Average days of gestation for a goat is 150 days (5 months).
Below is the information I've collected on my goats, that I've observed during their pregnancy and deliveries.
The last couple of years I have been trying to keep track of the progress of my goats during their pregnancy. The following is what I have found:
9-12 wks - About this time if you put your hand under their belly on the right side (head on your right and rear on your left) just in front of their udder (or where their udder will be ) you should start to be able to feel the kids moving around inside her. You may not feel them every time you try, but within a few weeks you'll feel them moving most of the time. (It feels the same as the movement of a human baby when you put your hand on its mother's belly.)
13-14 wks - Around this time the vulva will start to get bigger and longer and the skin around this area will become smoother.
15 wks - If this is a first kidding you may see the udder beginning to develop. (In other words, you don't just have two teats attached to the belly but can now start to feel an udder starting to grow.) Now, to show you that every goat is different, I've had one doe who waited until the 18th week and another that started around 12 weeks!
I've just put up a page of pictures of a doe 15 1/2 weeks pregnant and a first timer Check it out here.
18-20 wks - Somewhere in this time frame the udder will start to fill out some, but usually won't get tight until it's close to kidding time.
Some time towards the end of pregnancy (anywhere from a month to a few weeks before) the tailbone will start to rise above the rump and will be more pronounced as they get closer to their kidding date.
The udder also starts filling out a week or two before kidding and then fills up with milk the day before kidding.
12-24 hrs before kidding - The ligaments between the tailbone and rump will disappear. This is a cord-like ligament that starts about halfway up the tailbone and goes down at a 45 degree angle to the tail. This ligament is very tight and easy to find up until a couple days before kidding. About 36-24 hours before kidding it will become a little harder to find and once you can't locate it, or is very slight, kidding will usually happen within 12 hours. This has been a pretty good indicator for me and I haven't missed a delivery. There have been times that I thought the ligaments were gone, but when they truly disappear it's unmistakable!!!
Hours before kidding - Keep in mind that all kiddings are different. I'll try to describe some of the happenings that I can remember from my goats just before they kidded.
* A cloudy brown discharge (kind of the color of the placenta, if you have seen a placenta)
* Some goats will start to get very affectionate towards you (very licky)
* Will do a lot of pawing the ground (making their bed) and getting up and down
* Once pushing urges start, things are real close and she may have them within the hour
If you have the book "Dairy Goats for Pleasure and Profit" by Harvey Considine; it has some good illustrations of signs that a goat can give just before she kids. It even has a good illustration of what I'm trying to describe about the tailbone rising and not feeling ligaments 12-24 hours before kidding.
I've put up a page of pictures of a doe 5 days before she kidded and again hours before she kidded. Hope it helps! Check it out here.
When my does kid I do separate them with a panel in a corner of the barn for a day or two so that the doe & kids can bond, if I'm keeping them together. Plus it keeps the other goats away during delivery and out of my way, but it's NOT necessary. ;-) Do what works best for you. I do know that goats don't like being separated from their buddies, so that's why I usually only separate with a panel, so they can still see each other. I always like to be there for the delivery just in case they need help, but many does can do just fine without you.
Here's what I usually have and do at kidding time:
Old towels, hand towels, and/or washcloths for cleaning off the kids
Raisin for the doe after she kids
Ivy and/or Raspberry leaves for the doe when she starts laboring (helps with the delivery)
Molasses to add to warm water for the doe after she kids
7% Iodine for dipping the kids umbilical cords and hooves after they are born (help dry them up to protect the new kids from infection)
Warm soapy water in case you need to assist the delivery of the kids
Then just make sure they are fed or nurse soon after delivery and are getting plenty to eat
When the doe is done I take away the placenta and clean out all the wet bedding.
If the kids are going to nurse off their dams you might pen them in a smaller area for a day or to help the mother and kids bond and make sure the kids are nursing well. Then you should be able to turn them back in with the herd and the dam should protect her kids from any nosy goats. ;-)
As far as helping with delivery. Some need help and others do just fine. I always try to be there for the delivery just in case help is needed.
Then just sit back and enjoy your new kids!!
You can make a small box for the kids to crawl into to help keep them warm. My kid box is about 2' x 2.5' x 18" or so with just sides and a top (bottom is open) with an opening on one end just big enough for the kids to go though. It needs to be small and sturdy enough so that when the big goats get on top (and they will!) it won't brake and smother the kids inside.
Once the kids are dried off and well fed they do pretty good keeping warm. ;-)