What Is a Heifer?

heifer Credit: egrego2/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

A heifer is a young female cow that has not yet had a calf. During this period in a cow's life, proper attention to health and diet is vital.

The nutrition and care of a heifer depends on the overall purpose of the cow. If the heifer is a dairy cow, maintaining minimal fat stores while ensuring proper growth is the goal. For some other heifers, the goal is to get them fattened up and ready to rear calves. In most cases, a heifer is bred when she is older than 2 years. This helps to ensure that the calf gets the nutrients it need without taking away vital nutrients from the mother.