How A New Cattle Rancher Can Physically Check To See If A Cow Is Pregnant

Having a regular supply of cattle to produce milk and meat is the life blood of every dairy farmer and rancher. A good method to increase your herd size is to have your cows give birth to calves. The primary problem of relying on this method to increase your herd is that cows only go into heat for a very short period of time during the year, and the bulls have a hard time keeping up when they do. Some ranchers use an artificial insemination service to come in to impregnate their cows instead of just relying on using bulls. This helps to make sure as many cows as possible become impregnated in a short amount of time.

The success of any natural or artificial insemination programs is based on getting cows pregnant. Here is how you can physically check to find out if your insemination program has been successful and a cow is now pregnant in your herd.

Lock the Cow Down

The way to physically tell if a cow is pregnant is to insert your arm and hand into their rectum so you can feel their cervix for a lump. Cows typically don't like this and you have to make sure the cow is secure enough that it can't bounce around or kick you when you are behind them. Make sure the cow is in a small cage before you see if it is pregnant.


You may have to reach most of your arm into the rectum before you can feel the cervix. You want to get a pair of gloves to keep you clean. The best gloves to buy are ones that go all the way up to your shoulder. You also need to purchase some OB-GYN lubricant. The lubricant helps to ease your gloved arm into the rectum without causing additional discomfort to the cow. Place a liberal amount of lubricant on your gloved hand and arm and in the entrance of the cow's rectum.

Cervix Test

Push your arm into the rectum and feel downward in the cow. You may have to remove feces in the rectum to make room for your arm. Just pull the feces out and let it drop to the floor. Stick your arm back in and follow the path of the reproductive tract from the vagina inward. Slowly move along the reproductive tract until you feel something round and hard on it. This would be the cervix.

You want to feel for a bulge in the cervix. The size of the bulge will let you know roughly how long your cow has been pregnant. If the bulge is small like a mouse, the cow has only been pregnant for a month or so; but if the bulge is the size of a small dog, you know the cow has been pregnant for at least a few months.

When To Test

You should wait a couple of months after the cow has been inseminated before you do the test to give time for the embryo in the cow to grow. For more information, contact places like large animal care by Animal Medical Centre South.