Cows/Cattle/animal breeding


How long does a cow stay in laber?

Hi Mariah,

Generally cows will stay in labour for anywhere from 72 (for first-calf heifers) to 3 hours (older cows), for first stage. Second stage is often shorter, lasting from 2 to 3 hours in a heifer to only half an hour in an older cow.

If you're concerned about a calving cow, just remember this: Don't wait more than an hour after the water bag has appeared before going in to help the cow or heifer. Waiting longer could be harmful to both the cow and calf; the calf's chances of survival if you wait longer than even two hours get more slim with every passing minute.

If you need any help with a cow or heifer giving birth to a calf, contact your local large animal veterinarian or get a neighbor or friend who is experienced in cows over to help out.

I hope that answers your question!



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Karin L


Forage-Beef Extension Specialist. Knowledge in almost everything to do with beef and dairy cattle. Strong points include forage production, pasture and rangeland management, grazing management, breeding/calving/weaning, cattle genetics, breeds, feeding and nutrition, starting-up, and most physiological questions. I AM NOT A BOVINE VETERINARIAN; so please any questions that concern serious health of your cattle must be taken to your local large animal veterinarian.


Part of a farm family that bought, raised, and sold stocker/backgrounder steers; assisted with health management, handling, feeding, pasture management, and forage production. Also worked at local mixed-practice veterinary clinic. Experience with cattle included breeding soundness exams on bulls, castration, fixing prolapses, preg-checking, C-sections, calf pulling, vaccinations, etc. Worked at a local farm and ranch supply store selling medications and feed for livestock. Research assistant for the University of Alberta with range health assessments, and helping with various rangeland research projects. Always learning and gaining more experience as time goes on.

Alberta Farm Express Agri-News and Call of the Land (Alberta Agriculture)

BSc in Agriculture (Animal Science Major) @ University of Alberta, June 2015 graduate, but started studies in 2005. An Sci degree allowed me to specialize and gain significant knowledge in beef & dairy cattle production,animal behaviour and reproduction, ruminant nutrition, forage production/management, rangeland and pasture management & ecology, and plant identification.

Past/Present Clients
Various eef and forage producers in Alberta, CAN

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