Cow Gestation will vary by breed, overall health of the cow in question, and the sex of the calf. While each of these factors can make a difference, the average gestation period of the cow is 283 days. Throughout these 9 months of gestation, the cow and calf will go through unique stages.
Stages of Pregnancy
- First 3 months: Miscarriage is at it’s highest rate in this period of pregnancy. Miscarriage rate is high during the first 20 days, but risks drop by day 42.
- 3 to 5 months: At this point in pregnancy, structures indicating pregnancy can be felt. The actual fetus itself is too far forwarded to be palpated.
- 5 to 7 months: The fetus is now the size of a cat. Proper nutrition and extra nutrients are important to start at this time to ensure a healthy calf.
- 7 to 9 months: Feeding requirements continue to increase, since the fetus will do 70% of it’s growing during this period. Farmers will also stop milking cows during this time to prepare for calving.
- Full Term: when a cow is at full term pregnancy, the fetus can weight anywhere from 50-100 pounds depending on breed and sex.
Signs of Labor
- Increase in udder size.
- Springing in the back end, also known as a relaxed vulva.
- Softening of pelvic ligaments. Cows tail end will appear to stick up more than usual.
- Increase of mucous and discharge from vulva.
- Behavior changes such as restlessness and agitation., and possibly pulling away from the herd.
- You may see changes in stool production in the weeks leading up to calving. Farmers have reported loose stool, and some have reported constipation.
- Loss of appetite in the days leading up to labor may occur.
- Cow may show signs of stomach pain. This includes agitation, and possibly booting herself in the abdomen. This happens most in cows who have not calved before.
If you enjoyed this info-graphic, take a look at the Horse Gestation Period on our blog.