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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 breeding goats, we wondered the same thing.
We had easily identified the signs of heat in our goats. And at that point, we 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 a pregnant goat or not?
There are a few ways to tell if a goat is pregnant. Some are judgement calls that are likely to give an accurate answer, but not always. And others are sure fire goat pregnancy signs.
How to Tell if a Goat is Pregnant:
One way to figure out if you have a pregnant goat is to look for these goat pregnancy signs –
1) No More Heat.
A pregnant goat 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 the earliest one of the goat pregnancy 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 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 if a goat is 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 sooner in pregnancy. So, sometimes they are a little easier to look for this sign. 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 goat pregnancy sign 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.
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 do not appear to really gain much or 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!
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 test
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 a blood test 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.