Gestation length in Holstein cow depends on the number and sex of fetuses

  • Jeon, Ryoung-Hoon (Department of Theriogenology and Biotechnology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Gyeongsang National University) ;
  • Rho, Gyu-Jin (Department of Theriogenology and Biotechnology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Gyeongsang National University)
  • Received : 2019.06.25
  • Accepted : 2019.10.17
  • Published : 2019.12.31


The traditional calculation of gestation length (GL) in Holstein cows relies solely on the insemination day and has a high error rate for actual calving dates. The present study was conducted to develop a more accurate method of estimating GL. Among 3,578 Holstein cows, the number of fetuses had a significant (p < 0.05) effect, with GLs of 282.4 ± 2.5 days for singletons and 276.0 ± 1.6 days for twins. Within the singleton group, the GLs were 284.6 ± 1.9 days for males and 280.3 ± 1.5 days for females, a significant difference (p < 0.05). However, within the twin group, there was no difference in GLs among twin males, twin females, or twins of both sexes. Gestation was significantly shorter for singleton males born from June to August but significantly longer for twin males born in the May to June period (p < 0.05). Neither parity nor housing type was associated with any significant difference in GL. In order to predict the calving dates of Holstein cows accurately and improve their management, calculations should consider the number and sex of fetuses as well as the insemination season.


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