So, I've been researching pregnancy testing for goats. The only ways to positively confirm a goat pregnancy are either with a laboratory test or an ultrasound. If the doe doesn't go into heat again, there's a good chance she's pregnant, but I've seen Surprise flirt and tease the bucks when a later delivery date showed she was already pregnant. The signs and symptoms visible to the goat keeper (increased girth size and abdominal movement) are not accurate because a full, active rumen will cause the same things.
One way is to have a blood test done by a veterinarian. We had one done about 2.5 years ago for $25. In addition, there are labs out there which will do the testing for less if you provide the vials of blood. That means you either have to draw the blood yourself or have someone do it for you. Here are a few options for those wishing to go that route, along with links and other relevant information.
Labs which perform blood tests:
- BioPRYN by BioTracking ($6.50 plus blood tubes. For an additional fee can have the same sample tested for CAE.)
- DG29 Complete Test Kits by Genex (6 kits for $32)
Labs which test blood serum or milk:
- Progesterone Testing by Rocky Mountain Instrumental Labs ($20)
Home test kit for progesterone (blood or milk):
- BOVIPREG by TwilCanada Inc. (10 kits for $50 plus shipping)
How to draw blood on a goat:
- Simple picture tutorial at Goat Connection
- Detailed tutorial with pictures at The Adventures of Noodleville
Ultrasound machines usually run around $4500, plus require training to learn. One that is often mentioned by goat owners is Preg-Tone. It costs about $475 and some say it gives accurate results.
Over at The Goat Spot Forum, I found a discussion about goat pregnancy tests and several "folk" tests for which there were varying opinions about accuracy.
Bleach Test. Add 2cc of urine to 1 cup of bleach (WARNING: do not add bleach to urine). Bubbling or fizzing will occur as a reaction to the pH differences in the two liquids. Results are positive if the solution continues to foam, negative if it stops after about a minute. This is said to be 95-97% accurate, but would obviously require several trial attempts to learn about the foaming.
Dandelion Test. Place half a dozen dandelion leaves on a sheet of newspaper. Pour urine over leaves and wait 10 minutes. Results are said to be positive if the leaves form reddish blisters, negative if they don't.
Pine Sol Test. This one seems to be the most vague in terms of specific amounts and time. Add a bit of urine to a small jar filled with Pine Sol. A color change may indicate a possible positive result.
One thing that won't work is a human home pregnancy test kit. This is because it measures human chorionic gonadotropin, which goats obviously don't produce.
As you can see, there are quite a few choices available. I purchased red top blood tubes last year but never used them. I may give it a try this year on Surprise. I may try the folk tests on her too. I'll let you know what happens.
All of this and more is available in my The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos eBook How To Make a Buck Rag: and other good things to know about breeding your goats.