When Do Goats Start Looking Pregnant

Taking care of pregnant animals isn’t an easy task, but it’s exciting to prepare for some new little ones. A doe’s (a female goat) pregnancy typically only lasts 145 to 155 days, or about 5 months. Since that isn’t a very long time, at what point will goats start to actually look pregnant?

Goats usually begin to look pregnant after 2 weeks of when their breeding took place. At this point, the skin around the doe’s stomach will be tighter and she will be gaining weight. There are other signs that might indicate your goat’s pregnancy, such as their interaction with other goats.

There is quite a lot that goes into taking care of a goat during it’s pregnancy, but as long as you know what to look for, everything should run smoothly. Below you will find more ways to find out if your goat is pregnant, and other signs to look for during the pregnancy as well as when the doe goes into labor.

Optional Tests

An ultrasound is probably the most popular option for guaranteeing the condition of your goat. It is better done with an experienced professional, as they can tell you exactly how your goat is doing and perhaps even how many kids they are expecting. A singular full scan can be about $400 to $600, so while it might be a good option to test your goat this way, it isn’t the cheapest.

Blood tests are another way to find out if your goat is actually pregnant or not. It would be a good idea to have a vet do this. Or, if you know how to draw blood yourself and feel confident doing it, you can draw some from a jugular vein in your doe’s neck and send it to a lab to get looked at. There are labs that you can get pregnancy kits from for your goats to help you get clear results.

Getting x-rays might be another option too, if you have the money for it. A single x-ray can be anywhere from $50 to $150, a cost which can add up quickly. If none of these tests feel right for you, you can also just continue to monitor your goat yourself to see if their stomach starts to develop and swell during the coming months, or simply wait and be surprised if your goat suddenly goes into labor.

No matter if you choose to have your goat tested or not, be sure to keep in touch with your vet during your goat’s pregnancy so that you can make sure everything is going smoothly.

Lack of Estrous Cycle

If your doe is pregnant, they won’t go into heat. There may be a little evidence of estrous in the first cycle, but it won’t be as noticeable. These cycles happen about every 3 weeks so keep an eye on your doe at that time to see what signs they display, if they do any flagging, etc. If they are pregnant at this time, the doe will show very little interest in bucks if they are near them.

If the breeding process was not successful, the doe will just return to normal heat in their next cycle. It is possible that if a goat is bred at the end of breeding season, she might not come back into heat until the next season if it was an unsuccessful breeding. Source

Physical Signs

This section covers signs that are related to the body of your doe if, and while, she is pregnant.

Like mentioned earlier, at about 2 months the doe should have a tightened stomach. You can test this by firmly pressing your fingers to the stomach just in front of the goat’s udder. This should give you a clear indication of their state. After another month, the stomach will be considerably bigger and you might even be able to see movement from the kids inside it. If it’s a doe’s first time being bred, her uterus will swell a little bit as well.

As time goes on, the right side of the stomach might swell more than the left side. If the goat has two or more kids, swelling will probably be more on the left side too. Some goats might develop a saggy belly, especially if they’ve kidded before. Older does might not even show signs of pregnancy until a month and a half before they’re due. Source

Milk production will slow down if the doe is currently being milked regularly. However, if it does not slow down, stop milking 2 months before the doe is due to allow her body to rest.

Behavioral Signs

If a goat is pregnant, she will probably begin to act the opposite of how she normally does. For instance, if they are normally cuddly and sweet, they will probably begin to act very rude and maybe even abrasive. And vice versa for any other goats as well.

A pregnant goat’s appetite will most likely go up. You know how humans often use the phrase “eating for two” when referencing a pregnant woman’s appetite? Well, goats are no exception to that. All goats already like to eat a lot, but the need for food can still go up when a doe is pregnant.

An interesting thing about does is that they are more likely to snore while they are pregnant. Goats have a tendency to snore, but pregnant females are more likely to do it frequently and more loudly.

Labor Signs

At around 140 days of the doe’s pregnancy, you should begin to look for signs of labor.

Signs of first stage labor are pawing at their bed, looking back at their sides, restlessness, discharge from the vulva, a lifted tail, and becoming more vocal. This stage can last a few hours or up to a day. Signs of second stage labor are labor pains and water bags (there will probably be more than one). After the water bags come out, the doe should be able to do her own thing to get the kids out. She will probably do things like pushing, walking around, bleating, and laying down. Source

Once you see a nose atop a pair of toes emerging from the doe, the baby is ready to come out. If you only see one or the other though, you will probably need to help your doe with getting the baby out. Only help pull it out if you have the proper resources, and only during a doe’s contraction; DO NOT pull while she is resting.

Expect bloody discharge from the doe’s vulva for another 2 to 3 weeks after she gives birth. Have a vet come help you with cleaning your goat and the kids after birth, and even have one there during the birth if needed.

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