Goat Kidding
Written by Administrator-GL   
Monday, 28 May 2007


Spring has sprung and your does are getting wider by the minute...
She’s moaning with fullness and her udder is starting to fill out.. Your back is aching from all the bending you have been doing checking her time and time again- Just to make sure... At last, the time of year comes when you are ready for babies OR ARE YOU?

Let me recap some vital information for any newbies reading:
  1. Breeding season is typically between July and February, this is not a certainty so don’t happily put the girls in with the boys unless you want babies no matter the season. (pygmies do not follow breeding season so to speak, they can come into season at different times of the year).
  2. Estrus is every 21 days and lasts for approximately 3 days with day number 2 being the usual choice for successful fertilization.
  3. Breeding takes place when the buck mounts the doe and as he ejaculates he thrusts his head back, the doe will hunch up after he dismounts. This is how I tell that a breeding was successful. I always re-breed in the same standing 2 more successful times just to make sure.
  4. Gestation is 145 to 155 days. Some will go longer by a few days and some may deliver a little earlier. Single births tend to be at the long end of the time span and multiple births seem to be on the early end. Also, I have found that when the barometric pressure drops during this time frame is when the doe will drop her kids.
  5. Generally I don’t suggest breeding a doe until she is either a year old or at least 80 pounds (unless she is a Pygmy, then I go by age which I have chosen to be 1 1/2 yrs old before breeding). I wait till 2 years old for my angora girls since the develop more slowly than other breeds. A doe under a year old is still growing herself and it’s an awful lot to expect her to share her growing time with a fetus developing in her and making enough milk to feed her baby once it hits the ground.
  6. A doeling can get pregnant at the age of 3 months and a buckling can produce sperm and make babies at the same age, so be careful how long you leave intact boy babies with mom and sisters.

The Time is Near:
Ok.. So now you are looking at your calendar and you DID write down the date of breeding right?.. I know you think you will remember what date who bred who.. But believe me .. You won’t be sure as the times nears. So I hope you did write down not only every time you bred but also any time the buck may have gotten out of his pen and with the girls, this is why we have surprise babies. And yes.. I have had my share!
Time to keep an eye on tail ligaments and other signs of oncoming labor.

Typical Signs of Early Labor (Not necessarily in order):
  1. Appears restless, shys away from herd
  2. Eyes glossy or luminous
  3. Paying much attention to her sides and smelling the ground
  4. Pawing at bedding or dirt
  5. Looking behind her and talking to her sides (typically in a voice you have never heard="mama talk")
  6. Talks to you alot as if she is telling you she is getting ready (she is, so listen)
  7. Gets dreamy eyed or star-gazy (euphoric)
  8. Looks less pregnant than she did before-sides have hollowed out, under-belly is full
  9. Lifts tail frequently and urinates frequently, usually not much urine at a time
  10. Lays down and gets up more than usual-figidty
  11. Udder begins to fill more-looks tight and shiny-teats get full
  12. Vulva becomes flabby then looks flat and opening looks longer
  13. White discharge (this may or may not happen) changing to an egg-white looking discharge, sometimes may have some blood streaking in it.
The Place:
Make sure you have somewhere clean, draft free and warm for your doe to kid in winter and cool,shady and airy (yet draft free on the ground level) in summer. Whether it’s a covered shelter in the goatyard, a place in the barn set up just for her or a spot you are willing to share in the house - don’t laugh! I’ve had many babies born in my house. Some of my more spoiled goats demand it and WILL wait until I let them in to kid!
Also keep in mind that if you are in an area predisposed to having ants, they can be kid killers! They get into the eyes and mucus membranes of newborns and can quickly overtake them eating their eyes and eventually killing them.

