Stages of Goat Pregnancy

I like to look at search engine terms that get people to my blog.  Occasionally a term keeps popping up over and over again that I haven’t really covered, so I feel like I should.  “Stages of goat pregnancy” is one of those phrases.  I’m guessing people want to know what changes take place in their doe that would help them know if she’s bred and how much longer until she’s due.

Dolly about a day before delivery

That’s tough.  You can look at a pregnant human and come up with a decent guess of how far along she is once it becomes visible.  Goats aren’t so easy.  My beautiful Stormy didn’t hardly show at all.  The picture below was taken just a day before she gave birth…

Stormy day before having triplets

to triplets.  Yep, they just kept coming out and I have no idea where she had all that kid.  They weren’t little kids either.  All four goats below were also within a week of their due dates (you can click on a picture to enlarge).

Bambi carrying one kid

Pam with twins

Joe and Millie both with twins

If you’re looking for signs of how to tell when your goat is close to kidding, you can check my post on those SIGNS.  This post is about the stages of pregnancy and how the kid(s) develop(s) during the five  month gestation period.

Like humans, the pregnancy can be divided into trimesters.  In goats, each trimester consists of about fifty days, with an overall gestation period of 150 (145-152) days.  The third trimester is the most critical in nutritional needs for the doe.  If she is not provided adequate nutrients the developing kids will rob her and become little parasites.  This can lead to a frequently fatal condition known as ketosis.

Kid Development

Day 1 2 cells
Day 1 ½ 8 cells (morula stage)
Day 3 – 4 Enters uterus
Day 6 – 7 Blastula stage
Day 12 Attaches to wall of the uterus; beginning of embryonic period
Day 20 Heart begins to beat
Day 28 – 35 Limb buds become visible
Day 42 1 ½ inches (37.5 mm) long; major tissue, organ, and systems are defined; end of embryonic period; it is now a fetus
Day 42 – 49 Mammary buds/empty scrotal sac appear
Day 49 – 56 Ear canal opens
Day 56 – 63 Nostrils open
Day 60 Fetus is 4 inches (100 mm); eyes, eyelids and nostrils are identifiable
Day 77 – 84 Horn pits appear
Day 90 10 inches (250 mm) long; after this size varies greatly according to breed
Day 98 – 105 Hair around eyes and muzzle; tooth eruption
Day 119 – 126 Hair covering the body
Day 141 Fetus is viable (can survive outside the mother)
Day 145 – 152 Born

.

Maggie giving birth to Winnie

Linking to Homestead Barn Hop.

Sources:

Goat Dairy Library

Alabama Cooperative Extension System

The Biology of the Goat

The Boer and Meat Goat Information Center

Goat-Link

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72 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nancy
    Apr 01, 2012 @ 20:08:34

    A great post for those just beginning to raise goats — and likely old hands like yourself as well.

    Must be quite common for goats to have twins?

    Reply

    • Teresa
      Apr 01, 2012 @ 20:14:56

      Thanks. One or two is normal. Triplets is common. Quads are not unheard of. I’m happy with one or two, whichever the mom can handle.

      Reply

  2. Jen
    Apr 01, 2012 @ 20:19:52

    wonderful post :)

    Reply

  3. Candy C.
    Apr 01, 2012 @ 20:50:08

    Great post! It’s amazing how different the goats look just before kidding. Bambi hardly looked pregnant at all!
    I like when they have two, it seems easier on the mom and evens out the udder usage! ;)

    Reply

    • Teresa
      Apr 01, 2012 @ 20:59:25

      I’m fine with one or two. As Millie has gotten older, she does better with raising just one. I’m really not a fan of triplets (the concept because I’m in love with quite a few individual triplets), and I don’t want to try anything more.

      Reply

  4. Alica
    Apr 01, 2012 @ 20:58:27

    This was interesting Teresa…one more question for you though. At what age do you breed them for the first time? I know with cows, it’s planned that they freshen around their second birthday.
    On another note …our neighbors goat just had a set of quads! I had never heard of that, and haven’t seen them, but wow!

    Reply

    • Teresa
      Apr 01, 2012 @ 21:02:20

      There’s some debate on when to breed. It’s pretty common to breed them to kid around their first birthday. In the last few years, I’ve held off and only bred my March girls to have kids in June so they are fifteen months before kidding. This year I did breed some for around their first birthday because of the genetic issues I’ve been dealing with. I just decided Boeris bred Coral when he escaped, so she will be due at eleven months. I’m really worried for her. Hopefully it will work out.

