Can you tell if a cow is pregnant by looking at her?

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5 years 7 months ago - 5 years 7 months ago #541895 by Ruth

Which of these, if either, or both, is in calf?

These two are the same genetic cow. Are they both pregnant, neither pregnant, one?
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Last edit: 5 years 7 months ago by Ruth.

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5 years 7 months ago #541898 by Stikkibeek
Working only with the top photo, the one on the right is pregnant, the one on the left (with ear tag showing,) doesn't look pregnant to me, unless she is very late.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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5 years 7 months ago #541962 by spoook
What I would like to know is, how is she looking at you while you are looking at her? :-P

There are no bad questions only those that are not asked.
"You are responsible, forever, for what you have tamed"

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5 years 7 months ago #542036 by cowvet
Nope - I’ve been a rural vet (mostly dairy) for 22 years now and I can’t tell by looking at them.

I regularly get asked to preg test cows with the question ... has she or hasn’t she calved? Sounds crazy but sometimes it’s hard to tell without putting your hand in and preg testing them.


I love animals...they're delicious

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5 years 7 months ago - 5 years 7 months ago #542047 by Ruth
The only reason this set of pictures is of interest is that the two animals in question are my identical twins, in the same mob (same body condition) and one has slipped her pregnancy (evidenced by coming back on heat twice recently).

From the side, there is barely any difference between them. In some of my cows I sometimes think I can tell whether or not they're pregnant but this year, I can't really see it at all, even now when they're only a month away from calving. I have seen and felt the movement of only one cow's calf (due mid-October). All the others are hiding away with barely any suggestion they're in there. In very late pregnancy, about the last three weeks or so, a pregnant cow is fuller before the udder but by then her udder will be significantly changed anyway, so the roundness is only a secondary sign.



I stood behind the twins at about the same angle and the bulge that I readily detect in a pregnant cow is the lower fullness indicated by the blue line. That cow also has a rounder left side because of the extra bulk in her belly. But without comparison with other cows on the same level of feed, at the same stage of pregnancy, this would be entirely unreliable without actually seeing some obvious calf movement - and you get lucky if you see that and only in the last month or so of pregnancy, generally speaking.



This is not a sure way of detecting anything, more an interesting observation. I could look at your cow and say, yes, I think she is probably pregnant and you'd still need to get your vet to palpate her to know for sure and to get any idea of how far through gestation she is.

Had I compared two cows who weren't genetic clones, there could be too many other distracting differences in shape and size to be able to clearly tell the difference between pregnant and not. This was a one-time opportunity for such an observation.
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Last edit: 5 years 7 months ago by Ruth.

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