Calving Cow

calving1The normal gestation length of a cow can range from 279 – 288 days.

The normal progression of the calving process involves 3 stages of labour.

The 1st stage is when the cervix is starting to dilate and uterine contractions become regular. This leads to signs of discomfort, mild colic and restlessness. The cow will show this by getting up and down frequently, standing with an arched back, holding her tail raised and may have increased heart rate and respiratory rate.

The 2nd stage begins with the onset of abdominal contractions and rupture of foetal membranes, often seen as fluid spilling from the vagina. This stage ends when the foetus is born. The average duration of second stage labour is 70 minutes but can range from 30 minutes to 4 hours. This stage of labour is normally longer in heifers than in cows.

If a cow close to her expected calving date has been restless for 12 hours (ie possibly in 1st stage labour) with no signs of straining, please consult your veterinarian.

If a cow has been straining (ie in 2nd stage labour) for 1 hour without progress, please consult your veterinarian.

The 3rd stage of labour begins once the calf is born and ends when foetal membranes have been passed, in a cow this may last a couple of days.

There are many different causes for a cow not to make progress during calving such as a malpresented or oversized calf, foetal deformity, uterine torsion, or the cow’s inability to push. Our veterinarians are well trained to identify the problem, and provide the appropriate solution for you and your animal.

Sale Veterinary centre

  • Address: 262 York Street, Sale
  • Telephone: (03)5144 3100
  • Fax: (03)5144 5968
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Gippsland Equine Hospital

  • Address: 31 Beet Road, Maffra
  • Telephone: (03)5147 1008
  • Fax: (03)5141 1439
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