Amdro ant killer is what many people use that is safe to have around goats, best to call your local agricultural dept or vet and find out what they suggest-or go onto the goat lists and ask what others use. So far I personally have not had to use it, so I do not have experience with it.
You’ll need a bale of clean straw for bedding ( wood shavings are not a good choice for bedding, can get into eyes and nose of newborn kids), a good light out of her reach for night-time kiddings, and a comfortable place for you to sit and wait.. and wait...laugh but you’ll think of this as the days near and you make it daily habit of goat business end watching as you wait for the new arrivals. You will do this no matter if you know the due date or not..it becomes a part of your daily routine.

Kidding  Supplies:
Minimal supplies you will need.
  1. Clean towels for clearing baby’s nose and drying off baby -(hand towels gotten at the thrift shop are great).
  2. Lubricant for assisting delivery- (Vaseline or KY Jelly will do but there are inexpensive non-greasy lubricants just for lamb and goat obstetrics- my favorite is ‘Superlube’ because it is antiseptic as well).
  3. 7% iodine for navel cord dipping-( a film container works great for dipping navels) So you do not contaminate the whole bottle. You just put iodine in the film container dip navel in iodine and tip bottle and kid to make sure that the navel gets completely covered.
  4. Dental floss or a navel clamp for tying off possible ruptured navels- (this does not happen often, but when it does you’ll need this).
  5. Surgical gloves for keeping hands from transferring germs into mom should you need to assist-(These can be found at Walmart or any of the livestock supply house).
  6. Scissors that have been sterilized, preferably surgical scissors but any will do for cutting navel cords shorter if they break long, you’ll want them about 1 ½ inches long-(kept in a plastic bag to keep them clean).
  7. Alcohol for sterilizing scissors (30 minutes submerged in alcohol will sterilize) and cleaning hands before delivery.
  8. Paper towels for general clean up.
  9. Sterile syringes and needles- I use syringes for everything from injections to administering oral meds- 3 cc and 6 cc are great. (diabetic syringes measured in tenths are great for babies, you may have to change needles.. I have experienced the needles supplied are not strong enough, even for baby) I use short needles ½ inch and 3/4 inch 20 gauge.
  10. BO-SE (selenium /vit E combination to combat white muscle disease) obtained from your vet before the big day for selenium injection for baby- in selenium deficient areas- check with your vet on dosage. ( I use 1/10 cc for pygmy babies)
  11. Penicillin Procaine G in case you have to go inside the doe to assist the delivery, you will want to put her on antibiotics for 5 days afterwards-to be safe.
  12. Nasal spray or hemorrhoid medicine reduce swelling of vulva area in hard deliveries. (Both work great)
  13. Probiotic paste or yogurt to replace the rumen flora after administering any antibiotics. Antibiotics kill good bacteria that keeps the rumen working as well as what bacteria you are combating in the body.
  14. Disposable plain vinegar douche for cleaning out mom after a hard delivery or one with a dead fetus.
  15. Molasses and/or Goat Nutri-Drench for replacing mom with vital minerals and vitamins after kidding, also for quick energy that was depleted during delivery. A bucket or bowl that holds at least a gallon for the warm water you will mix the molasses into. (I use about 1/3 cup to a gallon of water).
  16. Propylene Glycol in case of ketosis-gotten at the vets or livestock supply.
  17. Rectal thermometer for taking baby’s temp or mom’s.
  18. Scale to weigh baby.
  19. Camera and assistant-for recording that wonderful event-I use a video camera so if there are problems later I can look back to see if something went wrong during delivery and I have forgotten-Plus it makes great brag material!
  20. Time to make sure your finger nails are shorter than short and remove any rings or bracelets before delivering kids- you don’t want anything that could tear her uterus should you have to go in to help.    

