How to Find Out if Your Goat is Pregnant
So you bred your goats, and now you’re wondering who is pregnant? There are a few methods for determining pregnancy in goats, and we’ve tried all of them here. In this post you’ll find a breakdown of the pros and cons of blood tests, ultrasounds, urine tests, and even the old wait and see method!
The biggest positive of a blood test is that it is less expensive than an ultrasound. If you’re comfortable, you can take blood yourself and then send it in to a lab to be analyzed. If you have your vet out to draw blood it becomes comparable to ultrasound costs, but is usually still less.
Blood tests should be done around 50 days after breeding. Many tests say they can be used as soon as a month after the doe is with the buck, but if you want the best accuracy, wait 40-50 days.
Blood tests will give you a simple yes or no, your goat is pregnant or not.
There is no urine test that is officially for goats — although some are advertised as such. These tests are easy to do at home and much, much cheaper than ultrasounds or blood tests. Like a human pregnancy test, the urine test measures hormones in the pee — but when it comes to goats, it seems like we can’t get the test quite right. Urine tests “for goats” very wildly, turning up negative results on pregnant does, positives on obviously unpregnant wethers, and so on. If you’re 99% sure your goat is pregnant and just want to be sure, a urine test might work. But even then, it may just make you doubt what you thought you knew!
Urine tests shouldn’t be done until at least 50 days after breeding. They will give you a simple yes or no, your goat is pregnant or not.
There’s one huge perk to a vet administered ultrasound. You can see the baby goats on the monitor! This little thrill is almost worth the extra cost. An ultrasound administered by a vet is fairly pricy, ours charges $25 per goat and a vet visit itself is costly. But, especially if you have a good vet, it is extremely accurate. There’s no doubting when you see the kids in the womb!
You may be thinking you can get around the vet visit fee by getting an ultrasound machine yourself. The kind most vets use, with the screen showing what’s going on inside your doe, are $1000-2000 so you’d have to be doing a lot of ultrasounds to be “saving money”. However, there are “Pregtones” on the market which detect hormones and make a noise if your goat is pregnant, and they are $400-800. If you’re doing a lot of breeding, this may actually be less than repeated vet visits. Pregtones also work on essentially all livestock species. However, like urine tests and blood tests, you just learn that your goat is pregnant, no more information.
Ultrasounds should be done between 55-65 days (they can be done sooner, but are most reliable in this timeframe). An ultrasound can’t be sure of how many kids are in there, or exactly when your due date is — but, usually you’ll see if you have more than one and have an idea just how far along your girls are, especially with your vet’s expert eyes on the machine.
Wait and see!
I do not recommend a wholly hands off approach to breeding goats. Just like humans, they need special supplements and attention as their pregnancies progress. And you want to have some idea of when kids are due!
That said, you can have a pretty good idea of what is going on with your girls by paying attention. If she doesn’t go into heat after the buck visits — she’s probably pregnant! And you have to use the buck’s breeding date to calculate her due date either way. The only downside is that the ways goats behave and show if they’re pregnant or not are very diverse. One of our goats who ended up pregnant after ultrasounds I was certain had gone into heat after the buck visited. Another was clearly pregnant with a lovely little baby bump. So the idea of the wait and see method is good, but it can be unreliable.
Whatever method you use to find our if your goats are pregnant, good luck! Kidding season is on the way!