How to Tell That Your Goat is Close to Giving Birth

After a long wait, your doe will finally come into her labor! At the end of the pregnancy phase and close to the delivery date, there are a few things that you need to work on. Start to aware of all the small chance on your doe. Check your doe regularly and more frequently so you will not miss any sign when the doe is close to giving birth. Knowing this lesson is important for you to notice the right time to move your doe to a private area without any interference from the others and to help you be more prepared.

Before we dig deeper, you may want to read this article about Guide of Goat Farming here and  Tips to Care for Pregnant Goat here.

How to Tell That Your Goat is Close to Giving Birth

1. Tighten Udder

About 6 weeks before kidding you should start to see the development of your doe’s udder as it slowly fills in preparation of kidding. But just before delivery, the udder will fill more completely. The skin will look tight and almost shiny. If you see this there is good chance labor will happen in the next 24 hours. But every does are different from each other. For the first-timer, they may show this sign earlier, but some may even begin to show this sign right before the labor and even finish the filling after the delivery. Read more here about Health Reason to Drink Goat Milk

2. Loosen Tail Ligament

You can notice the tail ligaments by tracing down your hand over your doe’s spine until you are able to touch and feel the ligaments at the tail. It should feel like a chord of sorts. The tail will get soften from the beginning until your doe comes closer to the labor. Check your doe’s tail ligament daily so you can tell better about the labor time. Read also about Common Mistake in Goat Farming

3. Change in Appearance

As your doe comes closer to the due date, the babies will drop into position prior to the labor. There will be a slight indentation of your doe’s upper stomach close to the spine.  This will also affect your doe’s appearance. The spine and hip bones will stick out and as the area above the back legs sinks. The spine will also appear to become more prominent than before. Your doe may appear more skinny, with the belly hang lower compared to the usual.

4. Vaginal Discharge

Take a look under your doe’s tails several times per day to see the discharge. Discharge obviously can tell you on how close your doe is closer to kidding. The closer your doe is into the labor, the heavier amount of discharge that your doe has. But in some cases, a lot of heavier discharge can also happen weeks before the labor so this sign is kind of a little tricky.

5. Swollen Vulva

Swollen vulva can be the first sign that you want to look up. You can notice the vulva of your doe will become loose and jiggle when it walks. As the baby (or babies!) get down lower into the birth canal, the baby will give more pressure on your doe’s rear end. Therefore, the rear end might swell and slightly open as your doe lays down. If you notice this sign, your doe will probably come into labor for 1 until 5 days ahead. So, be prepared!

6. Talk to Belly

It might seem weird but your doe somehow will look like she talks to the belly. That is the instinct that indicates her that something is going to happen. Your doe will also like to bite at her side or hum to her stomach.

7. Standing Alone and Change in Behavior

 If you start to aware that your doe starts standing alone and avoid the other goats, you may want to start to separate them and let her by herself. Your doe will also change its behavior when it is close to the labor. If you know your doe’s personality, you may notice she starts to act differently compared to your doe’s usual personality trait. Your does might act restless, pushing head against the wall or fence, or separate themselves from the herd. Your doe can be friendlier than usual, or even avoid you if you try to approach her.

You may also notice that somehow, your doe likes pawing the ground. It means your doe start to prepare a bed for her and the babies. Your doe will also be louder than usual because she is having a contraction. At the last phase and as your doe gets closer to giving birth, she will start to grunt while trying to push the baby.

8. Water Bag Bursts

As your doe starts pushing and begins the opening, the water bag might bulge out from the vaginal opening. The bag consists of amniotic fluid to protect the baby until the day of labor. From this, delivery will come at any moment. 

That’s all about how to tell that your goat is close to giving birth. Again, remember that every doe is different from each other. Your doe might show some of all of these signs above or miss one or two signs and that is okay! The point is, make sure you keep your eye on your doe to have better preparation and give the exact treatment that is needed. The experience of waiting and supervising your pregnant doe is a thrilling and exciting experience. The result will worth to wait. After all, at the end of the journey, you will have some cute and adorable little babies! So don’t be too stressed out. Enjoy the flow, take care of your doe, and have fun. Just remember that health doe for a healthy baby!  

You may also want to have more information on How to Raise and Care Baby Goat here.