When it comes time to prepare for a new calf, do you know the signs of impending birth? Being a fairly new owner of zebus, I relied on long-time breeders and friends to give me tips on what to look for when a cow is ready to give birth. If you don’t know the cow’s due date (I pasture-breed and never see my bull doing his job!), it can be a guessing game. Every cow shapes up differently, but some signs can give you an idea of when she is ready to calf.
2 Months Prior
Although it depends on the age of the cow and how many calves she has had, most cows will start to develop an udder about two months prior to calving. You will notice the udder slowly filling…and then it may stall and no progress seems to be made after a month or so
1 Month Prior
About two weeks prior, the udder will really start to fill up and will progressively get larger as the due date nears.
2 weeks prior
1 Week Prior
A few days prior, the teats will extend and appear to be pointing straight down. The udder will be swollen in front, as well as in back; but, it usually will not get that “poofy,” as I call it, until a day or two before calving. The vulva will also get very flabby and protrude, and you may see a discharge from your cow’s vulva. The tail will also get very loose, and the top of the rump will seem to fall away
2 days prior
2 hours prior
A very sure sign that your cow is ready to calf NOW is when the water breaks….get ready!
Most cows deliver healthy calves on their own—in my case, I’ve only seen one born—most of my cows have their calves very early in the morning. FYI.
This beautiful cow had a healthy little bull on July 3, 2015.