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How Long Are Cows Pregnant?

pregnant cow

If you are new to raising cattle, it’s perfectly natural to have many questions, especially about pregnancy and giving birth, since this is a time when your animals are at a potential health risk. One of the most common questions we get is how long cows are pregnant. The short answer is that cows are pregnant about nine months, just like humans. But keep reading while we take a closer look at the pregnancy term of a cow so you can better understand your herd.

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How Long Is A Cow Pregnant?

Pregnant cow grazing in grass
Image Credit: Muhammad_Taruf, Pixabay

The average time a cow is pregnant can vary slightly, but it’s usually around 9 to 9½ months (38–44 weeks). Whatever the pregnancy term for a specific cow, you can expect it to be the same each time it gets pregnant, so most farmers will write the information in a log to keep track of each animal.

Determining Pregnancy Time

Most farmers will use artificial insemination to help determine how long the pregnancy term is for each cow. This process works well, but it isn’t 100% effective, so to make sure every cow gets pregnant many farmers will seal the cows in a peen with a “Cleanup Bull.” The cows and bull stay together for about two months to double the success chances. Farmers can still tell which process worked and guess at the delivery date because the artificially inseminated cows will be further along.

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Pregnancy Stages

Pregnant cow with a large herd
Image Credit: photosforyou, Pixabay

First Three Months

Unfortunately, most miscarriages occur during the first month, followed closely by the second. Once it reaches the third month, the fetus is about the size of a mouse or a big strawberry. Higher quality nutrition can help make sure the fetus is in the best condition. The cows will also need protection from wind moisture and harsh weather.

Three To Five Months

Farmers can usually feel that the cow is pregnant though the fetus is too far forward to feel. The bull will also show no interest in the pregnant cow.

Five To Seven Months

From five to seven months, farmers usually begin adding additional nutrients to the diet to improve the milk quality that the cow will start producing. Farmers may use a technique called abdominal bumping to feel for the fetus. After about six months, the farmer may be able to use a stethoscope to listen for the fetus’s heartbeat.

Seven to Nine Months

From seven to nine months, the cow fetus experiences most of its growth and will go from being about the size of a cat to being 50 to 100 pounds. Farmers usually stop milking the cow during this time to allow it time to prepare to give birth and feed the calf.

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How Will I Know When My Cow Is in Labor?

  • The cow will become more agitated and stand up and sit down frequently.
  • The cow may become more antisocial than usual, standing away from the others in the herd.
  • The cow will usually have a decreased appetite.
  • The cow’s udders will be full of milk, and it will elevate its tail.

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Summary

Cows are usually pregnant for about nine months, just like humans. The newborn calf is quite large depending on sex, and it can weigh up to 100 pounds. The fetus experiences most of its growth in the final trimester, and the cow will usually show signs of agitation and raises its tail when it’s ready to give birth.

We hope you have enjoyed this short guide and found the answers you needed. If we have helped you understand your cattle better, please share our look into how long cows are pregnant on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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