How to tell whether a cow will conceive or not if served

The huge problem in dairy farming is delayed heat and in ability of cows to conceive once served.

Poor nutrition, ovarian cysts, effects of retained after-birth, sterile semen and poor mode of insemination can cause delayed heat and inability to conceive.

Dairy farmers can identify cows on heat by; abnormal mowing, being alert, and reduced milk production on that day, mounting on other animals (at initial stages of heat), being mounted on (standing heat-last stages of heat), redness of the vulva and clear discharge.

A day for a dairy farmer
Young woman working with hay for cows on a dairy farm

However, not all cows show this signs-silent heat.

Though it is hard for a farmer to determine whether the cow will conceive or not, there are some obvious cases with guaranteed no conception.

Yes, I said you can tell if the cow will conceive or not depending on the quality of discharge. So, what is this discharge? How can you distinguish a good discharge from a bad discharge?

Estrus mucus (discharge)

Estrus mucus commonly known as discharge by many farmers is a thin, clear and watery mucus discharge from the vulva, a signal that the cow is in heat (estrus).

The mucus (egg-white-like) is secreted by the cervix and vagina. The cow’s mounting activity causes it to flow from the lips of the vulva, become deposited on the tail and pin bones and appear wet.

Farmers can observe five types of discharge; Bloody, Yellow, White, Cloudy and Clear discharge

The physical appearance of the discharge depends on whether the cow had retained after-birth and how it was treated.

A cow can rarely (99%) conceive if it has bloody, yellow, white and cloudy discharge.  This can be treated through uterine irrigation until the discharge is clear as water or egg-white-like. After final irrigation, the cow should be served on the second subsequent heat.

So, next time your cow is on heat, check its colour before serving.

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