How To Tell If Your Goat Is Pregnant

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by H Diamond, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. H Diamond

    H Diamond Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 26, 2014
    This seems to be the most common question around here these days, so here is a little "tutorial" of sorts to help you along.

    Fair warning, some of this may seem stupid or silly to you, but you'd be surprised... lol.

    Ok, so how do we tell if our does are pregnant...

    First question: Has your doe been in with a buck (intact male)? If the answer is "No", then no she is not pregnant.
    If the answer is "Yes", the next question is "When?"

    Dairy goats are most generally seasonal breeders. Meat goats generally breed year round. Nigies are the exception to dairy goats and they breed most year round also. There are exceptions to these, but this is a good general rule. Does must be in heat to conceive. Notice I didn't say to be mounted, but to conceive. Bucks can and will act bucky all year round. Does generally cycle (come into heat) every 18-24 days, with 21 being the average. A doe's gestation (how long she carries the babies before kidding) is approximately 150 days. So, the importance of the "when" question is this: was it the right season, was the doe in heat, and how long has it been since she's been in with a buck?

    If you have a dairy doe, and it's October ( fall in the U.S.), and your doe was in with a buck for 6 weeks, and she doesn't have any type of problems to keep her from conceiving, and the buck doesn't have any physical problems on his side,then she is probably bred. If you have a dairy doe, and it's the middle of July (heat of summer in the U.S.) and she was in with the buck for 2 days, then she probably is NOT bred. If it is January 15th, and your doe was last with a buck on July 1, then your doe is not bred. (because more than a 150 days have passed.)

    Let's talk about heat and breeding... Like I said before, does cycle roughly every 21 days. When they come into heat and you have a buck or whether around, it's fairly easy to know they are in heat. The bucks start blubbering, the does may start hollering. If they share a fence, they does will stand against their side, with their tails up, and the bucks will try their hardest to climb through from their side. They will blubber and sniff the doe's back side and pee on themselves, etc. If you don't have a male goat on the property, it can be more difficult to detect, but it can be done. The doe might act different, she may have some mucous discharge from the vulva, the vulva might be puffy, etc.
    As for breeding, there are a couple different ways to go about it. One is to run your buck and doe together 24/7. This is NOT GOOD PRACTICE! Back to back to back breedings are very hard for your does, and will shorten their lifespan. You can Pasture Breed your does, to do this you run your buck with your does for a certain amount of time during the appropriate breeding season, starting 150 days prior to when you want kids born. You need to leave the buck in at least 3-4 weeks to ensure you catch a heat for every doe.. 6 weeks is better to ensure all does are bred. Alternately you could run the buck for 3 weeks, wait a month or so, then run him again to make sure you caught everyone, but then your breeding is spread out, etc. Next you can Hand Breed. To do this, you need to know when your doe is in heat, and you bring the buck to the doe, watch them do the deed, and return the buck to his pen. This makes it very easy to know the due date, but it's also harder to make sure the doe is bred. AI is another option, but not generally feasible for the hobby goat keeper.

    So, you did everything right, and you're pretty sure your doe is bred, but.. how can you know for sure? If you think you did everything right, and the doe was exposed to a buck at the right time, and she doesn't have any physical problems to keep her from becoming pregnant, then chances are she is pregnant. It is not hard (always an exception to this though, lol) to get your doe pregnant. If you're not willing to take the "wait and see" approach, there are a couple ways to know for sure.
    One of the cheapest ways is through a blood test. The blood test can be done 30 days post breeding your doe. Any sooner and it won't read correctly. You can draw the blood yourself (there are a couple really great tutorials online), and send it into BioTracking (google it). They run the test for a nominal fee and send you the results. You can have some false readings on occasion, but it is rare!
    Another option is to take the doe to the vet for an ultrasound. You need someone who is trained in this to get an accurate result. This isn't an image ultrasound like you think of when you think of human babies, so it doesn't tell you how many, just tells you if she is pregnant or not.
    Sticking with the vet, you can also have an xray done. From my understanding, there is a smallish window when an xray is most accurate. Too early you can't see anything, too late you can't count how many kids are in there because they are all squished together.
    Then we have the unreliable "tests". The bounce test and the pooch test. The bounce test takes practice, you literally bounce her belly to see if the return bounce is heavy with baby or not. The pooch test... some people claim that a doe's vulva changes after she is bred. This is highly unreliable. I have yet to come across anyone who can use this test with any type of accuracy. Each doe is different, each doe's vulva is shaped different before she is bred. If you think it works for you, great, I'm not going to tell you not to use it.

    As you can see, there are a lot of variables to determining if your doe is bred. If you have any other questions, please post them below!
    1 person likes this.
  2. silkieloverz123

    silkieloverz123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 21, 2012
    Great thread! Filled with great information! [​IMG]

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