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Pregnant goat or not? We get this question in emails a lot. People asking how to tell if a goat is pregnant. I also see it on a lot of posts on social media pages – people wondering if a goat they recently purchased is pregnant or not.
In fact, our first year of goat breeding, we wondered the same thing.
How to tell if you have pregnant goat
We had easily identified the signs of heat in our goats. And at that point, even though we had been raising goats for a little while, we still didn’t own a buck, so we had taken our girls for a driveway breeding at a friends.
They did their thing, but then we wondered if we had pregnant goats or not? If not, it meant no baby inside which meant no baby goats that year (insert ugly cry face here). So, we had to figure it out right away so we could
There are a few ways to tell if you have a pregnant doe. Some are more judgement calls than clinical signs that are likely to give an accurate answer, but not always. And others are sure fire goat pregnancy signs.
One way to figure out if you have a pregnant doe is to look for these goat pregnancy signs:
Signs you may have a pregnant doe
1) No More Heat
First of all, pregnant goats will no longer come into heat. So, if you keep an eye for about 18 – 21 days from breeding and you do not see any sign of heat it is likely that your goat is pregnant. So this is one of the first early gestation signs to look for.
This is not always 100% though. Sometimes goats will short cycle – meaning they are in heat, you breed them and then they come back into heat about a week later. We have had girls already pregnant (we found this out based on the length of pregnancy) that short cycled.
Also, especially towards the end of breeding season, your girls may have a more silent heat the next cycle that you simply just do not notice and think she did not have a heat.
2) Udder Development
Udder development is another way to tell when goats, dairy goats, in particular, are pregnant. The only thing about udder development is that often times it doesn’t happen until later in the pregnancy, much closer to kidding time. In fact, it is one of the main goat kidding signs.
Typically, but not always, First Fresheners (girls who are pregnant for the first time) will start their udder development and milk production sooner in pregnancy. So, sometimes they are a little easier to look for this sign. Generally, it will look like their udder is slightly swollen and not a full milk bag.
However, we have had tricky ones that didn’t get an udder until a week before kidding.
3) Changes in Behavior
Changes in behavior is one of the early signs you can look for. But, it can be really hard to tell based simply on behavior unless you know your specific goats.
For example, we have one goat who I ALWAYS know if she is pregnant based on her behavior. She is normally really easy going and likes to be loved on. As soon as she is pregnant, she will NOT let me touch her.
As she gets further into her gestation period, she will begin acting uncomfortable more and more up until her due date. She will exhibit the behavioral changes even if she has just a single baby goat. We were surprised when we found that it wasn’t meaning multiple babies inside.
So sometimes a pregnant goat can have pretty significant behavior changes. Which we can chalk up to all those hormones 😉
4) Weight Gain
Another goat pregnancy sign, is weight gain. Just like humans, goats will also gain weight when they are pregnant.
Also, just like humans, the amount of weight gain is different for each goat. So, if you are looking for a sure fire way to tell if a goat is pregnant this is not always the way to do it.
Some goats get very obviously pregnant and there is no doubt they are carrying kids. However, some goats, at most, get, what looks like, a slightly swollen abdomen or do not really gain much, if any, weight at all.
We had one girl who’s body didn’t really change at all to the point we thought she was not bred – it was a BIG surprise when we went out one night to find her nursing her brand new little girl!
5) Cervical Mucus
This one is closer to a clinical sign than a judgement call but if you’re seeing this it most likely means she’s pregnant and you are pretty far into her average gestation period
Want to know how to tell if a goat is pregnant without any doubt?
So, we just covered 4 goat pregnancy signs that can POSSIBLY tell you if you have a pregnant goat. But what if you don’t want any doubt?
There are two ways to tell without a doubt that your goat is pregnant. Both involve using a goat pregnancy test.
Types of Goat Pregnancy Tests:
1) Blood tests
A blood test is a way to tell if your goat is pregnant without a doubt. The benefit to this goat pregnancy test is that it can be done on any goat at any time.
The cons to using blood tests is that unless you are well-versed in drawing blood, you will have to pay for a vet to draw the blood on top of the charge to do the pregnancy test.
2) Milk Test
A milk test is the second type of goat pregnancy test that you can use. This type of test is super simple, you can go through a provider like Dairy One. They send you vials, you fill them with milk and mail them back and it is really inexpensive.
Of course, you can only use a milk test if your doe is still in milk when you want to check for pregnancy.
Hopefully by following some of these tips, you can figure out more easily if you have a pregnant goat! And that way you can be sure to be prepared for your kidding time.