Goats are fun-loving and curious creatures that have been domesticated for thousands of years. You may have seen them grazing in fields or farms near you. Goats come in different breeds, sizes, and colors. While the females are called does or nannies, the males have a special name – bucks or billies.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Male goats are called bucks or billies. In this article, we’ll explore why they are called that, the origin and meaning behind these names, differences between bucks and billies, and some interesting facts about these male goats.

We will first look at the terminology used for male goats and why they are specifically referred to as bucks and billies. We will then get into the history behind these names and trace their origins. Next, we will differentiate between bucks and billies and when each term is more applicable to use.

Finally, we will round up the article by sharing some fascinating trivia and facts about these male goats.

Terminology for Male Goats

When it comes to male goats, there are two common terms used to refer to them – buck and billy. These terms are often used interchangeably, but there are slight differences in their meanings and usage.


The term “buck” is commonly used to refer to a male goat that is older than one year. Bucks are often larger and more muscular than female goats, and they are known for their strong and distinctive odor, which is produced by scent glands located near their horns.

Bucks play a crucial role in breeding, as they are responsible for mating with the female goats, known as does. During the breeding season, bucks display their dominance by engaging in behaviors such as headbutting and vocalizing.


The term “billy” is typically used to refer to a male goat that is younger than one year. Billy goats are known for their playful and curious nature. They are often kept as pets or used for educational purposes, as they are friendly and easily approachable.

Billy goats are not yet capable of mating and do not possess the same level of strength and scent as mature bucks. However, as they grow older, they will eventually develop into bucks.

It’s important to note that the terminology can vary depending on the region and context. In some areas, “buck” may be used to refer to both mature and immature male goats, while in other places, “billy” may be the more commonly used term.

If you want to learn more about goats and their different terminologies, check out Farmers’ Almanac, where you can find a wealth of information about goat breeds, care, and terminology related to goats.

Origin and Meaning of the Names

Etymology of Buck

When it comes to male goats, they are commonly referred to as “bucks”. The term “buck” has an interesting etymology that dates back to the Old English word “bucca”, which means a male goat. This word eventually evolved into “buck” over time.

The association between the male goat and the term “buck” is believed to have originated from the goat’s strong and dominant nature, as bucks are known for their muscular build and assertive behavior.

Did you know? The word “buck” has also been extended to other animals, such as male deer, rabbits, and even kangaroos. It is fascinating how the term has transcended across different species, highlighting the strength and masculinity associated with these male creatures.

Etymology of Billy

Another name commonly used to refer to male goats is “billy”. The term “billy” is believed to have originated from the word “billy-goat” or “billycock”, which were used to describe a male goat. The exact etymology of the term “billy” is not entirely clear, but it is thought to have emerged from colloquial and regional variations of the word “bucca”.

Over time, “billy” became a commonly used term for male goats, especially in informal and casual settings.

Fun fact: The term “billy” is not only limited to male goats but has also been extended to other animals. For example, a male turkey is often referred to as a “tom”, while a male chicken is called a “rooster”.

This demonstrates the versatility and adaptability of language when it comes to naming male animals.

For more information about the etymology of animal names, you can visit www.etymonline.com. This website provides a comprehensive database of word origins, giving you a deeper understanding of how language evolves and develops over time.

Difference Between Bucks and Billies

When it comes to male goats, they are referred to by different names depending on various factors such as age, location, and use. Understanding the distinctions between bucks and billies can help goat enthusiasts navigate the world of goat husbandry more effectively.


The term “buck” is generally used for a male goat that is over one year old. Once a young male goat reaches sexual maturity, usually around one year of age, it is referred to as a buck. On the other hand, a “billy” refers to a male goat that is younger than one year old.

This distinction is similar to how we refer to young male humans as boys and older males as men.


The terminology used to describe male goats can also vary based on regional differences. In some parts of the world, such as the United States and Canada, the term “buck” is commonly used regardless of age.

However, in other regions, particularly in the United Kingdom and Australia, the term “billy” is more commonly used to refer to male goats of all ages.


The use of male goats can also influence the terminology used to describe them. In the context of breeding and genetics, the term “buck” is widely used. This is because male goats play a vital role in the reproduction process, serving as the counterpart to the female goats, known as does.

On the other hand, the term “billy” is often used in a more general sense when referring to male goats that are primarily raised for meat production or as pets.

It is important to note that while these distinctions exist, they are not set in stone. The terminology used to refer to male goats can vary depending on personal preference, cultural norms, and regional practices.

Regardless of the specific terms used, male goats are fascinating animals known for their agility, curious nature, and impressive horns.

Interesting Facts About Male Goats


Male goats, also known as bucks or billy goats, have an average lifespan of 8 to 12 years. However, with proper care and nutrition, some goats have been known to live well into their late teens. The lifespan of a goat can be influenced by factors such as genetics, diet, and overall health.

It’s important for goat owners to provide their male goats with a balanced diet, regular veterinary care, and a safe and comfortable living environment to ensure they live a long and healthy life.


Male goats have a unique dietary requirement that differs slightly from their female counterparts. They require a diet rich in fiber, protein, and minerals to support their growth, development, and overall health. A typical diet for a male goat includes grass, hay, and fresh water.

Additionally, they may consume small amounts of grains, fruits, and vegetables as supplements. It’s important to note that male goats should not be overfed or underfed, as this can lead to health issues such as obesity or malnutrition.


Male goats exhibit a wide range of behaviors that are influenced by their natural instincts and social hierarchy. They are known for their playful and curious nature, often engaging in activities such as head-butting and climbing.

Male goats also have a strong scent, which they use to mark their territory and attract females during breeding season. It’s important to provide male goats with enough space and opportunities for exercise and social interaction to prevent boredom and aggression.

Role on the Farm

Male goats play an important role on the farm, particularly in breeding programs. They are used to sire offspring and improve the genetics of the herd. Male goats are also valuable for their meat, milk, and fiber production.

Goat meat, commonly known as chevon, is lean, flavorful, and enjoyed by many cultures around the world. Goat milk is highly nutritious and can be used to produce a variety of dairy products. Male goats also contribute to the production of mohair and cashmere, which are highly sought-after fibers.

If you’re interested in learning more about male goats and their role on the farm, check out www.farmersalmanac.com for additional information.


Male goats have distinct names like bucks and billies that set them apart from the females. These interesting monikers have origins in Old English and Dutch languages. While subtle differences exist between the terms, both refer to the male of the goat species.

Beyond their characteristic names, male goats have unique qualities and behaviors. Their role as sturdy animals who can mate with several females makes them valuable on farms. We hope this outline gives you a detailed overview of these lively creatures called bucks or billies.

Let us know if you need any clarification or have additional questions as we expand this into a full-length article.

Similar Posts