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  • Writer's pictureFarmbrite

How long does a cow's pregnancy last?

Updated: May 19, 2023

Cow gestation period (length of pregnancy) last on average is 283 days, however this period does vary based on the breed of the cow and the sex of the calf.

While the average length of a cow pregnancy lasts for 283 days, calving for older and larger cows usually happens 10 days later. Smaller and younger cow's pregnancy may last 10 days less. The typical gestation period for cattle ranges from 279 to 287 days (up to 291 for Brahman cattle).

4 cows on a hill side

Cow Gestation Calculator

The cow gestation calculator is a simple tool to help you find the start of the calving period and the end of the postpartum interval for both first-time and repeat calvers.

How to use the cow gestation calculator?

To use the cow gestation calculator you’ll need to provide:

  • Enter the date your cows were or will be exposed to the bull to estimate the possible fertilization date or if your cows were or will be inseminated using artificially insemination (AI), enter the exact date of insemination.

  • Select whether you cows are first-calvers (the cow’s very first pregnancy) or repeat calvers (she’s an old pro).

The cow gestation calculator will provide you with the estimated calving start date and the end of the postpartum interval period.

To accurately calculate the expected due date for your cows for the cow's pregnancy it is important to keep detailed and accurate records about when your cows may have been exposed to a bull, artificially insemination or had a confirmed pregnancy through an ultrasound. Learn more about keeping livestock records.

How is the cow calving date or due date calculated ?

As we mentioned above, the average cattle gestation for most breeds is 283 days, although it may last anywhere from 279 to 287 days.

The calf gestation calculator uses the following formula:

Calving start = Day when exposed to bull or AI + 283 days

The calving calculator uses an average postpartum interval period that lasts 50-60 days:

End of postpartum interval period = Calving + 55 days

The gestation calculator also adjusts the dates for first time or repeat calvers since cows that are pregnant with their first calf usually have longer postpartum periods:

End of interval period = Calving + 65 days

Gestation table for cattle

Check out this easy to reference gestation table for cows with a Free downloadable PDF version.

How soon after calving can a cow get pregnant again?

On average a cow can be bred again (through artificial insemination or natural service) after about 60 days on average, but your cows may take 90 days or longer to come in heat again after calving. Because of the length of gestation, after cow calves they only have about 80 days to become pregnant again in order to calve again within 12 months.

How soon a cow can get pregnant again after calving depends greatly on how soon the cow comes to heat again. This is largely determined by the breed, age, condition score and feed management and weight of the cow before and after calving. Some key factors that impact the length of this period are:

  • Cow body condition at time of calving. Cows with a score less than 4 (on a 1-9 scale) typically have longer postpartum periods.

  • The age of age of cow

  • Difficulty or stress during the calving process

  • Proper nutrition and feed management to maximize milk production and minimize weight loss

  • First time cows often have longer recovery times that more mature cows

In order to minimize the time between pregnancies it’s important to ensure that the cow is well cared for (good nutritional management and is well fed) before, during and after pregnancy. This will support their expected weight loss from pregnancy, support milk production and minimize weight loss and recovery times of the cow. Once a cow comes in heat again, she will typically be in heat on average, every 21 days.

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