      Reply

  5. Sharon Qualls
    Apr 01, 2012 @ 21:21:42

    Neat picture of Maggie giving birth.

    Yep some don’t look more than overweight!

    Reply

  6. Pondside
    Apr 02, 2012 @ 00:20:12

    That was interesting! I’m sure that there are people just starting out who will be saving this post.

    Reply

  7. Manang Kim (@ManangKim)
    Apr 02, 2012 @ 12:03:31

    Pam looks very heavy. Very nice post here since I am planning to raise goats ^_^
    Thanks for the visit I do appreciate it.

    Jelly Beans

    Reply

  8. Chai Chai
    Apr 02, 2012 @ 20:29:43

    Good stuff here, it is so tough to figure how they are doing as every girl carries their kids differently.

    Reply

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  12. Chris
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 15:41:15

    We own four fainting goats for pets. Two does and two wethers. Well one wether still has an undecended testicle. I noticed he looks more like a buck too. Can he get my doe pregnant? I noticed when the does were in season he was very interested. I wouldn’t mind if the doe was pregnant but am just curious. One of the goats nipples look like they are larger? Thanks

    Reply

  13. Jenna
    Mar 02, 2013 @ 23:07:39

    Hi, our goat has 4 teats,2 are a bit larger than the others. I noticed a few days ago as she squatted to urinate the 2 larger ones hanging down. I have never seen them like this before. They look like my pinkie about that size, I don’t know if this means she could be pregnant. If she is how far would you expecther to be. She is fat so size won’t determine it. Many thanks

    Reply

    • Teresa
      Mar 02, 2013 @ 23:13:02

      It depends on her age. She might be in heat. Has she been near a buck? Is she making an udder? Are the glands themselves getting bigger? That would be a better indication of pregnancy than just the teats. Does she have any other signs of pregnancy such as springing? Have you seen her flagging (switching her tail a lot) like she might be in heat?

      Reply

      • Jenna
        Mar 06, 2013 @ 19:31:45

        We rescued her 2 years ago, and she was about 8 months old. Her udder looks a bit wobbley as she walks, but still could be fat! No we don’t have a buck but we have a flock of sheep with a ram………. it is a question, maybe i am thinking a flase pregnancy-we had a lamb born in november. Not sure what to make of it as she has never had her teats so pronunced as this.

      • Teresa
        Mar 06, 2013 @ 19:36:00

        If there is not a buck around, she can’t be pregnant. There is a possibility of infection. Is there any liquid that can be squeezed out? Is there a smell or does she have a fever and act sick in any other way. If not, goats (especially dairy goats) can come into milk without a pregnancy. My retired goat, Minnie, dried up and then came into milk the next spring, and I milked her all summer.

  14. Jenna
    Mar 06, 2013 @ 19:48:06

    No, she has no smell or infection, we do have a far amount of wild animals, deer, dingoes could be a buck, no one would ever be surprised. Will just have to watch her and wait . I was told she was a minature, but she is not, maybe they meant meater-the boar goat-she is white but does have a few patches on the back of her neck and hip of light brown flecky hair. Many thanks

    Reply

  15. kashif
    May 23, 2013 @ 02:46:18

    my goat is breed on feb 3rd i had to know when she will kid i m from india
    pls let me know what should i do n what should i give her to eat at this time. this is my first time so pls let me know

    Reply

  16. jenna james
    Jun 05, 2013 @ 20:08:18

    Hi i wrote to you about my goat on the 2nd of march this year, asking about my goat. You commented about her definately not being pregnant by the ram, welll she was., she aborted nearly 2 weeks ago. I was at work when it happened, when i saw her the next morning bleeding was not sure of what had happened. As we have foxes and wild dogs/dingoes we were not able to find it. They all free range on 50 acres, but get locked in at night. Today she is out there rubbing up against the ram, wagging her tail backing on to him, prancing around then head butting him. We have never seen her behave like this before. Now she is locked in by herself, and she is not happy. Just thought you would like to know, I don’t feel so silly now. Jenna

    Reply

    • Teresa
      Jun 05, 2013 @ 20:14:14

      I do get a lot of questions from people, and I don’t remember the situation you are talking about. I hardly ever respond in absolutes because it’s almost impossible to be definite about a goat that I don’t see and know well. I might say something as definite as she wasn’t bred if she came into heat. Sorry to hear how things turned out.

