It seems like it should be simple, right?
A pregnant goat would look… well, pregnant.
The problem is, goats have naturally large stomachs, due to the activity in their rumen. So, figuring out if your goat just has a large stomach or is actually pregnant can be harder than you think.
The difference between a bloated rumen and pregnancy:
If the first sign of pregnancy you’ve noticed in your goats is a bigger stomach, then first and foremost, you need to make sure she’s not just bloated.
Signs of a bloated rumen:
- If your goat is acting uncomfortable and if she seems wider than normal, especially on the left side, then you might have a bloated goat.
- If your goat recently had her food changed or got into some grain and ate more than normal, then you might have a bloated goat.
- If your goat has difficulty breathing, then you definitely have a bloated goat and it’s time to call the vet.
You can learn how to treat a goat with bloat here.
Signs and symptoms of pregnancy in a goat:
- 3 weeks post-breeding: Your goat WILL NOT go into heat again. Symptoms of heat are cervical mucus, wagging their tail, being louder than normal, etc.) Your goat should not be exhibiting any of these signs if she is bred.
- 6 weeks post-breeding: A goat’s belly will be tight, just in front of their udder.
- 12 weeks post breeding: Their belly will be about 1-2 inches bigger. (You can check this by measuring them right after breeding.)
- 15 weeks post breeding: Slight swelling of the udder, whether you’re already milking them or they’re dry.
- 3-4 months post-breeding: You should be able to feel fetal movement with your hands.
- 4-5 months post-breeding: The udder should get larger and full of milk, the vulva should be slightly swollen, and they should have a slightly bigger abdomen (meaning one baby inside) or be VERY large (meaning multiple babies inside).
Goat Due Date Calculator
How to do a goat pregnancy test at home
I often get the question, “Can human pregnancy tests be used on goats?” The answer is no. Goats have different hormones than humans and unfortunately, running down to the local pharmacy won’t get you any closer to finding out if your goat is pregnant. However, you do have a few options that are relatively inexpensive.
- To test by blood, visit BioPryn Labs (Here’s how to draw blood from your goat at home.)
- To test by urine, visit BET Labs
- To test by ultrasound, you can visit a local livestock vet or see if there are any ultrasound techs in your area with a portable ultrasound machine. Ask your fellow goat friends, I’m sure they can hook you up:)
Getting ready for baby goats
If you’ve got good news and the pitter patter of little hooves are on their way, then be sure to check out my posts to help you get prepared for kidding!
Breeding your goat
If your test was negative, that means it’s time to read up on best breeding practices. Hopefully these articles will help you on your way to lots of little goaties!
- Goat Breeding 101
- Goats & Minerals: What you need to know (if your goat has trouble getting pregnant, I recommend making sure you’re good in the mineral department)