Taking care for pregnant goat may be thrilling yet exciting experience for goat owner. You will need to keep the pregnant goat healthy so she can deliver a healthy baby. To take care for pregnant goat, you must first know about goat’s pregnancy.
The goat pregnancy is about 150 days. There are 3 stages of goat pregnancy; breeding, early gestation, and late gestation. Pregnant goat care begins even before the goat breeding. The goat must be in a healthy weight to prepare for the pregnancy. Overweight goats are harder to get pregnant and will be more uncomfortable during the pregnancy, while underweight goats will be hard to get enough nutrition for the baby and harder to milk. It will be harder to gain weight while the goat already pregnant since the nutrition intakes mostly goes to the baby. That’s why it is important to prepare the goat to get the optimal weight before the breeding. You also need to start to adjust her food intake depending on her weight. If she is underweight, you may add more to her diet. If she looks overweight, cut her diet but don’t cut it too far since it can stress her. Remember that large babies may be harder to deliver than normal babies.
You also need to prepare the goat to be as healthy as possible. Keep up with the vaccination and deworming before her body goes through the stress of pregnancy. You also need to trim your goat’s hooves before and during the pregnancy, every 6-8 weeks. During the pregnancy, growth hormone can make the hooves grow faster, that’s why you need to regularly trim the hooves so that the hooves can grow properly and support the added weight during the pregnancy. You may need to know the sign when your goat is in heat. Some goats are loud and obvious and others can be shy. Some signs that goat is in heat including wagging her tail, urinates often, and getting vocalize.
Once the doe already bred, it is important not to stress her between 2-3 weeks after the breeding. During this period is the time when the embryos are implanting. Give her high quality hay or alfalfa. You can confirm if your doe is pregnant at 30 days with a blood test or ultrasound at 40 days after breeding. If you do the blood test, you can also run CAE (Caprine arthritis encephalitis) test at the same time. CAE can be passed through mother’s goat milk, that’s why it is important to know that the pregnant mother doesn’t have the disease and pass it to the baby. It is fine to continue milking the doe for 2 or 3 months after the breed, but she should be dry for the last 2 month of pregnancy in order to save her energy for the kidding.
The early gestation is up until last 6 weeks before kidding, while late gestation is the last 6 weeks before kidding. In the early gestation, the embryo will grow slowly. You should not give drugs to pregnant goats during the first 25-30 days of pregnancy since it can cause birth defects.
There are many things you need to do during the goat’s pregnancy. They are not really difficult if you already know about the goat pregnancy and what to do during the period. Here we will talk about 6 simple tips to care for pregnant goat for beginner.
- Give Her Proper Shelter
The first of 6 simple tips to care for pregnant goat for beginner is to give her proper shelter. Make sure that you give the pregnant goat proper and adequate shelter that can protect her from wind, rain, snow, and heat. You have to make sure that the shelter is comfortable and clean for the pregnant goat. Dirty shelter is good environment for parasites and worm. It can be harmful for both the mother and baby if pregnant goat getting infection.
- Make Sure She is at Healthy Weight
As mentioned above, pregnant goat must be in healthy weight since they need many nutrition for baby’s growth.
- Get Vaccination
Four weeks before the due date, the pregnant goat will need CDT vaccination to protect her and her baby from tetanus. She may also need BoSe shot (Selenium and Vitamin E) if you live in selenium deficient area.
- Give Quality Food
To ensure that your pregnant goat get enough nutrition, you have to give her quality foods. Pregnant goat needs more nutrition for the baby growth, kidding, and milk. Two months before the due date, you can start increasing her grain to give more nutrient. It can give the pregnant goat extra calories to maintain her milk production. Don’t add too much grain at one time since it can lead to bloating.
- Preparing for Kidding
Two weeks before the due date, make sure that you are ready for the kidding. Prepare a kidding stall and make sure that it is clean. Prepare for the birthing kits, such as towels, flashlight, scissors, gloves, iodine, etc. Don’t forget to save the vet’s number in case of emergency. It’s also a good idea to prepare for colostrum in case there is any problem with the mother goat’s milk after giving birth. Colostrum is crucial for the newborn goat since it contains many antibodies that can give them protection. Make sure that you put the colostrum inside the refrigerator.
One week before the due date, you may give the pregnant goat a haircut around the back end. You may also need to deworm her since the worm loads tend to increase prior to kidding. Deworming can minimize the possibility of infection for both does and baby. You may also want to move the pregnant goat to private stall, along with a goat companion. She will feel less stressed in more private stall and since goat are herd animal, she still need friend so that it doesn’t feel lonely.
- Watch for Sign of Labor
If it is near the due date, you have to always keep your pregnant goat on check. Watch for any signs of labor and check on her frequently. There are many signs of labor, some of them are vaginal discharge, a doe off by herself, contractions, tight udder, swollen vulva, nesting, and prominent hip bones.