Homosexual behavior in male goats is more frequent during breeding season and in bucks isolated from females

Horm Behav. 2014 May;65(5):516-20. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2014.04.013. Epub 2014 May 2.


Male homosexual behavior is observed in many ruminant species; seasonality and isolation from females may affect the display of male-male sexual behavior. Our objectives were to determine whether: 1) homosexual behavior has a seasonal pattern in male goats (Capra hircus); 2) isolation from female goats influences the frequency of the display of homosexual behavior; and 3) the frequency of homosexual behaviors is related to testosterone concentration. Bucks were housed in a pen adjacent to another pen with 3 estrous goats (FC group) or in complete isolation from females (IF group). Homosexual behaviors and testosterone concentrations were recorded in October, December, February and May. Frequencies of penile display and flehmen increased in May and were observed more frequently in the IF than in the FC group. Ano-genital sniffing was more frequent in February and May and was more frequent in IF than in FC bucks. Lateral approaches were more frequent in May, in which period this was more frequently observed in IF bucks. Mount attempts and mounts were only observed in IF bucks. Testosterone concentrations increased from December to February and decreased in May, although they were still greater than in October and December. In May IF bucks had greater testosterone concentrations than FC bucks. Testosterone concentrations were only related to the number of lateral approaches in IF bucks in December. In conclusion, homosexual behavior was more frequent during the late breeding season than during the early and the non-breeding seasons, and in males isolated from females than in males housed near estrous females. Testosterone concentrations appear to be unrelated to homosexual behavior.

Keywords: Goats; Mating; Ruminants; Sexual behavior; Socio-sexual signals; Testosterone.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Goats / physiology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Male
  • Penis / physiology
  • Seasons
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Social Isolation
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Testosterone