I have been a paramedic long enough to know that nothing ever happens when we WANT it to or are waiting for it. I also know that baby is coming when it wants to, not when Champ or I do. Until then, I can only take the things I have learned into account. But like any mammal, if you have to ask, they’re probably not “pooping out a baby” as my youngest once said. But if you know the breeding date, have marked it in your calendar, and are ready to go, I have compiled a list of ways to tell if your goat is in labor.
Up until a few weeks ago, we didn’t even know our girls were pregnant. The vet came out towards the end of November and told us they weren’t pregnant based on ultrasound. Color all of us surprised when, towards the end of February both Bella and Champ suddenly had big ole belly’s AND a positive pooch test.
So how do you know when your goat is in labor? Here are the best answers I can give you.
10 Signs your goat is in labor
- Stargazing- Champ did this one big time! Any time she would have a contraction she would just stop and stare until it was over.
- Put their head against something- Champ would lean her head against something until (I’m guessing) a contraction would pass.
- Ligaments are lost- the ligaments near her spine and towards her tail will get squishy and then disappear. They say that this will happen 12-24 hours before labor and I’m here to tell you that’s not correct. Bailey had her ligaments up till the very end. I checked her before I took a nap and two hours later Sébastien was born.
- Vulva is swollen- you thought you had a positive pooch test before? Wait till she gets ready to kid. It seriously looks like every single ounce of blood has settled in for the long haul.
- Bagged up- Champ never bagged up. I was really concerned that she would never have a big ole udders. In fact, even now that she has had Stella, she doesn’t have a big udder. Bella on the other hand looks like she is smuggling to yams around. Oakley was dripping milk for several days prior to kidding. So this one is also not fool proof.
- Discharge- Champ didn’t have any discharge until a few hours before kidding and it was a single tear drop and that was it. Bella had a little more but again, not a lot until it was go time.
- The silent scream- They start yawning a lot when labor hits. Knowing that it’s labor and not because they are tired, most people call it the silent scream.
- Up and Down- Champ didn’t get up and down a ton but Bella sure did. She couldn’t get comfortable and you could tell. Champ struggled to get up and down regardless of being in labor since she was carrying triplets.
- Pawing at the ground- There is a difference between digging to find a cool spot and digging for nesting. Bella would dig to China to find a cool spot but when she went into labor, she was digging for a nest. Good luck figuring out the difference.
- The most sure fire way to know that your goat is in labor?? When that baby starts to come out and you better be prepared to catch!
Other Things To Consider
Goats can have Braxton hicks contractions so be prepared. We were constantly thinking that Champ was going into labor only to realize that it was a false alarm.
Start getting your supplies ready for when your goat is in labor. I have a 5 gallon bucket that has shears, exam gloves, puppy pads and more ready to go. This helps because I can have one of the kids go grab it and not individual things.
Another way to tell that your goat is in labor is to simply check her. Yes, I know its weird. But there are times when you can glove and lube up and see if she is dilated or if there is a hoof there.
What signs do you use to see if your goat is in labor?
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