The present study was carried out to investigate the effects of different activation methods and culture media on the in vitro development of parthenogenetic goat blastocysts. Calcium (Ca2+) ionophore, ethanol or a combination of the two, used as activating reagents, and embryo development medium (EDM), modified Charles Rosenkrans (mCR2a) medium and research vitro cleave (RVCL) medium were used to evaluate the developmental competence of goat blastocysts. Quantitative expression of apoptosis, stress and developmental competence-related genes were analysed in different stages of embryos. In RVCL medium, the cleavage rate of Ca2+ ionophore-treated oocytes (79.61 ± 0.86) was significantly (P < 0.05) higher than in ethanol (74.90 ± 1.51) or in the combination of both Ca2+ ionophore and ethanol. In mCR2a or EDM, hatched blastocyst production rate of Ca2+ ionophore-treated oocytes (8.33 ± 1.44) was significantly higher than in ethanol (6.46 ± 0.11) or in the combined treatment (6.70 ± 0.24). In ethanol, the cleavage, blastocyst and hatched blastocyst production rates in RVCL medium (74.90 ± 1.51, 18.30 ± 1.52 and 8.24 ± 0.15, respectively) were significantly higher than in EDM (67.81 ± 3.21, 14.59 ± 0.27 and 5.59 ± 0.42) or mCR2a medium (65.09 ± 1.57, 15.36 ± 0.52 and 6.46 ± 0.11). The expression of BAX, Oct-4 and GlUT1 transcripts increased gradually from 2-cell stage to blastocyst-stage embryos, whereas the transcript levels of Bcl-2 and MnSOD were significantly lower in blastocysts. In addition, different activation methods and culture media had little effect on the pattern of variation and relative abundance of the above genes in different stages of parthenogenetic activated goat embryos. In conclusion, Ca2+ ionophore as the activating agent, and RVCL as the culture medium are better than other tested options for development of parthenogenetic activated goat blastocysts.