Cows need to be pregnant and give birth in order to give milk, and cows can become pregnant as early as two years old. Here's everything you need to know about the gestation of pregnant cows.
Like humans, cows need to be pregnant and give birth before they are able to give milk -- Yes folks, that means you will need a pregnant cow before you will see any milk production at your farm! Hence, it's quite important to know everything about the gestation period of your cow or heifer. (Definition: a female cow before she has a calf of her own, who's under three-years of age) And if you are a ranching newbie, this might be a calving question you have.
It's important to note that the gestation length of your cow depends on whether they are carrying bull calves or heifer calves and whether your pregnant cow is a first-time mama or a mature cow.
So, How Long is a Cow Pregnant For?
While the gestation period of pregnant cows varies by age of dam, breed, and sex of the calf, the average pregnancy length of a cow ranges from 279 to 287 days, with 283 days common for most cow breeds, like beef cows and dairy cows.
That means, just as the same as humans, cows are pregnant for around nine months!
Also, pregnant cows carrying bull calves tend to have slightly longer gestation periods as opposed to a shorter gestation period for cows carrying heifer calves; first calf heifers also tend to have a shorter gestation than older cows.
With beef cattle, whether you have a breeding season that takes place all year or in a short calving season, you would want to be aware of when your cow can get pregnant again. This depends on a number of things:
• The body condition at and post-calving.
• The age of dam and her animal health.
• If there was any calving difficulty during the calving process.
These factors can lead to a longer post-partum interval between pregnancies in your cow.
Have you had a pregnant cow before (or do you have one right now)? Share with us at our Wide Open Pets Facebook!