It will be kidding time here in a few short months and we just can’t wait to see all the adorable bouncy babies! Our first year kidding we were so nervous and were not sure what goat kidding signs to look for.
What is Coccidia in Chickens and Goats?
Coccidia in chickens and goats, if left untreated can be very dangerous.
Coccidia otherwise known as cocci or coccidious is an internal parasite that can affect all species. Coccidia can be found in the dirt, fecal matter, pretty much anywhere outside that your animals will definitely be touching.
You would think that with how widespread coccidia can be that it would be a simple thing right? Wrong! Coccidia, although by definition (it is a single cell protoza) is a simple organism how it affects animals is not simple at all….
You made it through the summer and now the weather has started to get a bit colder. You may have noticed your goats’ coats (ha ha) have started to get thicker. They are not out grazing as often as usual. And they are eating A LOT of hay. It should be pretty clear they are preparing for Winter. Now you too can prepare and learn how to care for goats in Winter.
Goats are outdoor animals, and because of that, they are pretty good at surviving outside. You can, however, learn some tips about caring for goats in the winter that will make their lives much more comfortable….
Kidding Season can get really hectic, really fast. So, if you know you have a pregnant goat, you should be sure to be prepared. Goat kidding preparation will be important so that you don’t get overwhelmed when kidding is in full force.
We like to have all of our girls due around the same time so that we can get all of the sleep deprivation and bottle feedings out of the way all at once. However, this means LOTS of work for a period of time. Make sure you know about goat gestation periods so that you know when to expect your kiddings.
I don’t think there is any way to make sure that all the work is done without properly preparing for kidding season. However, with the proper kidding preparation, kidding season can go fairly smoothly.
If you are keeping one of the types of dairy goats, you will have to breed your goats each year to keep them in milk. In order to get a successful breeding, you must be able to tell if your goat is in heat and during that time (usually only about a short 48 hours!) you must get them in with a buck to be bred. Goat heat signs are easy to identify once you know what to look for.
If you are interested in goat heat signs, that probably means you will be breeding your goats. Make sure you have the Goat Breeding Planner so you have all the breeding information you need!
In our case, we don’t have bucks yet, so we are doing driveway breedings (just a quick 15 – 30 minute “date” with the buck, then back home) so it is VERY important that we catch the girls as soon as they go into heat. (Update, we now have our own boys 🙂 Several of them! )
Walking the boys through will give you a DEFINITE yes or no if you are in doubt. The boys will be very enthusiastic towards girls who are in heat. And girls who are in heat will be VERY excited about the boys.
A few general things about a goat heat cycle before we jump into the actual goat heat signs.
When do goats go into heat?
Nigerian Dwarf goats will go into heat year-round, but will likely have the strongest heat cycles in the Fall. Some other breeds only go into heat in Fall – these breeds are seasonal breeders.
How often do goats go into heat?
A goat heat cycle is usually spaced out about every 18 – 21 days apart. So, most goats will go into heat about every three weeks.
A goat heat cycle only lasts a short time (48 – 72 hours usually) and they have to be right at the right timing in that heat cycle to be willing to stand for the buck to be bred.
Why do you need to know about goat heat signs?
As you can see, a goat heat cycle is a very short window of time to get your goat bred.
So, if you know that you want to get your girls bred, you’ll need to know when to do it! You should know some general things about a goat heat cycle, but now you want to make sure you know what goat heat signs to look for so you don’t miss your breeding window!
Before your goats are showing signs of heat, make sure you decide which goats to pair up and breed.
Let’s review how you will know your goats are in heat!
Here is the list of signs a goat is in heat that we looked for:
1) First, start paying extra attention to each doe while she is on the milk stand.
You want to know what she “normally” looks and acts like. This way, when her behavior changes, you will know.
Some girls will get more friendly when they are in heat. Some goats will get more standoffish when they are in heat. We have seen some girls mount other does when they are in heat.
So, the actual behavior may vary from doe to doe when they are in heat. But a good sign your goat is in heat is a change in that does typical behavior.
2) Extra tail wagging
You have probably noticed that your goats will wag their tails some while eating, scratching etc. A good goat heat sign to look for is EXTRA tail wagging.
We weren’t sure that this would be easy to spot, I mean what constitutes as “extra”?
Well, if you have been doing #1 above, you will likely know what “extra” is. It is obvious that the does wag their tails more. They also wag them at different times like while they were eating their milk stand treat.
Often times when a doe is in heat you will notice her vulva (“lady parts” if we are being polite) will be swollen. By knowing what she usually looks like, it is easier to notice any swelling.
Your doe will likely have some vaginal discharge when she comes into heat.
You may notice it just on her “lady parts”, but it can also end up on the underside of her tail and tail hair.
5) More Vocal
Our girls are all relatively quiet (unless they are separated from the herd or wanting bananas!). However, during heat cycles, does will many times become more vocal.
We have one girl in particular who will literally SCREAM at the fence line ALL DAY LONG when she is in heat. This is a VERY clear sign your goat is in heat.
6) Wether detectors
If you have a wether in with your does, they may also be able to help you detect if your does are in heat.
Wethers (even though they aren’t in tact) will often start to exhibit buck-like behavior — curling lips, clicking noises, mounting — towards the does in heat.
Once your girls are bred, make sure you are prepared for kidding time!
Want to see a doe who is displaying the signs of a goat in heat?
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For More on Goats, Check these out!
I have to admit something, we just wrapped up our first round of kidding season (one round left) and we are already battling with our goat breeding planning for next year.
Has anyone else ever felt this pressure? We are all working hard to make the right breeding decisions to improve our herd, but WHAT should those decisions be?