When will my doe kid?
The most important item that tells you when a doe can be expected to kid is an accurate record of her breeding date. Without this, you are using pure guesswork, and could lose kids if a doe needs help during the birth process and you weren't there when needed. Most does are bred during September to December, although it is possible to breed does at other times of the year, especially with light-controlled housing. After the doe is bred, record the date, then watch her at the time she would be expected to return to heat. This is approximately 21 days later, but individual does may have longer or shorter cycles, so watch her closely for the next month or two after breeding. If you miss doing this, you might waste time and feed on a non-pregnant doe. A doe bred late in the natural breeding season might not cycle again, so it could be difficult to determine whether she is truly pregnant.
Pregnancy testing can be done several ways. One is by your veterinarian with ultrasound, which is a way to picture the insides of a doe without using x-rays, which could damage the unborn kid. Another method is by milk or blood progesterone testing. Progesterone is one of the hormones of reproduction. Starting about a month after your doe is bred, you can take a milk sample (assuming she is still milking from her previous kidding) or a blood sample to tell if she is pregnant. Laboratories such as Dairy One in Ithaca, NY can give you exact instructions on how to do the test and what the cost of the test is. Assuming your doe is safely pregnant, when can the kids be expected to arrive? A doe's pregnancy (gestation) lasts about 150 days. We call this the gestation period. To save you calculating the expected kidding date the hard way, there are gestation tables available. One of these is shown below.
Gestation Table for Does
To use the Gestation Table: say your doe is bred on September 10. She will be due to kid (or "freshen") in February. To decide which day, you take the day of breeding (the 10th in this example) and subtract the number in the table (-3 for February). So her due date is February (10-3) = 7.
|Doe Bred In:||Will kid in:||Number to take away from calendar breeding day:||Take this number away instead in leap years:|
|January||June||Subtract 1||Subtract 2|
|October||March||Subtract 1||Subtract 2|
|November||April||Subtract 1||Subtract 2|
|December||May||Subtract 1||Subtract 2|
Calculate the due dates for does bred on:.
- May 18
- Sept 2
- Nov 20
- Dec 30
- Record breeding dates for your own does and calculate due dates.
- Draw a plan of your barn, showing where does are housed and what you need to do to prepare pens for kidding.
- View slides or a film showing a doe kidding.*
- Watch a friend's goat kid being sure to stay quiet and out of the way.*
- Take slides of a goat kidding and prepare your own presentation.
* Activity is usually suitable for Cloverbuds with parental consent or company
Written by Dr. E.A.B. Oltenacu, revised by Dr. tatiana Stanton