Goat gestation lasts approximately five months. You can confirm that your doe conceived long before the kids arrive. While having your veterinarian test your doe is the best way to detect pregnancy, there are reliable physical indicators that the layman can use with reasonable accuracy.
Your vet can confirm your doe's pregnancy via ultrasound starting at about 40 days gestation. She can detect multiple pregnancies by using X-rays after 70 days, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual. Less expensive but accurate methods involve testing estrogen sulfate levels from urine or milk samples between the 40th and 50th day after breeding. Higher estrogen sulfate levels indicate pregnancy.
Other Pregnancy Signs
Since false pregnancy occurs fairly often in goats, certain signs indicating pregnancy in other species don't mean much in caprines. For example, udder filling, even in first-time mothers, doesn't necessarily mean a doe is pregnant. You might notice weight gain in the abdomen by the third month of a potential pregnancy. Loosening of the skin and slight swelling around the vulva is a sign of pregnancy. Probably the best nonveterinary way of determining goat pregnancy is the absence of a heat cycle. If your goat goes into season a month or so after breeding, she's not pregnant. Signs of heat include frequent urination, significantly enlarged vulva, tail wagging and clear vaginal discharge.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.