Dealing with pregnant goats for the first time? That is no funny business. This is a matter of serious kidding! Wink! I thought it is better to start unloading loads of information on you with a quirky note. Because we are dealing with pregnant goats and you must already be pretty nervous to start with it. But take a seat, relax and learn how to take care of a pregnant goat. You would be off to a better start when you feel prepared.
In case you might have any doubts, remember again why you started on this endeavor. Goat farming is a great source of income and is a proven profitable business all over the globe. With initial low investment, you don’t have to worry too much about finances and space. So there must be a good reason why you started on this path. And now that you remember it, don’t get intimidated by the goat pregnancy. With these pregnant goat tips, you would soon feel ready to get this started.
How to take care of Pregnant Goat: Information and Tips
Prior to Breeding
To be honest, you need to be prepared for a goat pregnancy even before the doe meets the buck. In other words, though the goat gestation period is of five months, many pregnant goat care activities begin prior to that to ensure a happy arrival of little ones.
The very first thing to do before you bread the does is to check their weights. A healthy goat weight is a must before breeding. It is because overweighed goats may have difficult pregnancies or even have difficulty getting pregnant while underweight goats would find it hard to put on weight once they are growing a baby and are in milk. So keep an eye on the weight.
One of the most important pregnant goat tips is to prepare good housing for the goats. A clean and dry place with enough space for them to rest makes a good shelter against rain, snow, or wind as well as harsh sun heat. Keep their feeding normal with pasture, hay, and free choice goat mineral. If the goat is milking then a grain ration twice a day should be given.
Also, deworm the goats two weeks before the breeding and keep her up-to-date on vaccinations. The more comfortable you keep your does, the more comfortable the pregnancy will be for them.
Track the Heat
The heat cycles vary as per the breed of goats. However, most of the breeds of goats go into heat once a year and that is in the autumn. Thus comes the spring kidding time that gets the farmers really excited for the new arrivals. The best way to breed your does is by tracking their heat cycles. This way you will know the best time to breed her and then prepare for all the proceedings accordingly.
After the Breeding
Once your goat meets the lucky buck, you will need to keep a closer eye on her. The gestation period for goats is 145 to 150 days. It is impossible to find if your does are pregnant in the beginning by just looking. But signs will appear as she gets further into her pregnancy like pronounced round bellies or wider appearance. Sometimes her pregnancy is not visible even when she is ready to birth. To be absolutely sure, you can do a blood test at 30 days or have an ultrasound 40 days after the breeding.
Feeding the Pregnant Lady
Once you know your doe is pregnant, make sure you don’t stress her out. Now is the time you really need to know how to take care of pregnant goat. This means no sudden changes in her routines and no travels for the preggers. And don’t start feeding them too much now that you know they are pregnant, no matter how much you feel like it. Overfeeding the goats can lead to ketosis (metabolic condition) and hypocalcemia (calcium deficiency). Not to mention the fact that a too-large baby can cause difficulties for your doe during kidding.
In the first few months, good quality hay, adequate pastures, and free choice goat mineral would provide enough nourishment to your pregnant does. If they are still milking then continue giving the grain twice daily. Increase their consumption of water as pregnant does tend to drink 4 gallons of water in one day. Most importantly, don’t give her any drugs in the early pregnancy days as they can cause birth defects.
It is the time period of the last two months of pregnancy. And now is the time to feed your does as if they are eating for two or more than that. The does would need more nutrients in these months to provide for their unborn kids. Add alfalfa to their daily food and introduce a handful of grains if the doe hasn’t been eating it up to this point. Again, it is better to keep an eye on their weight and then adjust their intake accordingly.
Dry Them Off
It is fine to milk your doe even after she is bred but only for two or three months after the pregnancy. For the last two months of pregnancy, dry your doe off, as in quit milking so that all her energy goes to her babies. This would also be a good time to give them a hoof trim before they become too bulky.
One Month Prior To Kidding
Things are about to get serious for kidding now! In her last month, get her gradually used to a higher volume of rich food so she gets the extra calories she needs. This is also a good time to give her the CD&T vaccine to ensure the kids have tetanus immunity.
You still have the chance to give your does a good trim if not done yet. And I’m not talking about just the hooves. Trimming the long hairs around her tail and back of the legs and the back end would also make kidding less messy. This is one of the best pregnant goat tips. Believe me!
In the last couple of weeks, you will need to keep a keen eye on your pregnant does. It is also a good idea to deworm them a week before the due date to avoid any problems of parasites for both the does and kids. To ensure the best kidding time, here are some key points to remember about how to take care of pregnant goat:
- Set up a birthing stall with a sanitary environment.
- Prepare a birthing kit and make sure it is stocked up with all the essential items as well as have your vet’s number ready at speed dial.
- Keep the pregnant goats separate from the other goats.
- Have powdered or frozen colostrum ready for emergencies.
- Check on the does frequently for any signs of labor and move her to a birthing stall at night.
- They bleat and yawn when in labor, this means they are uncomfortable. If labor goes too long then get the vet.
It is an incredible experience to watch the process of birth. So enjoy this incredible sight. You would be able to relax only when you feel prepared. Therefore, get as much knowledge as you can about this whole process from different sources. All this would be worth it once you see cute little goat babies bouncing around on the farm! It’s heart-melting!