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If you have a pregnant goat in your care, supervising her during the later stages of gestation is a smart idea. If your doe encounters difficulties, you want to be present to assist her, and importantly seek any necessary veterinary attention. Knowing the signs of parturition -- or "kidding" -- in goats can help you be there for her as much as possible.
Release of Mucus
The emergence of mucus is often a big indication that a goat is close to giving birth. If you observe the release of any mucus from your goat's vulva, don't brush it off. Kidding is coming right up for the mother-to-be. This mucus is typically yellow or white.
Conspicuous udder changes also often signify that parturition is getting closer. Your goat's udders might appear bigger, with glossy, pinkish tinges to them. Her nipples might also look fluid-packed and hard.
Differences in Behavior
You might be able to tell that your goat is ready to give birth by analyzing her behavior. You might notice her behaving in a more nervous, loving or amiable manner around you, perhaps out of eagerness for your company. She might, on the other hand, act extremely irritably around fellow members of her herd. She might even keep her physical distance from them, all the while appearing to be contemplating something. Absence of appetite also is a major sign of parturition. If your goat couldn't care less about eating, you might be watching her kidding soon.
Feel the Ligaments
A quick ligament check can be a handy technique for determining whether a goat is about to give birth. Go by the foundation of your goat's tail, and then place your hands on the ligaments by it. If your goat is indeed close to giving birth, they'll feel extremely smooth and gentle to the touch. If she's not, they'll feel markedly harder.
Goats that are about to go into labor often can't seem to stay still for a second. If your goat can't seem to make up her mind regarding whether she wants to recline or stand, kidding is probably in her near future. You might see her scraping the ground excessively with her feet, too.
If your goat's body is preparing to give birth, she might be more vocal than usual. If she seems like a constant "bleat" fest, stay as close to her side as possible -- she's probably about to go into labor.
Pregnant goats often scout out individual areas that they designate as their own. If a goat has staked claim to a specific area and seems especially protective of it, parturition is likely near. She definitely won't be too happy if any "intruders" decide to encroach on her territory.
- The Joy of Keeping Goats; Laura Childs
- North Carolina State University Animal Science Extension: Breeding and Kidding Management in the Goat Herd
- Cornell University Department of Animal Science: Signs of Kidding (Sometimes)
- Penn State Extension: Stages of Labor
- Extension: Goat Reproduction Parturition/Kidding
- TNAU AgriTech Portal: Livestock - Goat - Reproduction
- How to Raise Goats; Carol Amundson
- Raising Goats for Dummies; Cheryl K. Smith
- Goats: Everything You Need to Know; Carol A. Amundson
- Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images