Kids Are Coming:
Let me say one thing that is very important first: If the doe’s water has broken or she has a bag of fluids showing and has not produced a baby within 20 minutes or less-you must go in to find out why-This is not normal.. she could have a mal-positioned baby or a dead baby blocking the way for a live baby behind it... I have seen many people not know this and lose the baby or the doe or both because they saw her water had broke that morning and by that evening wondered if they should do something.. 20 minutes or less maximum!
Ok.. Now you have your doe who is pawing the ground and has a discharge, her tail ligaments are soft and you know it’s time. If she isn’t already in her special kidding place then guide her there Before her water breaks. Make sure you have all of your supplies with you. A plastic bag is great for carrying these things and you can use the handles to hang them on or tie them to the fencing to keep it off the ground.
Most of the time goats have their babies with no problems but being there as a rule is the best way I have found.. Because If they do have a problem, they will need help quick. Better to be there and not have to help than not.
The first thing you will see is the bag of fluids before the baby is born-usually.
head presented

Sometimes the first thing you will see is the baby’s front feet and nose in the birth sac.

mouth and nose cleared

I personally wait until the nose and mouth have come out of the doe and go ahead and clear the nose and mouth with a clean towel then- just in case the umbilical cord has broken inside-when the cord breaks the baby wants to take a breath.
Once the shoulders are out the rest is fast and the baby comes without a problem.
Should you have one foot and a nose you need to go in and find the other foot and carefully bring it forward so they can both come out together, making the birth easy for the doe and reducing stress on the baby.
Should you have back feet first you need to act quickly because typically the umbilical cord can break before baby is born and the baby’s head still being inside mom will create problems when he/she tries to breath.

There are as many positions for birthing babies as there are babies, almost. The rule of thumb is to get baby out of the doe with as little stress on her and the baby as possible and to act quickly and determined - yet being gentle so as not to cause injury to the delicate uterus.
When delivering baby keep in mind the position of the spine. You want to keep the tension of pulling in the curve of the baby’s spine.. Someone once said think of the baby as a banana shape and act accordingly - pulling baby with the curve slightly so as not to break the baby’s back.
Only pull while the doe is pushing - never while she is resting- this reduces the chance of tearing the uterine wall. Hold tight to the baby while mom rests without pulling then resume pulling when she starts to push. If you are confused about the baby’s body part that is showing, close your eyes and feel slowly. For some reason you can ‘see’ better with your eyes closed in a case like this.. Determine what you have and then turn baby to bring feet forward so they can come out before the rest of the baby-whether it’s back feet or front. The feet need to come first to unfold baby and make the delivery smooth as possible.


  • You can push a baby back into mom to reposition it if done gently , before the head is presented and while the doe is not pushing (having a contraction). You can turn a baby around in your cupped hand making sure nothing projects to tear the uterus. You can untangle two babies if they are trying to come out at the same time. Keep your cool and close your eyes and think carefully what you have going on in there. (The joints on the front legs both bend in one direction, the joints on the back leg bend in opposite directions- Also feet turned bottom side down the baby is facing the proper direction , bottom side up, the baby is upside down- you need to reposition baby to the normal kidding position) You can fall apart later.


  • Once babies are out and you have cleared the nose and mouth and they are breathing, set them up to mom so she can clean them and stimulate them.. She wants them on their feet before they suckle, and she will clean and stimulate them to get up and going. (She may not pay much attention to baby #1 if she is going to have a second, until baby #2 is born) Also, baby's cries stimulate mama's attention.


  • Make sure her teats are unplugged(the teats get a waxy plug in the opening that needs to come out before the babies can suckle, it sometimes is too much for baby to remove) Do this by milking a few squirts on each side and then getting baby/babies up to suckle.. there is an enzyme in the baby's saliva that helps to close the teat opening, therefore reducing chance of Mastitis after it suckles - the teat will not have this stimuli after hand milking, making it most important to use a teat-dip after milking.


  • Babies may need help finding the teats. I always make sure they are up to suckle within 15 minutes of birth. They may need help getting the teat in the mouth- and they may baulk at you helping - the boys are the worst- tickle their butt and they will take the teat.. This is what mom does when she is cleaning them..and it does work..

Colostrum is the first milk they will get and it is readily absorbed and utilized by baby for the first 12 hours, the next 12 hours they are able to get some of the antibodies from it but after that, colostrum really does not absorb into their system as an antibody. Baby goats do not get antibodies from the umbilical system- it comes strictly from the colostrum. So this is vital they get colostrum right away.

