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What is the gestation period of a cow or heifer?

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On average, the gestation period or length-of-pregnancy of a cow is 285 days long. This is similar to the pregnancy period of a woman, which is closer to around 9 months or ~260 days.

However, actual gestation period of a cow can range from 270 days to 295 days, depending primarily on breed[s], age, body condition and nutritional health. Gestation period is also controlled by genetics, but not rate of maturity. The rate of maturity is more to do with the age a bovine reaches when it starts to put fat down, not muscle, and has very little to nothing to do with reproductive characteristics including length of gestation.

Here are some rules of thumb to remember when trying to figure out how long your cows or heifers will be pregnant for:
  • Heifers that are pregnant for the first time will most likely have a little longer gestation period than older, mature cows. This is typically because heifers are still growing themselves and have to put energy into growing a calf AND their own bodies, including the formation and maturation of their udder.
  • Cows with poorer fertility (or have a tougher time getting bred again after giving birth) may have a longer gestation period than those with good fertility (or those that have settled during the first part of the breeding season after a 45 to 60 day rest period).
  • Usually small cows have a shorter gestation period than big cows, but not always. For instance, Texas Longhorns have a longer gestation period than South Devons, but TL's are smaller in size and lighter in weight than SD's. However, this might be applicable if comparing Jerseys with Charolais or moderate-framed Angus with Chianina.
  • Thin cows may have a shorter gestation than normal-condition cows, and fat cows may have a longer gestation than normal-conditioned cows.
  • Females that have more masculine characteristics may have a longer gestation than those females that are more feminine in conformation.


Please see the related questions below for various breeds and their consequential length of gestation.
Thanks for the feedback!

How long is the gestation period for a cow or heifer?

On average, the gestation period or length-of-pregnancy of a cow is285 days long. This is similar to the pregnancy period of a woman,which is closer to around 9 months or ~260

What is the gestation period of a Zebu cow?

Zebu cows usually have quite a long gestation period, which can stretch from 290 to 300 days in length.

What is gestation period for cows called?

The gestation period. You can also call it the pregnancy period as well.

What is the gestation period of a MRI cow?

The Meuse Rhine Issel cow's gestation periods is really the same as any other breed of female bovine: ~285 days.

What is the gestation period of a Limousin cow?

Limousin are selected to have long gestation periods, which is around 290 to 300 days (or more) in length.

What is the gestation period of a Holstein cow?

Since Holsteins are generally early to intermediate-maturing animals, the gestation period would range from 280 to 285 days.

What is the gestation period of a Brahman cow?

Since the Brahman is known to be the latest maturing breed of all cattle in North America, the typical gestation period for a Brahman cow would last from 290 to over 300 days

What is the gestation period of a Shorthorn cow?

Shorthorns tend to have average gestation periods, which ranges from 280 to 289 days in length.

What is the gestation period of a Sahiwal cow?

A Sahiwal cow's gestation period lasts, on average, 289 days, give  or take 3.2 days on average. Sahiwal cows are a breed of Zebu  cattle, and are native to the Sahiwal dist

What is the gestation period of a Nguni cow?

The length of gestation of a Nguni is quite variable depending on where it's raised and the producer raising them. According to the Nguni Cattle Breeders' Society By-laws, Ngu

How old does a cow or heifer have to be until they have their periods?

Bovine females do not have their "periods" like human females do. The "period" is a loose or code term for when the endometrium layer is shedding and the girl or woman is expe

What is the gestation period of an Angus cow?

Angus cattle tend to have short gestation periods, ranging from 260 to 280 days in length. However, this can be the exception rather than the rule. Because Angus are so popula