By Kathy Barger-Harbert, posted to the ColoredAngora yahoo list.
Here are some signs of imminent labor from my experience. Feel free to add to the list/ photos are worth a thousand words... lets put photos with these signs and then we can put it in our files section .
Signs of Imminent Labor
1. laying around more than usual, grunting noted with each breath: this can go on for weeks if your doe is stuffed full of babies. When I was new at this I was terrified that it was actual labor, but it is not... but it does mean that the babies are growing enough to make the mama a bit uncomfortable. It won't be long!
2. Passing the Mucous Plug : you may miss this entirely, but might notice it in a few if you watch carefully each day. You will notice a small plug of white to tannish mucous being passed from the vaginal opening. This is the secretion that covers and seals the cervix during gestation. As the cervix begins to dilate in the day or so before delivery, the plug will fall away and be passed out of the body with urination. If you see this , you will know that you will probably have delivery within 1-3 days. I have had one doe that held out for a week... but that was an exception.
3. Loosening of Ligaments: This is noticed during the later part of gestation. You will notice your goat's tail has a pump handle appearance, rather than straight up and down, during the last half of gestation. Closer to term, the goats back end will lack tone and appear floppier.
4. Bagging Up: Even early in gestation, the experienced goat breeder can feel a certain "puffiness" in the udder that indicates a bred goat. As gestation progresses, the puffiness will become more pronounced, but the udder rarely fills up tight until the week before delivery. There are exceptions to this of course... some goats will be bagged up for weeks before they kid and some do not bag up until AFTER delivery. MOST of the time, it happens in the 36 hours before delivery.
5. Calling: A mother-soon-to-be will sometimes call for her yet unborn kids. She makes certain mommy sounds that she makes at no other time of the year. Listen to any doe talking to her newborn and file that sound away in your brain. Once you have heard it, you will remember it. If you hear it in a goat that has not yet had her kid, plan on a delivery soon.
6. The need for solitude: If you see a goat keeping off to itself in an unusual fashion... watch it closely over the next few hours. Goats are normally very sociable, but as they approach delivery they want some space. If they are dominant goats in the herd they may even throw all the other goats out of the choice spot in the barn. If they are at the low end of the totem pole, they may go to the furthest corner of the pasture. The key here is observation. Always watch for unusual behavior.
7. Making a nest: Pawing the ground and repeatedly getting up and laying down are signs of imminent delivery. Get all your supplies ready, and watch from a distance. It is usually best not to interfere unless this process seems to go on for more than an hour or so. Young mothers will usually take longer to deliver than older mothers.