Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

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How early is too early for a goat to go into labor? What is the earliest that a doe can safely kid? 

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Hi Maggie,

Just like in human babies, the lungs are the last thing to develop in baby goats. They will likely have immature lungs if born more than 7-10 days early. Is something going on with one of your pregnant does?

Oh that’s earlier than I thought. No it was just informational. I have a few does that always kid 3-4 days before their due date but I don’t worry about that. It just made me wonder what would be the cut off. Thanks! 

We used to have a lot of premature births before we realized we had a copper deficiency problem. The earliest I've ever had kids survive was at day 136. Anything between 145 and 150 is totally normal. I've even had them give birth at 141 or 142 with kids that were fine -- just a little on the small side. Healthy goats are very good about staying in that 5-day window. Aside from our copper deficiency losses, I've had maybe 5 healthy does give birth before 145 and only two that gave birth after 150. Here's a video of the two kids that were born at day 136.

Sounds like you are counting 150 days as the due date. I mark the calendar for 145 days because I don't want to get any surprises. 

Maggie said:

Oh that’s earlier than I thought. No it was just informational. I have a few does that always kid 3-4 days before their due date but I don’t worry about that. It just made me wonder what would be the cut off. Thanks! 

No I mark for 145. One of my does consistently gives birth on day 141-142. That’s even with hand breeding. It’s just her.

That's interesting. How many times has she done that? In 19 years of breeding goats, I've never had a goat that gave birth outside that 145 to 150 window more than once, except for one goat that gave birth twice after day 150 -- and that was over 9 years of kidding. 

Twice, both times she has kidded. As a FF she kidded at day 142 and as a 2F at day 141. She is due for a third time next month. I’ll update you on her kidding date. Both times the kids were healthy and robust. 3-4lbs each time. The first time she had triplets (2b, 1d) with an average weight of just shy of 3lbs two were over 3lbs one was under. Then her second time she had twin bucklings who were both about 4lbs. I’m sure that because I expect an early kidding she’ll kid closer to day 150 this time! 

Yes! I'll be interested to hear what she has this time and when.

Yet another question from me. You guys are seriously a godsend thank you for letting me bug you so much! So my doe who ended up kidding 6 days early to the stillborn kids had lost her mucus plug 1 week before she kidded. At the time I didn’t think anything of it because when she lost it she was 2 weeks from her due date. Now today my next doe to kid is exactly two weeks from her due date and is losing her mucus plug today. Now after the situation with my other doe I’m worried this doe will also kid early. Was I wrong to originally think two weeks prior was a normal time? Should I be worried we’re about to repeat my last does pattern? Is there anything I can do either for this doe or for the two due after her? The doe that is losing her plug today is in much better body condition than my first doe. She hasn’t shown any outward signs of parasite problems. I haven’t worried about her the way I worried about the first doe. This makes me even more worried now because I may have missed something. Im trying not to worry because who knows what will happen but the way this year is going it’s hard not to assume the worst. 

It is quite common for does to have small amounts of mucous discharge in the weeks leading up to the due date. I wouldn't be overly concerned unless there is a foul smell to the mucous/discharge or signs of impending labor this soon. Have you been monitoring her ligaments?

I know pictures are not a good indication of gestation since so many can hide them well and this is an odd angle, but she doesn't look very big for a doe due to kid in 2 weeks...may just be the angle of the photo.

Ditti on what Tammy said.

Just FYI ... You can't stop a doe from kidding early. If she does, and this is the second goat to do so, I'd definitely send in the kids and placenta for a complete necropsy. You could have something infectious going on, such as toxoplasmosis. 

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