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How do you use a cow gestation table?

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Quick Answer

To use a cow gestation table, look up the date that the cow was or will be bred, then look to the adjacent column to find the approximate due date for the calf. In order to successfully breed cattle, one must understand a cow's gestational cycle and needs during pregnancy. To best meet both the cow and breeder's needs, insemination must be carefully planned, and a cow gestation table can help in this process, as it gives an approximate date of birth based on the insemination date.

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Full Answer

A cow's pregnancy is divided into three trimesters. Each trimester lasts 94 days, making the gestational period approximately 282 days. The first trimester finds the cow requiring an increase in nutrients, all of which can be found in green grasses. The arrival of the second trimester sees a sharp decline in the need for said nutrients. This need increases yet again during the third trimester, as the majority of in utero development occurs during the last months of pregnancy. A postpartum cow needs the highest amount of nutrients.

Using a gestation table to help plan the insemination of cattle gives the breeder a distinct advantage. Knowing the approximate delivery date gives the breeder the opportunity to prepare for the cow's increased nutrient needs. It is also helpful when preparing for subsequent breeding, which can occur as soon as 83 days after the initial calf is born.

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