How to Tell if Your Goat Is in Heat

Goat Crying Diagnosis Case Study: Pasqualina

A moment of quiet

A moment of quiet

A few weeks ago, I noticed that Pasqualina wasn’t excited to get new hay (very odd), watched me intently as I moved around the garden, and would cry out whenever I was out of sight. All very odd behaviors for her. Normally fresh hay in the morning means “Whatever, maaaaa, see you later” and she buries her head in there. She’s also generally a quiet goat.

But because of the crying and not really eating her hay, I looked for signs of bloat. Her sides looked fine, but I massaged her neck just in case there was something caught in there. She burped and it gurgled (totally normal goat reactions). She was also taking pieces of a banana like nobody’s business, so she did seem to have an appetite — just not for hay. I had opened a new bale that morning, so I thought maybe she just didn’t like the hay for some reason, but Pinta didn’t seem to care and was still eating like normal.

So I was pretty sure it wasn’t bloat at this point because, well, she didn’t look bloated and didn’t really have any symptoms other than crying. But then I remembered something — the goats across the valley seem to be crying lately too. Hmm….

I mentioned something to P, and he clinched it for me. It seems our little Pasqualina was trying to hump her daughter a few days before that, and that, my friends, convinced me that she was in heat. Once I really looked, I did note she was a little swollen in the rear and was flicking her tail more than usual — and both of those also point to a doe being in heat.

So there you have it. If you have a doe that’s eight months old or older and it’s, say, October to January and you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, your crying goat just may be looking for a little love.

I’m happy to report the crying, general restlessness, and turning up nose at hay subsided after a few days — and so did the crying across the valley, no coincidence, I’m sure.

Back on hay!

Back on hay!

What other signs of does in heat have you noticed?

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12 Responses to “How to Tell if Your Goat Is in Heat”
  1. 01.29.2011

    My girls are such hussies when they are in heat. They go hang out by the boys’ pen or stand in the door and yell at the boys. I must say, there are times when they have discharge also.

    Thanks for the additional info, Teresa! Make sense.

    [Reply]

  2. Mystee
    08.03.2012

    Ok my goat sandy-is normally nice but theses past few days she’s been bucking me n others!!! What’s wrong w/her? Could she be in heat?

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    Sure could be, Mystee…is she still eating normally and otherwise acting like herself? As Teresa mentioned above, sometimes there is discharge as well….

    [Reply]

    Tara Reply:

    Thank you for this post in your blog!! We have only had our goats since Christmas, so I am a newbie! My goat has been crying since yesterday when I left her after milking! She only subsides (although not completely stopping) when I go out there! And she has been a little more “irritated” with the baby goat than usual (it’s not hers). It was exactly like you were saying, I thought it was bloat, but not really any symptoms other than the crying! Thank you for your help!

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    Glad to have been of some help, Tara — hope your girls are all just, erm, happy ;)

    [Reply]

  3. natalie
    11.13.2012

    I love that pic of Pasqualina eating the hay :)

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    Unlike most of us, she actually seems to love getting her photo taken while she’s eating :P

    [Reply]

  4. This post popped up, and made everything crystal clear,
    when we Googled: “goats crying a lot.”
    Thank you!!

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    As I wrote to Tara above, Natalie…glad to be of help, and I hope your girls continue to have no other “symptoms” of anything else other than going into heat :)

    [Reply]

  5. Ray C
    11.06.2013

    I have a very good looking and healthy stud goat, and would like to get babies from the 3 nannies by him, They are not related so the bloodline should be clean , They play together all the time should I separate them ?

    [Reply]

  6. michelle
    11.16.2013

    Hi Ray, if you do want them to breed, I don’t see why you should separate. Of course, once it gets closer to delivery time, you will probably want to have your future moms separate as they will feel more comfortable giving birth with some more privacy :)

    [Reply]

  7. 07.11.2014

    My boer buck has as many does as he wants but he doesn’t seem to breed because he has only bred the same one for two years in a row

    [Reply]


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