      Reply

    • Sue Biemans
      Dec 01, 2013 @ 23:14:49

      Hi Jenna. i have been trying to do some research to see if female goats can fall pregnant to a male sheep. i keep getting very strange looks from people i tell and even vets telling me that it is impossible. I have a female goat (about 5 years old) who definitely looks like she is pregnant. there are no other goats around us for miles but there are rams. i too have found my doe “backing” up to the ram. i am so sorry your story did not end well, and i am also worried about my doe. She is like part of the family and would hate anything bad to happen to her. i can feel and hear something/s moving around in her tummy and she has filled out a lot in the top of her usually scrawny back and behind. She is also starting to bag up and act differently. if you have heard anything else in relation to this sort of thing, i would be very eager to hear more.
      thanks. by the way, you did not sound silly to me.
      Sue

      Reply

      • Teresa
        Dec 02, 2013 @ 08:09:34

        After going back up and refreshing myself on your situation, Jenna, I did a google search, and according to Wikipedia, it is possible for a sheep to breed a goat; however, you are most likely not going to get a viable baby. It will most likely end up being aborted or still born. This is because they are not the same species. The goat has 60 chromosomes and sheep have 54. I have not done any academic research on the matter, so take Wikipedia’s answer for what it is.

  17. spunkysalymander
    Jun 05, 2013 @ 22:00:06

    thank you for this blog post!! I grew up raising goats but havent done it in so many years I feel like I am forgetting everything my grandmother taught me years ago. My mama Nubian was bred in May around the 16th and was with the buck for three weeks. I am pretty confident she is pregnant as she has suddenly filled out around her usually concave hip/back area and is abnormally quiet and happy. I also catch her in funny positions on the ground scratching her belly. Maybe its too soon to truly notice any changes, but it sure seems like I can see a difference to me. When we rescued her two years ago she had just delivered triplets. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this research. If i am doing the math correctly shell be due to kid sometime in middle of october?

    Reply

  18. bethany
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 11:52:23

    Thanks for this! I have my first goat, an almost 5 yr old Saanen who is due with her 5th kidding. I was hesitant to buy her from the sweet 90 yr old lady who was selling off her small herd because I really couldn’t get alot of care history information on her, other than she had always been a great milker, and had kidded 4 other times, her first being twins, followed by two sets of triplets and last year a set of quads. (YIKES) She dosn’t look too big to me, and the lady was expecting her to freshen in Auguest, she had bred late, which I know is a bad sign in a goat, but she was otherwise healthy. Her udder looks well attached despite those years of use also, and for our family she seemed like a good start. She didn’t have trouble kidding before and I thought that was important since I’ve never helped a goat with kidding complications. Thats about it. Other than she was bred to another Saanen. We are looking for a young buck to keep also (maybe an Alpine since we aren’t worried about papers) and a weather to live with him, and will either keep her kid/kids if she has a doe or purchase another to live with her for company. I don’t know how this will all turn out, Im worried about her having babies soon, so anything I find on here will be helpful. Thanks again for the site!

    Reply

    • Teresa
      Jul 25, 2013 @ 13:00:58

      Glad you’ve found this information useful! I know when I started, it was really hard to find good information on goats. I do think it’s getting a bit easier though.

      Reply

      • Bethany
        Jul 25, 2013 @ 15:13:38

        Can I ask, do you ever have trouble with your goats having thier horns? I’d like to leave mine natural, but people look at me like Im cross eyed when I say that. The buck we buy will be dehorned (or whatever you call it) since he will be several months old already when we buy him and everyone around here disbuds, but my girl thats due soon is actually polled, so I don’t know if her baby/babies will have horn buds or not, but Im not interested in burning them off if they do. Also, do you know anyway to know if a baby is a herm if its from polled stock? I worry about keeping a doe only to find out she can’t be bred, but can’t think of a way to know without a trip to the vet.

      • Teresa
        Jul 25, 2013 @ 15:37:48

        The easy answer to the horns is no. Now, there’s going to be an exception once in a while. I prefer my goats to have horns. They are easier to handle and work with. Much easier. I’ve never had a serious injury from horns. I do get the occasional bumps and bruises, but they are accidental and usually me being careless.

        I don’t know how you would tell at a young age if a goat was a hermaphrodite (proper term is freemartin). I gave one doe away, and then she began acting like a buck and the vet did say she had both male and female organs. I also have one polled doe that is a freemartin. She occasionally comes into heat, but she is also interested in the other girls when they come into heat. She doesn’t settle. I’m not sure the vet could tell me on her because her physical appearance is perfectly female. Did they tell you that she was naturally polled? I don’t know many Saanens that are. If she is naturally polled, about 50% of her babies will be because polled is the dominant trait.

