How to Tell If your goat is In Labor

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Now that I have been through three goat deliveries I fancy myself as some what of a goat labor expert *sarcasm* .  So I’m going to share with you how to figure out if you doe is in labor.

What you will Need:

  • Pregnant Doe
  • Magic 8 Ball


  • Go over and place one hand on the doe
  • With the other hand hold up the Magic 8 ball and say ” is my goat in labor?”
  • Wait for response

This method may seem very left up to chance, but that’s kind of what it’s like waiting to see if a doe is really truly in labor or if she just doesn’t want you to go into the house.

Aside from this method there is one other SURE FIRE way to know if your goat is in labor.  Look on the ground beside her.  Is there a baby goat?  If so, congratulations she was in labor.  If not, nope she wasn’t try asking again later.

See where I’m going with this?  It isn’t always easy to know whether or not a doe is really in labor.  But to be honest it wasn’t easy for me to know whether or NOT I was really in labor with any of my 4 kids either so I don’t blame them entirely.  But I do blame them a tiny bit because they follow “The Doe Code” (check out this video by The Goat Mentor), meaning they make it their life mission to NOT have their babies until we are a frazzled mess.

But all joking aside here are some SIGNS that your do may be nearing labor/delivery:

  • Swollen Vulva- Now take this sign with a grain of salt because the vulva can be swollen long before delivery (ask any pregnant woman–TMI…sorry).  But typically as a doe nears delivery her vulva will become particularly puffy (how’s that for an alliteration…grammar).
  • Bagging up- You will notice that her udder went from being what you thought was plump and full to TRULY plump and full.  Like shiny and ready to burst.
  • Discharge- For my goats no discharge was present until it was delivery day and they were in labor.  However I have been told that discharge can show up days, or even a week before show time.  Sometimes you won’t see that actual snail trail, but you will notice that hay is stuck to them where it has dried.  Hay stuck on the rear end of your pregnant doe is a good sign.
  • Loss/Softening of Ligaments- One of the best ways to know whether or not your doe is getting close to labor is checking their tail ligaments. The area will soften and loosen up.
  • Sucked in sides- Usually after ligaments loosen and the babies start to shift into position the belly will “drop” causing their sides to suck in and their hips to look hollowed out.
  • Vocal- All laboring women are different, and goats are no different.  Some goats will whine and become very vocal during labor.  Some will be quiet.  Some goats will demand ice chips and scream that they hate you and no matter how much they beg, you should never take them to be bred again, it just depends on the goat. You know your goat best.
  • Excessive Pooping- It’s the cleaning out for labor stage.
  • Going off on her own- A lot of goats will wander off from the herd (if not already separated into their own birthing stall),
  • Can’t find a comfortable position- If you notice your goat pawing the ground, getting up, laying back down, moving around and stretching those are typically signs that she is trying to get the baby into position.
  • Staring into space- The stage that I’ve noticed all of my goats go through before they start pushing is the “Zone Out” stage.  They just kind of stare off into space
  • Talking to baby- Sometimes you will see your doe laying down and making small noises in the general direction of her belly.  From what I’ve been told she is quietly talking to her baby.  I imagine that it goes something like this, ” Look kid you can have all of my grain ration if you just please come out.  I’ll even share my chaffhaye and my favorite butt scratching spot if you just GET OUT” I remember having negotiations with my own baby not too long ago myself.
  • Contractions- You will see their stomach tighten, their vulva suck in, and their legs get very stiff and “posty”.  Don’t ask them any dumb questions right now like “Does it hurt” or say “wow that was a really big one” or they will tell you to shut up.  Well deserved really.

If your doe is displaying some or all of these symptoms congratulations your kids will arrive….eventually.  Remember to practice your Lamaze breathing, pushing will be exhausting for you both.  Yes you will absolutely be pushing with her, I HIGHLY recommend using the restroom before this starts so you don’t have any unwelcome accidents if you know what I mean…you definitely know what I mean.  But don’t worry Obstetricians everywhere agree that pooping during labor is perfectly normal, so I’m guessing pooping during someone else’s labor is okay to.  I won’t judge you.

Good luck with your babies and I pray that you have an easy and successful delivery.

Happy Birthing…I mean FLOCKING!


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