What does barrenness mean in cows and its causes, is it possible to milk

What does barrenness mean in cows and its causes, is it possible to milk

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A cow, or not pregnant, is an animal that has not fertilized after mating. In this case, we can talk about infertility. Barrenness is always a problem. Prevention of infertility begins with the identification of the causes that led to the violation of the reproductive function of cattle. All unfavorable factors must be eliminated. Barrenness is treatable in some cases.

What does a cowhide mean?

An animal like a cow is kept for milk. Cattle begins to milk after each calving. The lactation period lasts about a year. To prolong lactation, the animal is inseminated again in the period 60-90 days after calving. If a cow loses the ability to fertilize, then it is called a barnyard.

In the future, in such an animal, milk yield decreases and completely stops. If the female is not covered, that is, for some reason loses the ability to reproduce due to a violation of the reproductive function, then she is treated or sent to the slaughter. In this case, cattle infertility takes place. Such animals are considered barren:

  • cows that do not have fruitful insemination for 3 months after the last calving;
  • heifers that have not fertilized, starting from 30 days after the young animals reach breeding age.

After calving, females are sexually active (ready for insemination) in 21-28 days. They need to be fertilized during this period or after 18-24 days. The animal comes to the hunt every month. If a cow was inseminated, but the female did not become pregnant, then she is considered barren. Infertility (depending on a number of reasons) can be temporary or permanent. Such a concept as barrenness is applicable exclusively to breeding stock of cattle.

Signs of barrenness

The main signs of non-pregnancy (barrenness):

  • the absence of sexual hunting for a long time;
  • the presence of the fact of hunting, but the absence of fruitful insemination;
  • the presence of several infertile artificial or natural inseminations.

If a cow after natural covering does not inseminate, then we can talk about her barrenness. It is possible to recognize that the female did not fertilize after insemination by her reaction to the bull. If hunting is detected 20-30 days after mating, then it is sterile. A pregnant, that is, a fertilized cow, as a rule, behaves calmly and does not let the bull go.

Barrenness can also be recognized by the fur of the animal. In a pregnant female, it is smooth and silky. In the case of the barn one, the wool sticks out like the needles of a hedgehog. On day 40 after mating, a pregnancy test with freshly milked milk can be performed. It should stand for 30 minutes before testing. The test is carried out as follows: a few drops are dripped into a glass with boiled and cooled (up to 42 degrees Celsius) water. The milk of a pregnant (fertilized) female will settle to the bottom in wavy circles. In barn, on the contrary, it will dissolve in water.

It is possible to more accurately determine the barrenness or pregnancy of a female 2-3 months after insemination using a rectal examination. With this method, the veterinarian probes the uterus through the rectum. Barrenness can also be detected 19-21 days after mating by analyzing the progesterone content in milk. Low levels of this hormone indicate no pregnancy.

Expert opinion

Zarechny Maxim Valerievich

Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.

The most modern method for determining barrenness is considered to be ultrasound diagnostics using a portable (portable) ultrasound scanner. The embryo (or its absence) can be seen already a month after the females are inseminated.

Main reasons

There are a number of reasons that lead to infertility in pets. Before treating cattle, adverse factors must be eliminated. Barrenness in some cases occurs through human fault, that is, due to improper maintenance and feeding of domestic animals.

Cow maintenance

Conditions that do not meet sanitary requirements affect the health of cows in general and their reproductive function in particular. Infertility occurs if the barn is cold, damp, dark, dirty, and the animal does not walk in the fresh air.


The main reason for barrenness is considered to be poor-quality and inadequate nutrition of cattle. The decrease in the reproductive function of females is affected by rare feeding, that is, their prolonged maintenance in a state of hunger. In winter, there is often a serious lack of vitamins (A, D, E) and minerals in feed. This can also serve as a cause or prerequisite for infertility.

Barrenness is also influenced by the not quite correct structure of the diet, that is, a deficit of hay and an excess of silage, compound feed, grain.

Inadequate feeding subsequently leads to a malfunction of the reproductive cycles, as well as to ovarian atrophy, lack of ovulation. A significant lack of essential amino acids and a too low level of protein in feed is the reason for a decrease in hormonal activity, as well as metabolic disorders.

Insemination errors

The cause of barrenness can be premature insemination of young females before their sexual maturity. Covering cattle is desirable after 12 months. The fact is that with inadequate nutrition, puberty in heifers occurs later than the due date. Young animals that have gained 350 kg of weight are allowed to mate.

The absence of pregnancy is affected by the incorrectly chosen fertilization period, that is, the untimely detection of sexual heat. It is important to remember that insemination may not occur not only due to the fault of the cows, but also due to the use of bulls with low fertility. True, with artificial insemination, barrenness is possible due to the poor quality of sperm, which occurs due to improper storage.

Diseases and abnormalities of the organs of the reproductive system

During the vital period of embryonic development in animals, genital anomalies may occur. Subsequently, such a pathology leads to infantilism in young heifers, that is, to underdevelopment of the uterus, ovarian hypoplasia, and the absence of regular sexual cycles.

Freemartinism can also be observed in cows. This is infertility due to the underdevelopment of the vagina, cervix with the normal functioning of the ovaries. In rare cases, hermaphroditism is possible (the presence in cattle of sexual characteristics of both a female and a male). Hermaphrodites are always sterile. Inflammatory processes in the genitals of cattle, including those caused by trauma during insemination, as well as the immune response of the cow's body to foreign sperm proteins, affect the occurrence of barrenness.

Can cattle infertility be cured?

Genetically determined barrenness does not respond to treatment. If the cause of infertility is improper maintenance, feeding or infectious diseases, then such problems can be corrected. Animals need to be provided with adequate care and quality feed.

Diseases of the genital organs are treated with drugs prescribed by a veterinarian, that is, a specialist who graduated from a veterinary university.

Prevention measures

Preventive measures to prevent barrenness should be based on proper maintenance and adequate feeding of cows. The health of animals and their reproductive function depend on feed and care. It is especially important to pay increased attention to the feeding of cows in the winter. In winter, cattle must be given hay, root crops, some grain, as well as pharmacy vitamins and minerals.

Is it possible to milk a non-pregnant cow

After calving, the female begins to give milk. Moreover, its amount increases up to 6 months, and then sharply decreases. To prolong lactation, the female is covered. At the 7th month of pregnancy, they start it, that is, they stop milking.

A previously milked cow that was not pregnant can be difficult to milk after starting. Experts advise the female to inseminate again and wait for calving. It is impossible to milk a young heifer who has never been pregnant and has not given birth to a calf. Milk begins to be produced only after calving.

Watch the video: Dealing with Infertility of Lactating Dairy Cows the Foster Mothers of the Human Race (August 2022).