how to tell when heifer is going into labor : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

hi i was wondering if anyone could tell me if there is a way to tell when a heifer is going into labor? this will be her first calf, also ours. we were kinda wondering what to exspect. thanks for your replies. cindy& nervous hubby,roger

-- cindy young (, March 04, 2000


A heifer can start showing signs of impending birth 2 or 3 weeks before she actually calves. We watched our first one forever before she finally calved! Their udder and teats will swell and so will the area under their tail. They might have a little discharge. You should watch a heifer closely when you think the time is near because they often have trouble calving and may need help. In that case, gentle pulling on the legs when she is pushing is usually all that is needed. Let her try to do it by herself, but if she doesn't seem to be making progress, give her a little assistance. If you don't see the nose along with the legs, I would call a vet. Most of the time they will do just fine without any assistance.

-- barbara (, March 04, 2000.

Another way to tell if she is close to being fresh, if there are any more livestock with her, she will get off by herself for a few days, before she comes in follow advice given above.

-- David E. Jackson (, March 07, 2000.

Hi Cindy, I had my first experience with a first calf heifer a year and a half ago. It seems that when she's close, she'll start to "bag" up. I've noticed that the perianal area seems to get somewhat flacid and puffy. Cows may go off their feed while in the early stages of labor. If you are watching her on a daily basis, you should be able to notice some changes. Is this a beef (Angus, Hereford, Charlois?) or dairy? (Holstein, Jersey, Guernsey?) Difficulties are not always predictable, but being bred to bull that usually produces hefty calves can be an indicator. If you're like me, you'll prepare and worry about the worse case scenario and end up finding a perfectly made little fella in the pasture early one morning! (Even though I have 17 years experience as a Veterinary Technician, I've yet to see one actually born!) GOOD LUCK


Well i may only be sixteen years old but i am a walking talking no-it- all when it comes to cows. After living and working on both small and large dairies you learn a lot. I've never been wrong on perdicting a cow about ready to calve. Usually the cow or heifer will start bagging up good at 1 week before due to calving. the vaginal area on the cow will become very large. much larger than normal. the cow is usually laying down and you will be able to see that there is force on the vaginal area. however, if the cow is in a stantion you should move her if the calf is not showing. move her to a calving pen or a clean open area where she can lay relax. well good luck!!!

-- Joni Gill (, January 14, 2002.

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