How to know if your cow is pregnant
Several years ago we had our Artificial Insemination guru come out and attempt to “breed” our cow.
Once the cow has been artificially inseminated the waiting game begins.
For homesteaders like me, Here are your options:
- Have a vet come examine the cow 40 days after breeding to check for pregnancy – this has an increased chance of miscarriage.
- Wait 3-5 months and have a vet palpate to see if she is bred (this option greatly decreases the chances of miscarriage but you’ll be waiting a loooooong time & missing breeding opportunities if she wasn’t bred).
- Wait 25-30 days and send off a blood or milk sample to see if she is bred. Yeah – try getting a blood sample from a Jersey. BaHaHaHaHa!
- Watch for if the cow is coming in “heat.” Once she is bred she won’t come in heat anymore & guess for yourself. Uuuuuh – this is not a job I am qualified for.
- Use a pregnancy test made for cows – which seemed like a wonderful, easy, fabulous option except for one thing – it didn’t work. Arg.
Here’s my thoughts on each option (In no particular order):
* Watch & see if you cows are coming in heat
If they are not coming into heat then you will know that they are pregnant.
What does heat look like and how can you tell if she is coming in or not? Yeah, exactly.
Mounting other cows. Other cows riding her. Moooooing all the time. Pacing the fence line. Slimy discharge coming out the back. Cows get wierd when they are in heat & you can usually tell when it’s “on.”
Let me tell you what people don’t tell you. There’s false heat. Which means you’re cow will be acting like she’s in heat when she’s really not. There’s skipping heat because it’s too hot outside or milk production is too high or it’s not the right time of year.
There are all sorts of reasons a cow can look like she’s in heat when she’s not. There are also all sorts of reasons your cow could be skipping heats when she’s open (pregnant).
If you factor all these things in – there is no way this girl from the suburbs is going to be able to “observe” her cow & detect pregnancy. Insane.
I can’t watch my cows and tell if they are pregnant. So, that options out.
* Wait 3-5 months & have the vet come out and palpate
I am too impatient to wait 4-5 months before calling the vet. 🙂
By this time if she wasn’t pregnant – you just lost 4-5 breeding opportunities.
* Wait 25-30 days and send off a blood or milk sample to see if she is bred.
I can’t collect blood from my cows. Period. Collecting blood from a Jersey is impossible. Jerseys hate needles. Hate shots. If you want to have your barn relocated, tie your Jersey cow to it & give her a shot.
Of course, you can stick your arm in her backside until your shoulder is gone and she will just stand there. But, try to give her a tiny, little-bitty shot and she will loose her mind.
No way am I possible of collecting blood from a jersey.
* Use a pregnancy test made for cows
As far as the pregnancy test for cows are concerned – I would just save my money. On a side note, I would like my $90 back. Because our experience is that they do not work.
We used the cow-side pregnancy test by Bovipreg 8 times in a year. The results have been inaccurate, and I would not recommend it.
After 8 negative Bovipreg test results, we had our vet come examine our cow to find that she was indeed pregnant. The Bovipreg test for cattle was wrong with our cow. She was VERY pregnant and all the Bovipreg tests performed on her using milk as well as urine showed a negative result.
Please use caution if considering this product to determine pregnancy. As you can imagine, if you continue to “breed” a “bred” cow bad things could happen with the pregnancy that is current taking place.
* Have a vet come examine the cow 40 days after breeding to check for pregnancy
This is what we do…
We wait 40 days (or so) & call the vet. I know there is an increased chance of miscarriage, and you could miss a “breeding window,” but it’s the best option for us.
I totally trust my vet and he is wonderful. If this increases the chances of miscarriage, that’s a chance we’ll take. This has become the best option for us. We only miss one breeding cycle if she is not pregnant. We know early if she is pregnant.
For the fastest way to knock up a cow go here.
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