For mini goats, such as ours, kidding usually occurs between days 145-150 of gestation. For Marmalade, this year’s dates are between May 3 and May 8. Or, any time now.
Signs a Doe is Getting Close to Kidding
- Her udder will fill up. For my goats, this starts about a month before kidding. Their udders slowly bag up, but a day or so before kidding, it seems to almost double in size
- Her tail ligaments relax. Ligaments on either side of the doe’s tail head soften in preparation for easing the kids through the birthing canal. In the day or so before birth, they seem to almost disappear. These can be palpated by wrapping your finger and thumb around the tail head. As the ligaments soften, it will seem as though you can wrap your fingers all the way around her tail. She may hold her tail out at an awkward angle when the ligaments are completely relaxed.
- The babies get into proper position. Goats may (or may not) look very wide in the weeks leading up to delivery. But, a couple of days prior to birthing, they may suddenly take on a sunken look in the upper area just in front of their hip bones. This is due to the kids dropping down into the birthing position. A round goat who suddenly looks thin and bony is getting close to delivery.
- As labor approaches, some does may give other cues. These include: vaginal discharge, a swollen vulva, and changes in behavior (may become more friendly or more standoffish or more restless).
Signs of Labor
- When labor is in progress, the doe may stand off by herself and press her head against a wall or hard object, as she feels pain.
- Contractions can become visible, along with panting as she progresses.
Where We Are
We can check off each item under ‘Signs of Getting Close’. Her udder has filled up quite a bit more this evening, than earlier today. She is extra friendly and loving tonight. And her hip bones look much more prominent than this morning. So, when we she go into labor?
Could be tonight (I doubt it though). Maybe tomorrow. But, my money is on the day after. Just in case, I put her in the kidding pen and closed up the barn to keep drafts out.
I will also guess that she is going to have two kids, both doelings. Who else wants to play? When will she kid, how many, and how many bucklings vs doelings? Add your guess in the comments below!