Is my goat going to have baby goats?
How do I know when my goat is going into labor?
Every person who owns a goat ask themselves this question. If you let your Mini Nubian goats pasture breed you may not know they are pregnant. If you lock your Boer goats up in a pen for breeding you still have a window of time that they can kid. What if your goats sneak and breed through the fence. This happened to us here at Cotton Bean Goat Farm.
We are asked often can you look at this picture of our Boer goat and tell us if she is pregnant?
In most cases you can not tell by looking at your goat until they are in the last stages of their pregnancy.
What is a Goats gestation period? The official answer is 150 days. You can start watch at 145 days and they may go as long as 155 days.
Note: If a baby goat is born 10 + days premature survival chances are very low.
Fact: We are not providing medical advice. Please consult a Veterinarian We are just sharing what we have learned here at Cotton Bean Goat Farm during our kidding seasons and by spending time with our pregnant goat Nanny's..
Behaviors / Things to look for:
Typically the first physical change you will notice in your pregnant goat is a change in teats and formation of a milk bag. This can be very hard to tell on a first time doe / Mom. The size of your goats bag will vary greatly in size. With most of our Nanny Goats / Mom's we notice the milk bag will get "much bigger" within 48 hours of kidding. Just for the record "much bigger" means much bigger than it has been because size will vary depending on the goat, breed, worm load if any, nutrition, first time goat mom or experienced mom, etc.
Just because your Mini Nubian, Boer or Nigerian Dwarfs goats belly has gotten bigger doesn't mean that she is pregnant. Has she been with a buck or near a buck? If the answer is yes, it could mean she is pregnant but it could mean that she is just healthy, fat, bloated, etc. Our Boer Nanny goat, Dutchess, was the perfect example of this. She was not fat and we had did an utter check on all our female goats numerous times and noticed nothing. However, she had been breeding through the pasture fence. She looked trim and healthy. We did not know she was pregnant and she was a first time goat Mom. The entire farm was surprised when I found her in labor. I was visiting the baby goats in the Doe pasture and heard her scream. This was not NORMAL for her so I took off running to find her in labor with her buddy Diana comforting her.
Below are pictures of this beautiful traditional colored Boer Nanny the day before the baby, while in labor and after she delivered.
Another thing we have noticed is that our Does will paw the ground, like they are digging a hole.
Some of them rub on a tree and stand close to it. I have no idea why they do this.
You will notice your goats belly drops just like a human. I am assuming you know your goat is pregnant.
Ligaments will disappear withing 24 to 48 hours of giving birth to baby goats. This means your goats body is getting ready to kid. It's like a human dilating. If you check you tube you can find some good videos on these and how to check them.
You will see a string of fluid hanging out. It looks like oversized snot and can vary in size from 3: to dragging the ground.
Look for the goat Birthing Bubble as seen in the picture below. The baby goat is coming!
We learned that you just never know for sure if your goat is pregnant unless you do an ultrasound. You will know when she delivers baby goat, twins or even a set of triplets. Once your goat goes into labor and you see anything coming from her girl parts / vagina, she can have the baby goat fast within 3 minutes or it may take a while to deliver. If your goat is having multiples we have seen them be delivered within minutes of one another and we have seen as much as 45 minutes pass between goat kids. Goats are like humans every goats labor and pregnancy is different.
Advice: Be prepared to pull the birthing sack off your baby goat and have a human baby Nasal Aspirator handy just in case you or the Nanny goat didn't get the sack off quick enough. Sometimes the sack will break with the baby still in the birthing canal and you will need to suction the baby goats airways. We always have beach towels handy to help dry them off or just give us something clean to lay the baby on. I have also had to use a towel to turn a baby upside down and get the birthing fluid out with an nasal aspirator. Turning them upside down let's gravity help you clear out the airway but baby goats are so slippery when they still have the birthing bag on them. We also offer our goats Molasses water during and after birth.
Ask yourself: Am I prepared to go inside this goat during labor and help delivery this baby goat to save a life?
We have only had to do this a few times but we were prepared with birthing gloves and a gallon of lube. The internet is full of birthing charts, print one out or down load it. Don't wait until you have an emergency during labor, be prepared in advance to help your goat. You also have to be mentally prepared. We would have lost 2 Nanny goats / Moms and 3 baby goats this year if we had not went in to assist with delivery.