The term infertilility can refer to a number of situations and we need to be careful to specify just what we are talking about. These include:
Failure to conceiveRemember than proper nutrition goes a long way in helping the doe begin a healthy pregnancy. Another problem can be that the owner simply fails to observe the heat. Sometimes the doe has to be watched very carefully, especially if she is not near a buck. The heat may last only a few hours while others have heats that can last for a full day or two. In short, there is a vast difference in how does go about having their heats and even the same doe may exhibit heats of different lengths. So if someone tells you that this or that must happen when a doe is in heat, you can be assured that they have not been around a lot of goats.
Aberrations of the estrus cycle, including dysfunction of the ovaries, hypothalamus or pituitary gland
Prenatal death (including abortion), which may be undetected
Perinatal death, which means death at less than one week of age
This confusing term means that the doe ovulates normally and does all the functional things perfectly right, but just doesn’t make a psychological display of what is going on. She can become pregnant if bred at this time. [We will have to confess to restraining does in order to enable a breeding even though they do not show overt signs of heat; they may or may not be cooperative in these endeavors.]Infectious diseases
Abortion-causing diseases can make it look like the doe hasn’t bred.Ovarian problems
Inflammation of the cervix; must be treated with product such as Nolvasan ®.
Inflammation of the vagina: yellow nodules inside lips of the vulva. Paint daily with iodine swab.
Signs may include: lethargy, anorexia, frequent urination, excessive thirst.
Ovarian cysts are quite common in goats. They seem more common in "middle-aged" or older does. The doe with ovarian cyst(s) may exhibit "nymphomania," meaning that it seems she is in heat all the time. Or there can just be frequent heats or heats with irregular distances between them, or even masculine behavior. Generally, she will look pretty healthy. This condition can sometimes be treated with hormone injections, which are only available through your veterinarian. Treatment is not always successful. In cattle, the cysts can be manually ruptured, but this may be a whole lot more difficult in goats.Anestrus or irregular cycles
She may have non-functioning ovaries, which will be small. This can be due to low energy feed intake, stress or illness.
Ovarian difficulties can also take the form of too much or too little hormone production which can lead to disturbed cycles, hair loss or constant heat and even reduced growth.
There are also a few cases where the doe will cycle every 42 days, which may indicate problems with one of the ovaries.
Any of these situations usually indicate that you need to discuss the matter with your vet.
From injuries, endocrine problems or from some disease. In goats, Vitamin E and Vitamin A may help.Death of fetus
This is possibly the most common cause of infertility. Death occurs 10 or more days after conception, with a mummified fetus and "pyometra" (pus coming from uterus). It may persist for a year or more. The doe will usually expel the fetus. . .eventually.Retained afterbirth
Can lead to infertility.Feeding
Don’t feed heavily right after mating. Avoid feed high in estrogen (e. g. alfalfa).The Buck
The male may be too young or too old, or have other problems.Obesity
Any overweight animal may have trouble conceiving.