If your doe's expecting, you want to make sure you don't miss any signs that her kid is due. Goat gestation takes five months, so you have quite a while after the mating to get everything ready. Your goat's vulva should appear relatively tight until birth is imminent. Then it becomes slacker and starts opening. A new kid soon enters the world.
Your first clue that the delivery date is drawing near comes when your doe starts bagging up. That means her udder fills with milk, ready to feed the newborns. It's an obvious sign, rather than something subtle or quick that you might miss. Some goats might bag up a week or more before delivery, while some don't do so until the day before. Once you see her bagging up, separate her from the rest of her herd if you have numerous goats. Put her in the area in which you intend to have her give birth.
Days Before Birth
When the kid is due in a day or two, the doe becomes restless. She appears nervous, perhaps constantly pawing and getting up and down. You might see a mucus discharge emanating from the vulva. The discharge should be thin and relatively clear. A greenish discharge indicates infection and requires veterinary care. The discharge also indicates that her vulva is beginning to expand. When she starts bleating and doesn't stop, that's the key that labor is beginning. However, she might go on making noise for up to 12 hours before delivery takes place.
Once the kid moves into the birth canal, your doe's flanks appear sunken in. She'll start getting up and down, walking around nervously. When a thick, stringy vaginal discharge appears, the kids aren't far behind. She'll begin strong contractions, and you'll see a reddish fluid bag emanating from the vulva. She has more contractions, then you should see the front feet and nose emerging. A few more contractions and the first kid is born. Any others will be born within intervals of a few-minutes.
If you're attending the birth, you can wipe off some of the amniotic fluid from the kid's nose. If the sac didn't break, you can open it and save the kid. Mom will lick off and clean her babies. Within half an hour after delivery, the placenta should come out. Your goat can eat it or you can dispose of it. If the placenta doesn't emerge within two hours of the birth, that's an emergency and you need to call the vet. There's a possibility a dead kid is still inside the mother.
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.