      • Teresa
        Jul 25, 2013 @ 16:19:01

        Actually, I got to thinking, and the freemartin is not because of being polled. It’s because she has a twin brother. The hermaphrodite is more random due to being polled. I’m not sure how you’d tell at an early age.

      • bethany
        Jul 26, 2013 @ 15:18:24

        Ya, I was told she was naturally polled, and thats why the lady got her to begin with. She is Saanen, but not papered so of course there is a chance her line was crossed somwhere back, but as far as size and looks you’d never guess that. I think I will just let them grow if they have horns at all. Thanks for all the info!

      • Teresa
        Jul 26, 2013 @ 15:20:25

        Hope it helps.

  19. Tawfick
    Aug 31, 2013 @ 06:38:37

    I like having goats but they cost much .I want to know how to raise good ones with little cost .

    Reply

    • Teresa
      Aug 31, 2013 @ 06:54:37

      I’m not sure that’s possible. Of course, having enough land to provide your own feed year round helps, but they do require a lot of care.

      Reply

  20. MommaSie
    Sep 05, 2013 @ 14:37:11

    Great information!!! I have “pinned” this page & I’m sure I will return to it often as I am a new “goat momma” & my does should be being bred this month (fingers crossed my buck gets the job done, he’s young & seems confused as to what “that thing is”)
    I love my goats, they are so fun to watch!

    Reply

  21. Dana
    Sep 09, 2013 @ 21:00:50

    My grandpa has a momma goat she had twins 3 days ago & is still pregnant. With atleast one, maybe two! How long could she go for? I can feel them moving around. She still goes out to the pasture & eats. She acts fine

    Reply

    • Teresa
      Sep 09, 2013 @ 21:20:56

      I’ve never heard of a situation like this. I would recommend calling a vet. Did you reach in to feel the kids when she was giving birth to make sure she had delivered them all?

      Reply

  22. Debra Gray
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 16:27:37

    I have a goat that bred approximately the last week of May or 1st week in June. Her teats have swollen, but it seems to have stopped growing. Her teats have swollen, but they have come to a point and stopped. There is no swelling of her vulva. Is this unusual? I’ve never raised goats before and I’m worried something is wrong. Am I worrying for nothing? I have to borrow a trailer to get her to a vet.

    Reply

    • Debra Gray
      Sep 18, 2013 @ 16:28:24

      I meant to say her belly has swollen, but seems to have stopped.

      Reply

      • Teresa
        Sep 18, 2013 @ 17:10:41

        It’s hard to say. Some goats show early; others you’d never know if they were bred until right before it’s time to give birth. If she was bred the first of June, she would be due approximately the first of November, so she still is a ways out.

  23. Lacey
    Oct 02, 2013 @ 13:47:48

    Hi,
    How much land do you think would sustain a herd of several goats, 6 large breed does, 2 pygmy does, 1 large breed buck, and 2 pygmy bucks, for a year? I keep the pygmys and large breeds seperate and the bucks are together in a pen. All the does have been bred this month and I want to let them on pasture until the babies are born. I really like your page and found your information extremely useful! Thanks!

    Reply

    • Teresa
      Oct 02, 2013 @ 14:14:56

      I’m glad you found the information here useful.

      It’s really hard for me to say because it would depend upon the land and quality of browse on it. Maybe there is someone nearby that could give you an idea. If they seem to have it eaten down, you can always supplement with hay.

      Reply

  24. Anonymous
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:19:38

    I bought a goat about 21/2 months ago. Little info was known about her when I bought her. She still will not let me pet her. Over time she has gotten closer to me, but only when I feed her. In the last few weeks I’ve noticed her belly is growing outward. I have had pregnant goat once befor, but I knew she was pregnant. I can’t catch her to take her to the vet. I want to be prepared for her birth. What do I do????

    Reply

    • Teresa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 14:41:58

      If you’ve had a the experience of a pregnant goat before, I’m not sure what information you want. Obviously, it would be best if you could tame her down or at least get to a point you can confine/catch her if she needs help. Good luck.

      Reply

  25. Anonymous
    Oct 11, 2013 @ 15:34:08

    I want to know the price of goat meat in your country ,Tawfick

    Reply

  26. Carrie
    Nov 12, 2013 @ 09:33:09

    I have a Pygmy doe I acquired that came off a farm already breed. They thought she only had another month, but that time has come and gone. Her tummy is getting bigger and I can see the kid(s) moving around in there….but her bags have yet to start filling up and she is showing no signs at all! I know this can all happen moments before labor….but this girl has me guessing everyday…not that I mind being kept on my toes…:) any thoughts?

