goats are known to grow beards. Every buck I’ve ever seen has a beard. Wethers and does can go both ways. I have a beardless wether; and only half of my does have beards.
So do not be alarmed if you discover your female goat has a beard. It is simply part of her anatomy, and will not affect her health or milk production in any way.
Do all pygmy goats have beards?
The Pygmy’s coat is a full, straight hair that varies in density according to the seasons and climates. Beards are present on female pygmy goats, although they might be sparse, non-existent, or trimmed.
On adult males, thick hair growth is appealing; the beard should be full, long, and flowing, with a plentiful mane cascading down the shoulders.
Do female goats have horns?
Horns are a permanent feature of goats, and they are not shed or molted. Horns grow out of a membrane called the periosteum which is attached to the skull and can grow as much as 5 cm a month.
The age of a goat may be determined by counting the annual growth rings. According to the Animal Diversity Web (ADW) at the University of Michigan, both male and female mountain goats have horns.
By the age of three, goats had accomplished 93% of horn development. During the first 1.5 years of life, male horns grew more than female horns. Horns on females developed faster than those on males during the third year.
So just like beards, a goat’s horn does not indicate its gender.
Male and female goat differences
If beard and horns do not indicate a goat’s gender, what does? Male and female goats don’t vary too much except for the fact that they serve different purposes. However, there are a few physiological distinctions between male and female goats.
That includes size difference, odor, beards and horns, and anatomical structures.
Size Difference and Stocking
Generally, domestic goats weigh in the range from 30 – 240 lbs, and they stand at 10 – 40 inches height. There is a big range because it varies from breed to breed. Despite such a large margin amongst goat breeds, the male goats or bucks are generally bigger compared to does or female goats.
Male Goat’s odor is a pungent combination of urine, feces, and musk that can be very unpleasant and strong.
Female Goat’s odor is a strong combination of urine and musk when they are attracted to bucks, leading to mating between the two goats.
Beard and Horns
Both male and female goats have beards. Bucks may grow a more prominent beard than does but it varies between different beards.
Likewise, both gender have horns, but does have slightly smaller horns.
Male goats have two testicles and two well-developed penis’ scrotums that are easily visible underneath the tail. Female goat genitals are internal. The vulva is a small slit-like organ behind the anus.
Mammary glands and teats can be found on both female and male goats, but only females have milk-producing udders.
Male or Female Goat: Choosing a Pet
When one is looking to purchase a goat for the first time, it’s important to consider the difference between gender and personality.
Both male and female goats are cute, cuddly, and friendly animals that can make excellent pets if cared for correctly. However, it’s important to be able to tell whether the goat you’re looking at is a he or a she in order to establish an appropriate living situation with your new pet.
Most people prefer smaller breeds such as dwarf or pygmy goats. As well, female goats and castrated male goats (also known as wethers) are preferred to intact males. This is because intact males tend to get larger and will be more aggressive.
Do female goats have beards? Yes!
After reading the article, we finally shed light to the age long question, do female goats have beards? In conclusion, female goats tend to have small horns and beards whereas male goats tend to have large, curving horns and beards. There are a number of obvious differences between male and female goats that one can use to tell them apart.
Sarah Lane has been a farm wife since 2010 and mother of two children for nearly as long. She and her husband, Jonathan, live on a small farm in Texas where they raise dairy goats and beef cattle as well as chickens for eggs and meat. In addition to growing their own hay, straw and garden produce, the Lane family works with other nearby farms to source organic grain from which they make artisan bread sold at local farmer’s market.