Signs of Whelping for Pregnant Goats

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Female goats can express going into labor in a variety of ways.
Female goats can express going into labor in a variety of ways. (Image: nanny image by wiladayvo from Fotolia.com)

Signs that a female goat is getting ready to go into labor may differ slightly between species, especially where fainting goats are concerned. However, it is always best to have your veterinarian on stand-by for your goat if you suspect she will be going into labor soon, just in case there are any problems with the delivery. Remember that every labor will be different for every goat.

Visible Body Changes

Some body changes are to be expected as the goat gets closer to labor. Losing her mucus plug may be a sign of oncoming labor but it is not as dependable as streaming. Streaming is when the goat has a constant stream of thick mucus coming from her vulva. Check with your veterinarian often and keep him updated on the situation during this part. Some female goats do not stream. Feel along the spine toward the tail to see if the pelvic bones have separated to allow the kid to be born. If you can almost wrap your fingers in a circle around the top of the tail, they have likely separated enough. If the goat is arching her back and straining, this is likely a sign of contractions, which means labor has already begun.

Vocalizations

Vocalizations may seem "strange" in comparison to your goat's normal speech. If the goat is suddenly "talking" to her stomach in a hushed bleat or she begins to make a sound that resembles human muttering, she is likely close to giving birth. If she is in her birthing stall with a friend or family member, the other goat may begin copying these vocalizations. A camera with sound reception will assist you in keeping track of your pregnant goat's voice. If a camera is impossible to install, baby monitors will work in most stable areas as long as they are kept out of reach of the animals and off of floors so that they cannot be stepped on.

Body Language

Not all female goats show any sort of body language except for suddenly laying down, having a few contractions and giving birth. Anxious, constant pacing or abnormal anxious movements are things to watch out for since this is likely a sign of the first stages of labor. Females may suddenly become very affectionate toward their usual caregivers to the point of mock-nursing from their fingers or leaning their full weight against the caregiver. Other females may race around the stall or paddock and refuse to let anyone or anything near them, acting as if they are scared to death. Emotional swings such as these are typical. Pawing at the ground to soften it for the kid's birth may be another sign of labor.

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