    Reply

    • Teresa
      Nov 12, 2013 @ 09:58:24

      Not really any way to tell easily. A vet might be able to do an ultrasound and give you an approximate idea. Checking ligaments will also give you a clue, but there’s no great way to tell when they are due if you don’t know when they were bred.

      Reply

      • Anonymous
        Nov 13, 2013 @ 10:33:16

        Yeah, I know this….I am just getting impatient and had to talk it out…:) looking forward to meeting the new kid(s)! Can’t hardly stand it!

      • Teresa
        Nov 13, 2013 @ 10:43:13

        :-) Around here, we refer to it as “watching paint dry.”

  27. sandra wilson
    Nov 19, 2013 @ 18:15:05

    I have a female and a male goat, that have been together since we got them, they are a small sized goat. I think the female may be pregnant. She used to be able to fit between the rails on our porch, and so could the male. But now she can’t fit thru them any more, her belly looks like it has gotten bigger on both sides. But my question is how do I know when she will have the baby, since they have been together all the time.

    Reply

    • Teresa
      Nov 19, 2013 @ 19:56:18

      It’s best to watch the heat cycle and see when he is breeding her. Most times, it is best to only have the male and female together to breed. That way you also have a better idea of when they are due. There are signs you can watch for, but it’s really hard to know when they are due if you don’t know her heat cycle or see him breed her. You can check HERE and HERE for signs.

      Reply

  28. Natalie Shell
    Mar 11, 2014 @ 17:21:45

    We had a goat named Honey to give birth to 5 kids at her first kidding. She hated kids after that… can’t really blame her…

    Reply

  29. imam
    Mar 18, 2014 @ 11:54:47

    can anybody help me informing why or how goat produces twins or triplets

    Reply

  30. Sunny
    May 07, 2014 @ 12:37:59

    my goat is of five years old. She is pregnant and stops milking. I am in-experience and didn’t know how many days are left for kiding so help me how to determine and she’s tits are small.
    thanks

    Reply

    • Teresa
      May 07, 2014 @ 13:36:33

      I honestly don’t know how to help you. Some goats will dry up naturally. Others will just keep making milk as long as you keep milking them. That is not dependent on her due date. It’s best to quit milking at least a month or two before they are due to let them completely dry up and be able to produce colostrum for new kids.

      The way to determine when she is due is dependent on knowing when she was bred. They have an approximately 150-day gestation period. If you know when she was bred, she is due approximately five months later. It can be really difficult to tell when they are due if you don’t know that date. You can check HERE for more help on telling when she’s close.

      Reply

  31. Teresa S
    Aug 29, 2014 @ 18:29:09

    This has been very helpful. We have 6 goats. 5 are female of which 3 are older like 5-6 years old. 2 are very young I’d say 8-9 mths old. Our boy is a year old and today my husband noticed that he was mounting one of the older females and she was standing still to let him. We acquired all of these goats from people just giving them to us. The two youngest came from some family members who thought they could have them in their backyard. We live on a ranch so we took them after the city got after them for having them withing the city limits. Can the little boy get the older female pregnant?

    Reply

  32. Perculiar
    Oct 01, 2014 @ 10:32:56

    Hi, i find this blog very interesting. we looking into rising goats and have some questions, like how old could the female be as to get pregrant and how many times per year can this happen. At what age is it preferable to acquire the female breed. Are there seasons where they strave better? thanks.

    Reply

    • Teresa
      Oct 01, 2014 @ 12:10:26

      Goats mature quite young, so males and females should be kept separate by the time the girls are three months old. I do not breed my girls until they are at least seven months old. It’s possible for them to become pregnant and have kids twice in a year, but I would not recommend it. They need time to recover from kidding. You can acquire them at any age; I’m not sure that any age is better than another. I’m not sure what you are asking with your last questions.

      Reply

  33. michelle
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 01:49:56

    goat help plis? my goat is pregnant and something come out at her lo0ks like a bag with i cnt explain but n0 baby…

    Reply

  34. michelle
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 02:00:53

    i cant find my goats baby… she is untied and let her out to eat then when i came to fetch her found sumthing came out her like a bag of afterbirth but theres no baby tobe found… did she already gave birth? or just natural way b4 giving birth plis help?

    Reply

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The information on this web site is supplied for general reference and educational purposes only. This information does not represent the management practices or thinking of other goat breeders or the veterinary community. I am not a veterinarian, and the information on this site is not intended to replace professional veterinary advice. This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your veterinarian. I disclaim all liability in connection with the use of this information.
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