for people who love the littlest dairy goats
I have a 7 year old doe who was very definitely bred on 6/4 and 6/5, which puts her at day 153ish. I was confident that she had settled, as she didn't come back into heat (the buck was still here at that point, just in case)... but she's still not making milk, much less filling her udder, and her her ligaments still feel fairly tight. I am seeing some discharge and some softening of her ligaments yesterday and today, but could it be that she's in heat rather than preparing for labor?! It just seems so weird that she'd be at day 153 and not be uddering up *at all*... no??
quick history: she kidded in summer of 2014, we milked her through the following year and then she had almost a year off before being bred, so she definitely doesn't have a slack udder. i didn't keep very good prenatal notes on her at the last kidding, but i seem to remember that she was carrying much wider, and had bagged up prior to delivering on day 151. the doeling we retained from that kidding was bred to the same buck, and she is very definitely pregnant and making her udder nicely.
If I were in that situation, I would be assuming the doe is not due when I think she is. I've only had two does give birth after day 150, so 99.5% of my goats have given birth by day 150. Just because the doe was bred on 6/4 and 6/5 doesn't mean she actually got pregnant. You may have missed her next heat, or she may have had a silent heat, or she may have aborted but continued with a false pregnancy (if she looks pregnant). This is why some people pay for pregnancy tests, although a false pregnancy would show up as pregnant on a hormone test. The only way to know that it was a false pregnancy would be through ultrasound. (She'd have a uterus filled with fluid and no babies.)
If she has had zero udder development, I'd assume she is not pregnant -- or at least not due in the next three weeks.
That may sound impossible, but I had a doe give birth three weeks "late" one time and never had any recollection of rebreeding her. Thank goodness at least one of the kids was polled, so I knew who the sire was. My polled buck was actually in a breeding pen with other does, so when she came into heat, I must have just put her in there for the day and forgot to write it down.
i kind of figured that would be the answer.... i've been scratching my head for weeks waiting for her to start to bag up a bit. i'm leaning toward aborted and false pregnancy, or aborted and just fat from her prenatal diet. because i might have missed her next heat, but i doubt the buck would have. lol!
the problem with google is that you get *so* many conflicting opinions and answers on everything... i've read some posts where people say their doe had no milk until the day before, or even hours before kidding; so i think i gave myself some false hope over the last couple days ;)
i'll just have to assume she's not pregnant after all, unless something changes drastically in the next day or 2. i guess there's still a slim chance that she did come back into heat before the buck left, but that i somehow didn't notice (which seems like a long shot, since he'd have been acting all crazy).
If you were pen breeding, I would not rule out the possibility that he bred her again. I am not a fan of pen breeding because I don't usually see the breeding, so I don't have a due date. I've had a doe locked up with a buck for six weeks now and have not seen one single sign of heat or breeding, but I'm assuming she's pregnant. I'd say I see about 1 in 3 does get bred with pen breeding.
So, if the buck was with the doe non-stop ... Sometimes does cycle again 5-7 days later, so maybe she will give birth in a few more days. Or maybe she came into heat 3 weeks later and was rebred. I think this is the scenario I really hate with pen breeding -- THINKING that I know when a doe is due! That's actually worse than having no clue because I re-arrange my life to be sure that I'll be around for labor.
It's really challenging when reading other people's accounts of their goats' pregnancy and labor because you don't know how much experience they have or how they define things or how closely they were paying attention. I've had a couple of first fresheners that had a tiny little handful of an udder when they gave birth, but a new person might think that's "no milk." It really didn't look like anything from behind. The only way I knew it was a handful was that I felt it. If you cup your hand and look at it, you can see what I mean -- that's not much udder tissue at all. But my senior does all bag up way ahead of kidding. You do have to put your hands on the udder though, as I've been fooled by a couple of does that didn't "look" like they had a lot a week or two before kidding, so I assumed they weren't pregnant, and then they surprised me.
I can see the issues with pen breeding, but with doing buck leases, and having both mini nubians and nigerian dwarf does, it makes most sense for us to just pend and house the buck with whichever does we plan to breed. This guy bred the doe in question, Guiness, pretty much straight out of the truck, and they kept at it off and on for nearly 3 days! He was super interested in Lady, too, so i thought she might have been coming into heat... but it turned out he had just missed Lady's heat and she bred with him (also for a couple days!) 3 weeks later. At that point we kept him a few extra days just to make sure that Guiness didn't come back into heat. I suppose it is possible that Guiness did come back into heat at a later point while he was still here and I just wasn't aware, so i'll keep watching her and just see what happens. Her udder is definitely completely empty and flacid, i've been feeling it regularly for the past week or 2. Her daughter, on the other hand, is making a nice little udder (for a ff) and will be due to kid between the 15th and 20th :)
Well, congrats on the first freshener! That's exciting! At least the buck did something for you.