We try to be with each of our does that are about to kid to lend a hand if there
are any problems. We are with our does kidding 85-90% of the time. The only reason
we are not with 100% of them is because they kidded during the middle of the night
and we did not read the signs of eminent labor. If we see the signs, we will be with
them during the middle of the night. Below are some of the type of signs to help
you better understand when your doe is about to kid.
Calendar- We do individual breeding of our
does. They are placed with a specific buck when the doe comes into heat. We will
leave the doe with the buck for two days and then remove them. We document the date
the doe was serviced. From that date, we will start to closely watch the doe around
149 days from the breeding date. (see Estimating Birthing Date)
Tail Dropping- As the doe gets close to kidding time, her body will start to adjust
to allow the pelvic bones to spread out. Look at the back bone of the goat as it
connects to the tail area. Either side of the tail bone will indent showing the body
is getting ready. The picture to the right was taken 8 days before she kidded. This
is not the best sign. It is not very specific and sometimes we just don't see the
Losing Plug - Our vet calls this "losing their plug". You will see a small amount
of creamy jell leaking from the vulva. The picture to the right was taken at the
same time as the picture for the tail dropping, 8 days before she actually kidded.
We have seen small drippings like this up to 2 weeks prior to the doe kidding, therefore
this is not a very good timing signal unless it changes into "streaming". Streaming
will be discussed later.
Bag Strutting - This is one of the better signs for estimating eminent labor. The
top picture was taken 8 days prior to kidding and the bag looks full but the skin
is not a shiny texture like the bottom picture. When the bag is strutted, the skin
is as tight as it can get and the skin will be very shiny. The dirt on the bag in
the bottom picture is not part of the strutted sign. That is coming from another
sign, "streaming", which will be discussed later. The bottom picture was taken 2
hours before she went into labor. The bag changed from looking like the top picture
to the bottom picture in about 3 hours. We have had a few does that did not have
a strutted bag prior to kidding. The bag filled up after kidding, but that is not
the norm. When we see the bag get strutted like the bottom picture, we expect labor
to be very soon and will start to watch for three other signs… streaming, doe going
off by herself, and soft talking by the doe.
Streaming - This is an extension of the "losing the plug". The difference is in the
amount of creamy mucus coming from the doe. This picture was taken at the same time
as the "bag strutting" picture which was 2 hours before labor started. You can see
the large amount of mucus streaming from the doe is what caused all of the muddy
dirt on the bag. One hour earlier, there had been not streaming like this. It had
looked similar to the "losing the plug" sign. When we see streaming like this, we
expect the doe to start labor within 4-5 hours at least. We have seen does stream
like this for several days and not go into labor and we get concerned when this occurs.
Especially if the mucus changes to a strawberry color. That is normally a sign that
something is wrong with the kids inside.
I want to be alone - When we see a doe going off by herself, we get our kidding tools
ready. We expect labor within 4-5 hours at least. Especially if we have seen strutting
Soft Talking - Another sure sign of eminent labor is when the doe starts baaing very
soft. This is a different sound than she normally makes and much softer. She will
also be looking back at her stomach quite often and can't find a comfortable place
to stand or lay. We expect labor within 4-5 hours at least.
Pawing the ground - The doe will start pawing the ground like she is trying to clear
a place for kidding.