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Cattle For Those Who Like To Have A Cow.

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Old 09/08/11, 05:25 PM
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Brooksville,Florida
Posts: 55
Gestation period for cows?

What is the gestation period for heifers and should I separate a heifer when the time comes near? Also one heifer aborted after 3 months but after that she came into heat. They are with a bull 24/7. I have not seen any signs of heat since then. Could she be pregnant? I has been 3 months since she aborted.
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Old 09/08/11, 07:14 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Location: VA
Posts: 1,961
Here's a link to a gestational chart: For most breeds, it's 283 days, but a cow can calve as much as 2 weeks before or after her due date and still be in the "normal" range.

If your heifer is in a large pasture, I would say yes, bring her into a smaller, secure enclosure where you can easily keep an eye on her. It sure beats wandering around a 10-acre pasture in the dark looking for a cow in labor. Make sure she has shelter, water, and hay.

When I turn the bull in with cows or heifers, I watch for activity and mark it on the calendar. Then I make a note about 19-20 days from that date so that I can watch the cow/heifer for any signs of heat; this is not a sure thing, but helpful.

If the bull is with cows year-round, you may have cows calving at all times of the year -- deep winter, hot summer, etc. In your location, I would think you'd want your cows to calve in the winter. Summer calving is VERY stressful; people lose cows and calves due to the heat. Cold weather calving is easier on cows and calves than hot weather. Also, weaning several calves together is easier on everyone than weaning one at a time throughout the year.

The heifer that aborted could be pregnant or may not be pregnant. Your vet can do a pregnancy check or draw blood for Biopryn testing and then you'd know for sure.
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Old 09/08/11, 10:05 PM
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Brooksville,Florida
Posts: 55
Thank you so much for the information. I only have 2 heifers and one bull for now. I have purchased 2 more calves this month but, have to keep them separate until they are old enough to put with the bull. Both heifers were breed close together but, now one is 3 months apart if she is breed. Wouldn't she show signs of heat since then? It has been since May that she aborted.
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Old 09/08/11, 10:35 PM
Chixarecute's Avatar  
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Wisconsin by the UP, eh!
Posts: 3,008
If she was cycling normally & was not pregnant, she would have shown signs of heat. It is possible for cows to not be pregnant and to not cycle normally. There are also "silent" heats.

If you keep the heifers in a smaller paddock closer to calving, you can monitor their labor/progress and intervene easier if necessary. You'll also be able to better determine if the calf has nursed & gotten colostrum. Some heifers are clueless about licking off the calf, allowing it to nurse. Not many, but some.
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