Goats/Goat Pregnancy


I have a doe that was bred in october and is due sometime in march. We havent seen any white discharge from her but that doesnt mean she has had it and i didnt notice. I wasnt home for a couple of days and just got back from a trip today. I went to put her in her stall this evening and I am wondering if she might be starting labor. Her vulva every now and then moves like it might be dialating but doesnt open up any. Her back is arched a good bit and her tail head is rised a bit. I noticed the babies moving some like she might be pushing them back to get ready to have them. She has nibbled a bit at her feed and hay but doesnt seem to want it. Her right side is protruding a lot more than her left side. I have heard that they should be on her left if she is going to have them but i dont know if hat is true or not. I felt on her ligaments and they seem like they have gotten loser but i have a hard time feeling them. Would you thing she maybe in the early stages of labor?

Hi Makenzie:

for reference- This article takes you  through the  stages of labor and kidding in particular how to deliver a baby goat:

It does sound as if she is trying to preposition the kids - so knowing this be prepared to possibly  have to "go in carefully" and help deliver. If you had the  breeding sate  it would be much more helpful -  not knowing  you will have to keep a close eye on her. Since she is  stretching and  apparently trying to reposition babies -  there may  (or may NOT be an issue)  so try not to be away from her for very long and  if she begins to  actually have contractions and push and you see NO progress of a baby being  presented, do NOT allow this to go on longer than 20 minutes without  going in to see  what the issue is-

excerpt from article:
Kids Are Coming:
Let me say one thing that is very important first: If the doe’s water has broken or she has a bag of fluids showing and has not produced a baby within 20 minutes or less-you must go in to find out why-This is not normal.. she could have a mal-positioned baby or a dead baby blocking the way for a live baby behind it... I have seen many people not know this and lose the baby or the doe or both because they saw her water had broke that morning and by that evening wondered if they should do something.. 20 minutes or less maximum!
Ok.. Now you have your doe who is pawing the ground and has a discharge, her tail ligaments are soft and you know it’s time. If she isn’t already in her special kidding place then guide her there Before her water breaks. Make sure you have all of your supplies with you. A plastic bag is great for carrying these things and you can use the handles to hang them on or tie them to the fencing to keep it off the ground.
Most of the time goats have their babies with no problems but being there as a rule is the best way I have found.. Because If they do have a problem, they will need help quick. Better to be there and not have to help than not.
The first thing you will see is the bag of fluids before the baby is born-usually.

Sometimes the first thing you will see is the baby’s front feet and nose in the birth sac

I personally wait until the nose and mouth have come out of the doe and go ahead and clear the nose and mouth with a clean towel then- just in case the umbilical cord has broken inside-when the cord breaks the baby wants to take a breath.
Once the shoulders are out the rest is fast and the baby comes without a problem.
Should you have one foot and a nose you need to go in and find the other foot and carefully bring it forward so they can both come out together, making the birth easy for the doe and reducing stress on the baby.
Should you have back feet first you need to act quickly because typically the umbilical cord can break before baby is born and the baby’s head still being inside mom will create problems when he/she tries to breath.

There are as many positions for birthing babies as there are babies, almost. The rule of thumb is to get baby out of the doe with as little stress on her and the baby as possible and to act quickly and determined - yet being gentle so as not to cause injury to the delicate uterus.
When delivering baby keep in mind the position of the spine. You want to keep the tension of pulling in the curve of the baby’s spine.. Someone once said think of the baby as a banana shape and act accordingly - pulling baby with the curve slightly so as not to break the baby’s back.
Only pull while the doe is pushing - never while she is resting- this reduces the chance of tearing the uterine wall. Hold tight to the baby while mom rests without pulling then resume pulling when she starts to push. If you are confused about the baby’s body part that is showing, close your eyes and feel slowly. For some reason you can ‘see’ better with your eyes closed in a case like this.. Determine what you have and then turn baby to bring feet forward so they can come out before the rest of the baby-whether it’s back feet or front. The feet need to come first to unfold baby and make the delivery smooth as possible.

You can push a baby back into mom to reposition it if done gently , before the head is presented and while the doe is not pushing (having a contraction). You can turn a baby around in your cupped hand making sure nothing projects to tear the uterus. You can untangle two babies if they are trying to come out at the same time. Keep your cool and close your eyes and think carefully what you have going on in there. (The joints on the front legs both bend in one direction, the joints on the back leg bend in opposite directions- Also feet turned bottom side down the baby is facing the proper direction , bottom side up, the baby is upside down- you need to reposition baby to the normal kidding position) You can fall apart later.

this is being answered about 4 hours since you wrote and  maybe you already have healthy babies and mom  bonding as I write this - Please do let me know  if you have  more  questions -  and be watchful for babies very soon :)  


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Specializing in New Goat Owner understanding of goat physiology, goat anatomy, goat care and herd management. *I am not a veterinarian, any advice and information should be verified by your veterinarian before administering to your goats. (! During times of severe weather in the Midwest, I may experience a delay in internet service due to the interference of the satellite reception - but will answer your questions as soon as service is restored. !) Note: Keep in mind, the goat expert is volunteering her time to help other goat owners, she also runs her farm with her own herd of 100 goats and may not be at her computer at all hours. Questions are answered as soon as she can possibly read and answer them, usually within 24 hours.


23 years experience of raising goats and herd management. Active hands on experience with goat herd and research with various Caprine University Research and Extension Centers nationwide. 15 years dedicated to helping other goat breeders/owners with goat anatomy, goat disease and goat health care issues via phone, published goat care articles and internet interaction. The information I have to offer is not only from personal experience and years of research updated often as new information is made available to me, but supported by many Veterinary Research colleges and all medications and information I have to offer on how the medications work and what dosages "I" use, is information I have acquired by discussing directly with the company's veterinarians and staff research experts.

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United Caprine News, Homesteaders Magazine, Columnist for Goat Magazine, Owner and Author of GoatPedia™

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