  • Dip the navels with iodine and give BO-SE injections if you are in a Selenium deficient area.

Bring mom a bucket of very warm water with molasses in it for energy-(at least a gallon) she has worked hard and is tired. Many people give bran or sunflower seeds now too.. Personally, I stick with the molasses water for now.

  • What you should have now is some gorgeous babies or baby, with full bellies because you made sure they got some colostrum (BTW they may only take a suckle or two at a time), a tired but proud mom who has had her molasses water. Babies are dry and finding the teats all by themselves - you know this because you did not leave until you saw each kid find the teat twice all by itself. She is happy, you are happy and the babies are happy. You have taken pictures of all this right?.. ( An inexpensive tripod is great for kidding season-Walmart has good ones for under $20.00)

NOW you may leave for a few minutes and go have a cup of coffee or what ever it is you drink.. But come back in 30 minutes (if you can stay away that long) to make sure everyone is still doing alright. (I always double and triple check about every 30 minutes or so for the first few hours- more often in cold or extremely hot weather)

  • Mom should be delivering after birth by now.. (within 2 1/2 hours usually). You need to make sure she does - especially if you went inside her to help. Keeping her in an area free from other pets and goats will help you find the afterbirth or remnants (if she ate it while you were not looking).

Now, some people say she should not eat the placenta and some say she should. Personally.. I allow any mom who wants to eat it, do so. For one thing I believe it helps make a stronger bond with baby for another I feel it is full of good proteins and vitamins. If she does not eat it, you should remove it and throw it away - double bagged or give it to your trustworthy alpha dog (which is what I do). No, in my personal experiences.. I have never had a dog eating the afterbirth try to eat a newborn baby.. instead they seem to make a stronger protection bond with the babies.. BUT this is true for my dogs - and all dogs are different. Use your own judgment.

  • And if you did go inside- even with your gloved hands.. You will need to give her a shot of antibiotic and some probiotic paste.. I would do this for 5 days- check with your vet for dosages. (I use 1 cc/25 lbs goat weight- penicillin Procaine G a broad spectrum antibiotic).

If she had a hard delivery or a dead fetus you will give her a water-vinegar douche then the antibiotics. (I sometimes put about 1cc of Penicillin Procaine G in the douche as well.) Also, a nasal spray decongestant or a hemorrhoid cream just inside the swollen vaginal opening will help greatly reduce swelling and pain. She still needs to pass afterbirth. Nursing will help the contractions needed to produce the afterbirth. There will be a discharge from her much like a menstrual discharge that may start that day or a week later and last from 2 to 3 weeks.. As long as it isn’t brown and has no foul odor things are normal. If it has a brownish tint or has a foul odor you will want to make sure she is put on antibiotics.

A healthy baby has warm ears and mouth, stretches and urinates upon waking and then starts looking for the faucets.. Tail is up and wagging while eating.. They may either take a nap after eating or play some.
If you have a baby whose mouth is cold, tail is down or stands hunched up.. You have a problem baby.. You need to get the baby’s blood sugars up by giving it molasses, warm strong coffee, nutri-drench, glucose or whatever else you may have on hand..
Here is a quick baby goat coat

A chilled baby cannot suckle.. So you will have to use a syringe Very Carefully.. and drip it in the mouth making sure the baby swallows and does not choke- Do Not hold baby’s head tilted back to do this.. (Show me)
You don’t want to get fluids in the lungs.. (see page on tube feeding a kid goat here (Tube Feed a Baby Goat) Normal temperature is 101 to 104-taken rectally.
Once the blood sugars are up and the mouth is warm inside the baby should be able to suckle.. It is also important in this case to milk some colostrum from mom and give it to baby with the molasses and coffee..

So.. There you have it.. Easy huh?.. If you are like me your gut hurts from helping mom push and your throat hurts from breathing hard too.. It’s like having labor over and over *LOL*
Congratulations.. You just had a baby goat!

Last Updated ( Saturday, 31 December 2011 )