How long is a Cow Pregnant?
The gestation period of a cow as you’d expect is way longer than those of other animals perhaps because of its huge and complex size. And that’s why today, we going to have a look at its gestation period, and answer every other question that bothers on the gestation of these huge looking cattle.
GESTATION PERIOD OF COW
The first question most people ask is in knowing how long a cow’s pregnancy lasts? Actually, the gestation period in cow does vary depending on the breed and sex of the calf. That’s why the gestation length often ranges from 279 to 287 days. For most breeds, 283 days is often a common length, and cows with bull calves tend to have a slightly longer gestation period compared to those with heifer calves.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE A COW TO GET PREGNANT AGAIN?
After a cow must have given birth, getting pregnant again depends on a number of certain factors which include:
- Its body condition during calving
- Age of dam
- If the cow experienced any calving complexity during the calving process
- If the cow’s diet is still enough even after calving and during lactation. If the diet isn’t enough, it will affect the cow’s weight and cause a loss in the body system which will delay any further pregnancy.
Other Factors That Could Affect Gestation Length
- Cows that calve in a body condition of less than 4 (scale 1 to 9) have a longer post-partum interval, which will succinctly cause a delay in any further pregnancy.
- Also, first-calf cows have a longer post-partum interval than the matured cows, that’s why it’s hard for first-calf cows to give birth repeatedly in a short period of time.
Generally, cows that experience calving difficulty, and also those that lose weight and body condition after calving have longer post-partum intervals (delay in subsequent childbirth). And this postpartum interval, under a normal condition for beef cows, often ranges between 50 and 60 days, with 55 days being the most common number of days. For the First-calves cow, however, they usually have an additional 10days added to the 60days before they could pregnant again.
WHAT TO FEED PREGNANT COWS
Generally, the best food for pregnant heifers forage. However, there has to be some caution when feeding a cow with forages. Don’t feed your cows or even the pregnant ones with forages that contain high nitrites. Instead, mix high nitrites forage with a little to no nitrites forage together and grind them for your cows, the pregnant ones most especially to eat. You need to heed to this caution because feeding cows with forages that contain high nitrites alone can be detrimental to their reproductive system in the long run.
PREGNANT COWS VACCINATION
Most often, people ask if pregnant heifers can be vaccinated for BVD or if the vaccine should be administered only before the cows start breeding? Now, here is what you need to know. Yes, pregnant heifers can be vaccinated against BVDV (bovine viral diarrhea virus) only through the use of KV (killed-virus) vaccines, while they are pregnant and still breeding.
However, if the cow isn’t pregnant yet, rather than administer the KV, the MLV (Modified-live virus) vaccines should be given to the cow. And the perfect time to do that is between 30-60 days before they start breeding. Some BVDV MLV products can be safely given to pregnant heifers if they had received the vaccines before they started breeding.
And even though some cattle producers, because of the convenience it offers, prefer to vaccinate their cows during fall work; when using BVDV, it is rather ideal to vaccinate them before they start breeding, so that the cows will have the best form of protection during their early stage of pregnancy.
HOW TO PREVENT OVER IMPREGNATION OF COWS IN YOUR HERD
It is a very common problem for herdsmen or people who own a lot of cows, to find multiple pregnant heifers amongst the herd. If this is a problem you’re currently facing, here are some ways you can actually minimize this predicament.
- Separation: If you’re having so many pregnant heifers, you have to first determine what ages these pregnant heifers fall into. If they are young heifers, who are often trying to get pregnant by the old male ones, try separating them from the male ones. Allowing them to move and graze together all the time will eventually lead to lots of pregnancy in the herd.
- The bull to heifer ratio: You need to ensure that your bull to heifer ration is at about 2:18, let’s say you had 20 cattle. This is because a higher ration of bulls to the heifer, will surely get most of them pregnant.
- Breeding length: Avoid breeding your cows for less than 60 to 65 days because, a shorter breeding season particularly during drought conditions, could cause more of the heifers to be pregnant.
- Vaccination program: Ensure that your vet regularly vaccinates your cows of reproductive diseases, so as to curb the occurrence of multiple pregnant heifers.
- Strange bulls: You need to always be on the look for strange bulls on your pasture. This is because bulls that are not yours, could easily impregnate your heifers when they graze together. So, make sure no intruding bull is ever-grazing in your pasture.
In a nutshell, the gestation period of a cow often varies depending on the breed and sex, between 279 to 287 days. However, you should always avoid feeding your cattle with forages that have high nitrates, rather, always dilute them with forages that have little to no nitrites.
Gestation Table for Farm Animals
|Farm Animals||Days of Gestation||Lifespan - Years|
And lastly, if you want to prevent multiple pregnancies amongst your heifers, endeavor to always separate them from the bulls, the ratio of the bulls to the heifers should be in favor of the heifers, get them vaccinated against reproductive diseases, shorten the breeding length, and lastly, prevent any intruding bull from coming into the midst of your herd. Follow these rules, and you’re sure going to have a great time grazing your cows. Cheers!