Whether you’re looking to breed goats yourself or if you’re just curious about goats, it’s always worthwhile to know how many babies a goat can have. Indeed, as humans, we almost always have one or, in uncommon cases, two babies at a time; however, a nanny or doe can actually have multiple babies at once. With this thought in mind, today, we’re looking at how many babies goats have at a time. Plus, we’ll look quickly at what this might mean for their overall health.
How Many Babies do Goats Have, Anyway?
In most cases, a goat will have one or two kids at a time. However, it is possible for goats to have larger litters, too; triplets are relatively common in goats, especially in larger breeds or where the goats have been well-fed before breeding.
Quads, quintuplets, and sextuplets are all also possible, but these are much less common for a goat to have naturally. That’s not to say it’s impossible, though; we have had one set of natural quads in our herd (although I’m much happier with twins and triplets).
It’s important to consider here, however, that many factors influence the number of kids your nanny goat or doe may have. And, at the end of the day, a lot of it is also still down to luck – a skinny doe can still (rarely) conceive quads, while a nanny from prolific bloodlines in perfect condition and the prime of her life can still pop out a single kid!
How is the Number of Kids Produced by Female Goats Different Between Breeds?
Generally speaking, it’s accepted that the number of kids that a doe or nanny will produce isn’t heavily influenced by her genetics, and other factors play a much more significant role in this regard. However, it’s worth considering that the average number of kids produced by female goats of different breeds differs slightly.
For example, many smaller breeds are much more prolific. As such, they will often average twins or triplets. This often includes pygmies and Nigerian dwarves. Larger breeds, such as Nubians and Saanens, may be more likely to have singles or twins. Cashmere-type goats are often lower on the scale, most commonly having twins but also having singles relatively often. Meanwhile, meat goat breeds such as Boers, Savannahs, and Kikos will often pop out an average of around two kids.
Other Factors Increasing the Number of Kids Born to a Doe
In addition to these points, it’s highly important to consider that many other factors influence a doe or nanny’s fertility. The most notable of these is her nutrition and body condition status. After all, a female goat who is unhealthy and struggling to maintain her own condition will find it even harder to rear numerous kids successfully.
Her body naturally knows this; as such, a doe who is in poor condition will be much less fertile. She may struggle to get in kid in the first place, and if she does get in kid, there’s a much higher chance that she will have a single or (maybe) twins.
What Happens if Your Goat Produces More than the Average Number of Kids?
Many new goat producers can panic if they find out that their goat is expecting, or has had, more than the average number of kids (twins). However, if this is something you’ve faced – as a breeder, you’ll likely experience this at some point in time – it’s not a cause to panic.
The most important first question to ask here is: can my nanny goat or doe feed her kids successfully? Feeding kids and lactating can really take it out of a doe, unsurprisingly. As such, many does may struggle to meet the demands of three kids or more; however, a well-fed doe or a dairy goat may be much more capable of meeting these demands.
So, what does this mean? Well, if your goat is likely going to struggle to feed her kids, you may want to consider bottle-feeding one or several of the kids instead. It’s also worth considering here that many goat kids may get bullied off the teats if the dam doesn’t have enough teats for one per kid; in this case, you may need to hold the dam to let the kid feed separately from the others.
Alternatively, if you’ve been having issues with ensuring your goat kids are getting enough milk, a simple alternative is just to bottle-feed one of the kids. However, converting a dam-fed kid onto a bottle can become difficult, so raising a bottle kid is usually easiest from day one.
It’s often not clear to understand how many babies a goat will have at a time. Of course, there isn’t a simple answer to this since a goat can have a massive variety in terms of the number of kids they produce in a single litter.
However, answering “how many babies does a goat have at a time” is possible with a little creative thinking. And, in most cases, a goat will have either one (a single) or two (twin) kids at a time. But don’t forget: triplets, quads, and so on are also possible – the most we’ve ever had in our own herd is quads, but quints and even sextuplets are possible.