Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Hi fellow goat-lovers,
I have a pregnant goat (didn't plan on it), and am not quite sure when conception was. What should I look for (and how often) in trying to tell when she might have her kid(s)?
I have two older wethers and two older wether sheep that I bring outside each day. The three younger ones are two girls and a boy. Should I be keeping the mom-to-be inside? They all hate to be separated, but I want to do what's best for mom (and baby).
Since this is the first time for both of us, I need all the help I can get!
Thanks in advance.
Susan

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When you let them outside, do they have access to shelter? Can they come back inside the barn if they want?

And another thought just occurred to me -- if no one saw her get bred, are you sure she's pregnant?

Deborah
The things I am going to post are 'normal'. The problem is... no kidding is 'normal', but these are some things you can watch for. About 4 weeks before kidding she will begin to develop an udder. The udder will continue to enlarge during the last few weeks. A few days, or hours, before she kids she will lose her plug (a white mucus). After that keep a close watch on her. We check every 2 hours, day and night. As birthing gets closer she will begin to discharge a golden clear mucus. She will seperate herself from the others and build a nest. She may 'talk' to her side, paw the ground, lie down and get up repeatedly. At this time birth is very close. Soon she will begin to push. It is amazing to watch.

Keep her with the others until she separates herself, then she won't get as stressed. She needs to have plenty of exercise and have outside time until she is in labor.
Jeanette
They have access to a three sided shelter which blocks the wind from the west pretty well and the north and south ok. Usually the little ones choose to go into the large dog house we put in the pasture which blocks most wind. They can't get back inside the barn (I've tried that with the larger ones and they really just made a mess of the barn - running all over the hay, peeing on it, etc.)
When we took her to the vet a couple of months ago to get their hooves clipped, he seemed to think she looked pregnant. Her teats have gotten bigger, and her udder is larger than before, so although I couldn't swear to it, I'm pretty sure she is.
Susan


Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:
When you let them outside, do they have access to shelter? Can they come back inside the barn if they want?

And another thought just occurred to me -- if no one saw her get bred, are you sure she's pregnant?

Deborah
Thanks, Jeanette,
That was helpful.
Susan

David & Jeanette Walker said:
The things I am going to post are 'normal'. The problem is... no kidding is 'normal', but these are some things you can watch for. About 4 weeks before kidding she will begin to develop an udder. The udder will continue to enlarge during the last few weeks. A few days, or hours, before she kids she will lose her plug (a white mucus). After that keep a close watch on her. We check every 2 hours, day and night. As birthing gets closer she will begin to discharge a golden clear mucus. She will seperate herself from the others and build a nest. She may 'talk' to her side, paw the ground, lie down and get up repeatedly. At this time birth is very close. Soon she will begin to push. It is amazing to watch.

Keep her with the others until she separates herself, then she won't get as stressed. She needs to have plenty of exercise and have outside time until she is in labor.
Jeanette
If she has access to a shelter, I'd let her keep going outside unless you knew she was getting close.

Checking tail ligaments is a challenge for someone who is new, but it can give you an idea. If you feel your other goats at the back of their spine, where the tail connects, you'll notice it feels almost like a diagonal bone goes off the spine. A pregnant doe's ligaments will get softer and softer, and it will feel like a rubber band going off the spine diagonally. Feel the non-pregnant goats for comparison. When you're not experienced, you'll think she's lost them a couple weeks before she kids, but once you've done it for a few years, you'll start to feel them when they're almost gone ... almost gone ... almost gone. THEN when they disappear, you'll know she's going to kid within a few hours. I should get a picture of this!

As for pictures, there is a picture of a doe's hollow sides in my photo album on here:
http://nigeriandwarfgoats.ning.com/photo/lizzie-hollow?context=user
That dark shadow between her spine and her belly is a hollow area that means the kids are dropped and getting into position to be born. Normally, a pregnant doe looks like she has a beer barrel on each side, and she's almost flat as a table across her spine. She gets hollow within a few hours of kidding. I've just added a couple more photos, so you can see what they look like before they get hollow:
http://nigeriandwarfgoats.ning.com/photo/more-pregnant-does?context...
http://nigeriandwarfgoats.ning.com/photo/more-pregnant-does/next?co...

The frustrating thing about kidding is that you never know how fast it will go. Of all the things that Jeanette and I mentioned, they all mean that a doe will kid fairly soon. However, NOT seeing those things does not mean that she won't kid soon. Sometimes, all of those things can happen in two hours, and you have kids! And with first fresheners, sometimes the udder isn't a very good predictor because it doesn't get very big until after kidding.

If she kids in winter, it would be good if you could be there, because kids can die of hypothermia within 15 minutes if they're not dried off. If temperatures go below zero again, they could die even faster.

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