News and knowhow for farmers

Heat signs farmers should carefully observe for successful cow fertilisation

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Increased attention to heat signs is one of the surest ways of increasing the chances of successful fertilisation in cattle to avoid economic losses.

A farmer would incur direct insemination costs for a non-yielding service and have more unproductive days until the next month.

Research reports show that errors in observing the heat patterns in dairy cattle during the oestrous cycle account for more than 30 per cent of failed fertilization processes.

Patrick Nyauma, a veterinarian in Nyamira County says bull or artificial insemination may fail if the signs are not read well because cows can only be on heat within eight to 30 hours.

The officer says sperms can stay in the female reproductive system for as long as 48 hours after insemination, but the highest chances of fertilisation are 12 hours after the first heat signs were detected.

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“Sperms are able to fertilise an ovum within 18 and 24 hours from the onset of heat. But they have to be in the fallopian tube for at least six hours for capacitating. This, therefore, means that a farmer has to be careful in detecting the climax of fertility,” he said.

A cow will be on heat after 18 to 24 days. It is not hard to tell that a cow needs to b served for it will exhibit unusual behaviour.

The behaviour result from increased oestrogen and reduced progesterone hormone levels in the blood.

“A cow on heat will mount on others for three to seven seconds and when mounted, it stands still. It will also sniff the genitalia of others and raise its head while curling its lips,” he said.

A farmer would observe mucosal discharge from the vulva, which shows a cow is ready to be served by a bull or artificial insemination.

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Whilst most times it may smear the thighs and tail, the mucus at times may fail to come out it remains in the cervix and a palpation examination can confirm the cow is indeed ripe.

The vulva will redden, become less sticky, and be warmer and moist. The cow will be restless, bellow a lot and lose appétit to feeding.

It will go back to normal I it is served or until the period lapses naturally.

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