wikiHow to Breed Dairy Cattle

Breeding dairy cattle involves producing offspring that are primarily used for dairy production. Cows need to produce calves in order to make milk, and in order to produce milk and calves, they need to be bred. Most of the heifers that are born to a dairy operation are used as replacements, whereas the rest (those that are male, and those females that are not good enough for the dairy herd) are sold to be raised as beefers or turned into veal. Nonetheless, a dairy operation cannot be a dairy operation without having some sort of means to breed the dairy cows.


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    Find an AI technician to hire to breed your cows. The more experienced the tech you hire is, the higher the success rate of your cows getting pregnant.
    • It is highly recommended you use AI to breed your cows and not a herd bull. Dairy bulls are extremely dangerous and unpredictable, and not worth your or your employees' lives to keep one around.
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    Have a schedule to determine which cows need to be bred and when. A Breeding/gestation table or pinwheel will help you in this regard, and also helps your AI tech to know which cows need to be AI'd.
    • Time when your females need to be bred by when they go into estrus. The rule of thumb that all AI techs follow is that females are to be bred 12 hours after they've showed signs of estrus.
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    Breed your cows. The AI tech will be following the steps that he/she already learned at an AI distribution company and according to the "How to Artificially Inseminate Cows and Heifers" article here on Wikihow.
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    Have your cows monitored (by you and your other hired hands) to tell if any of them go back into heat or not. Record those that do go back into heat.
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    Record those that have been bred and the projected time they will calve.


  • Record keeping is extremely important in an operation where it's necessary to have a year-round calving and breeding schedule, and also to know when and what cows need to have a drying-up period prior to calving.
  • It's best to have an AI tech to do the breeding for you instead of you doing it all by yourself. You, as the owner of the dairy farm, have a lot of other things to do than to be breeding cows. Record keeping just happens to be one of those things!
  • Some dairy farmers choose to keep a couple of young bulls around for a short time to breed young heifers (those that have just reached maturity and are getting bred for the first time). This is primarily because the chances of heifers conceiving the first time they are bred artificially are lower than if they were bred naturally.
    • However, other dairy farmers don't see it worth having any bulls around, so they have their heifers AI'd anyway, minding the increased risk of having more heifers come up open than what would happen if they were bred by a bull.


  • AI still has its risks of lower conception than if cows and/or heifers were bred naturally.
  • If you choose to have a bull (one that is a dairy breed like Holstein or Jersey), please use extreme caution when handling these animals. They are very dangerous, and could injure or kill you.

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Categories: Cattle