Immaculate Conceptions?

This year has again seen its fair share of ‘virgin’ births in cattle. Rather than divine intervention, though, we suspect surreptitious visits from next door’s bull, lost AI records or untoward activity amongst that mixed group of ‘calves’ to be more likely.

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Immaculate conceptions?

Carolyn Baguley MA VetMB CertAVP (cattle) MRCVS

This year has again seen its fair share of ‘virgin’ births in cattle.  Rather than divine intervention, though, I suspect surreptitious visits from next door’s bull, lost AI records or untoward activity amongst that mixed group of ‘calves’ to be more likely.

It’s easy to get caught out by heifer and bull calves together in a group reaching puberty earlier than expected.  Some heifers seem to reach puberty and become fertile as early as five months, although the norm is usually ten or so.

Be vigilant – unlike Mary, those heifers of yours may not be as young or as virgin as you’d like to think.  If you do suspect they may be in calf, ask us for advice ASAP.  Mismating injections are available, and early inductions or even planned elective caesareans at term are far preferable to bad calvings in small heifers.

Out of hours emergency

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