Have you bred your goats and you know how to tell the goats are pregnant, but aren't sure what to expect next? If you are breeding your goats, you should learn about goat gestation and how long goats are pregnant so that you can be prepared at when you start to see goat kidding signs.
A goats gestation period (or how long they are pregnant) is typically 150 days for standard size breeds and 145 days for miniature breeds. So, in general the gestation period for goats is around 5 months long. Much like any other species, their gestation period is not an exact timeframe and can vary about 7 days early or late and still have a healthy, successful kidding.
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A gestation period is essentially the time during which a goat kid is in the womb - or the duration of the goats pregnancy. There are several stages during gestation, and it is good to know both the general developments at each stage as well as how long the pregnancy will last.
This way, you are able to know what is going on with your doe and her kids development and can help take proper care of her and the kids at each stage.
How Long Are Goats Pregnant?
The first step in figuring out how long goats are pregnant is to know what type or breed of goat that you have. Goat gestation length does vary a bit based on breed.
Typically miniature goats (like Nigerian Dwarf Goats or Pygmy goats) will have gestation period of 145 days. While standard goats (like Boer and Alpine) usually have a slightly longer gestation period of 150 days. So, speaking generally, all goats are pregnant for about 5 months with smaller breeds tending to be pregnant a little less time than larger breeds.
5 months is quite a while for your goats to be pregnant and they need some extra care during this time since their bodies have additional stress on them. So, be sure you know how to take care of your pregnant goats to keep them in tip top shape during these months.
Once you know how long are goats pregnant, you may think you will get kids exactly at 145 or 150 days. While these gestation periods will let you know approximately how long your goats will be pregnant, they do not guarantee that goats will kid exactly on these days.
In fact, you may see your goats kid up to 7 days early or 7 days late. So, it is good to know what signs to look for so that you know when to start watching for preparing for kidding season and watching for kidding signs.
If their gestation period goes much earlier than 7 days, you may see some health issues in the kids. Pre-mature kids earlier than 7 days will likely need some type of incubator and often times have difficulty maintaining their own body temperature.
They are also likely to have under-developed lungs. So, it is important to know how long your goats should be pregnant so you are prepared if one starts to kid too early. You should also know how to take care of baby goats once the kids are born.
Not always, but often times, if a goat goes way over her due date 7+ days it can mean potential issues like improper kid positioning, dead or sick kids, and infection. Often times these issues cause a delay in the normal labor timeframe, but it is not a guarantee there will be an issue just because your doe goes over the due date.
Even though goats may not kid exactly on day 145 or day 150 (and sometimes they do), these gestation periods at least give a good idea of when you should start keeping a closer eye on your goats.
Also, again not always, but often certain goats will have a pattern. So, if you keep track of how long your goats are pregnant you can usually use that as a track for subsequent years.
For example, we have one girl that almost always kids on day 145 while another girl is generally 2 days late. If you know how long your goats are pregnant typically, then that can help you know what is normal for each specific goat in terms of gestation times.
How to Calculate Due Dates?
Now that you know how long goats are pregnant, how to you calculate their due date?
If you are trying to decide when to, or have already, bred your girls and want to know their due dates you have a few options. The easiest option is using a goat gestation calculator.
If you aren't into Excel, but still want automatic tracking, this app will calculate how long your goats are pregnant.
Last, the most manual way to figure out the due date is counting out the days on your calendar. You can simply count out from their breeding date.
This goat gestation wheel is a great tool to have if you like to manually figure out due dates.
Goat Gestation Stages
There are obviously a lot of intricacies that go into gestation of goat kids. This can be broken into 4 stages: Ovum period, Embryonic Period, Fetal Period and Birth.
The Ovum Period lasts from fertilization of the egg to about day 11/12. During this phase the cells are going through division and creating an embryo and eventually a blastocyte.
The Embryonic Period is about day 12 - day 59. There are some major developments during this phase. Heartbeat starts about day 20. Limb buds develop by day 30. By day 42 major organs are developing.
The Fetal Period is day 60 - day 145. During this phase, hair develops around day 75 and continues for several weeks. By day 120 or so, teeth are developing as well.
Birth period is about day 145 - actual birth. During this phase, the kid will drop, line up and get ready to be born through the birth canal.
It's important to know how long goats are pregnant so you're prepared and alert when kidding time arrives.
Any questions on goat gestation time? Leave us a comment below!
If you need more help getting your goat breeding running smoothly, check out The Ultimate Goat Breeding Planner - checklists, record sheets, supply lists and more to keep your breeding season going so you can enjoy the baby goats without worry.