Keeping Your Goat Herd Healthy


There is a lot of things to learn about breeding. First you must decide which will be the right mate for your doe. You will need to be able to recognize signs of heat. You will have to decide the appropritate breeding age of your does for your program. You will need a breeding style (such as line breeding,outcrossing or inbreeding). Many breeders will use a combination. We hope we can make this all some what easier to understand.

Signs of heat/rut

Does: They will wag their tails. They will often become very vocal. They will mount their herd mates or allow themselves to be mounted. They may be lovable to another herd mate. They may show some swelling in the vuvula area or signs of pink or reddness.She may even exhibit some discharge. All this is normal.

Buck: They will blabber,paw,mount their herd mates and urinate in their beards on their face and front legs. They can smell really bad during this time of the year..

Types of Breeding Styles

Inbreeding:Breeding 2 animals that are directly related, such as mother, father, or full siblings.

Line breeding:Breeding 2 animals with a relationship in their  pedigree for a low level of selective inbreeding.

Outcrossing: Breeding 2 animals of the same breed bu with no common ancestors for the past 4-6 generations.

NEVER CROSS BREED: one breed to another.

Age of Breeding

Every breeder thinks differently on this subject.

Does need to reach maturity prior to breeding. The Fainting goat breed is a slow maturing breed. I don't breed before 18 months of age on a regular size doe.

Bucklings can breed as early as 8 weeks old. They should be weaned and removed from the moms and other girls. I prefer a buck to be around 9 months old before I breed him. Many breeders will breed much sooner.

Buck Housing

It is best not to "run" or keep your bucks with your does year round. You will have no control over who is breed or when they will kid.It is possible to run one or more bucks together as long as no does are with them. To avoid inbreeding you will need more than one buck.

Breeding Pen

A breeding pen is handy when it is time to breed. A breeding pen is just a small area that has shelter. The  doe and buck may be housed for a short time or maybe as long as a month. Depends on her heat cycle. If you know she is in heat than she will not need to be with him long. Otherwise you will want to leave her with him for as lest a full cycle to make sure she is covered.

Gestation Chart

Prenatal Care

The first few months will be pretty normal as far as your feeding is concerned. Give plenty of hay, free choice minerals and fresh clean water as well as her regular amount of grain. Increase mom's amount of feed during the last part of gestation.

Be careful not to overfeed at this point. Overfeeding can cause her to prolaspe or have a difficult kidding. It can also lead to milk fever.

Under feeding is bad too. It may cause low milk production, low birth weights, and poor kid survial rates.

During the last month I reduce the amount of Calcium she receives by giving less alfalfa. I worm mom about 1 month prior to kidding. I trim her feet several months prior to kidding. Give her a clean area where she can deliver and be alone withher kids to bond.  


Birthing is a rewarding experience but sometimes it can also be frightening too. The doe will often take breaks between kids making it difficult to know if she is finished. Bouncing is a way to tell if your doe is finished.

Some people actually use the bouncing technique as a way to tell if the doe is breed.

Bouncing is simple but will take some practice. You can practice on your open does to see what they feel like. This will give you something to compare to when the actual kidding occurs.


  1. First stand behind the doe and face her head.
  2. Give her a hug by wrapping your arms around her belly just in front of her udders.
  3. Slightly push upward in to her belly.
  4. Feel for the contents of the uterus. If she is finished giving birth, her stomach will feel soft when you “bounce” her a few times.
  5. If there is another kid inside you should feel a hard/boney lump moving around. You will feel a bump!

Kidding Time

Below you will find some awesome drawings by Gryphon Tor. They are great illustrtions of a normal birth, a breech birth and a birth with head in the back position. These drawings are from a very talented individual. Enjoy.























Kidding Complications

Cloudburst Pregnancy is a false pregnancy. Everything seems like a normal pregnancy except there is no kid. At the time of delivery a cloudburst of liquid comes out instead of a kid. A common cause is the chemical alteration of estrus through artificial induction into heat of does by producers who use gonadorophin-releasing hormones.

Congested Udder occurs after delivery. Not the same thing as mastitis. Can be treated by applying hot compresses to the udder. This will soften the udder and allow the milk to fill.

Hypocalcemia: Also called "milk fever," hypocalcemia is an imbalance of calcium occuring just prior to kidding. The first symptom may be seen as the doe is  dragging her rear legs. She may be off her feed. She may appear to star gaze. This nutritionally based illness involves hormonal changes that occur in the mobilization of calcium when the doe begins to produce milk. Calcium-rich feeds/hays need to be cut back during the last 30 days of gestation to prevent excess calcium from being deposited in her bones. The dam's body needs to be releasing calcium already stored in her bones for use in milk production. Oral administration of CMPK can be given. Molasses water can given also. Molasses contains the much needed calcium and goats prefer the taste to a calcium drench.


Mastitis: An infection of the udder caused by a bacteria. The milk, if any, is stringy, bloody, and unuseable. The udder will be warm to touch and mom may not allow babies to nurse. Infusions of Today, and Tomorrow are normally given. Sometimes antibotics are given too.  Cleanliness of proper milking techniques can help avoid mastitis. Cai-Pan Peppermint Oil Cream applied externally to the udder can provide relief from discomfort to the doe. In some does mastitis may return with the next kidding.

Prolapses. Prolapses of the vagina or the rectum can occur in a doe heavy with kids. Often times it does not create any problems. At other times it made need to be manually manipulated back into place. Once a doe prolapses it is common for her to do it again next kidding.

Retained Placenta: The afterbirth should be expelled by the doe's body within 12 to 24 hours after kidding. Retained placenta can be caused by abortion diseases such as toxoplasmosis or chlamydiosis or can be the result of selenium deficiency in the doe's diet. Tall fescue grass or hay can also be the cause. Give oxytocin if the placenta has not passed within the normal time frame. Do not pull the placental tissue out, even if it is dragging behind the doe; doing this can kill her.

Ringwomb: Incomplete dilation of the cervix. Manual manipulation of the cervical opening should be done by an experienced person or your vet. 

Vaginal Discharges: Red, brown, or very foul-smelling discharges are not normal and may indicate early termination of pregnancy. Several things can cause abotions. Diseases, toxicity, injury, and many of things.The usual drug of choice is oxytetracycline 200 mg/ml (LA 200 or generic equivalent).


Care Of Mom And Kids Afterwards

I always offer my moms some warm molasses water after they kid. Most really enjoy it. Moms should also be wormed soon after kidding.The diet needs to be adjusted to allow for her extra nutritional needs. She must be able to supply the baby or babies with plenty of milk.

Drying Off A Doe

The best way to dry a doe is to cut her grain back. Each Doe is different. Some will dry off slower than others.