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By Dr Tom Westmore BVSc

Through intensive training, The Vet Group is increasing its capacity to offer the service of bovine foetal sexing using ultrasonography. This service is best provided at a gestational age of 9 to 11 weeks and with more vets being able to conduct foetal sexing, you should have no problems making a booking.

Determining the sex of your future calves has a number of benefits including the following:

Future planning and budgeting

Advanced warning of the bull/heifer ratio of next year’s calves can be a huge aid to any farm. Decisions can be made in advance regarding heifer retention rate, number of young stock to sell and calf infrastructure required.

Stud marketing

Many studs may want to advertise and plan for a certain number of heifer or bull calves that will be born. This can be particularly useful in embryo-transfer calves. After bovine foetal sexing has been performed, studs have 6 months in which to advertise and sell a given calf or cow-in-calf.

Colostral management

Once a cow is seen to enter labour, many clients want to know whether they should begin to thaw their best quality colostrum in preparation for the birth of a heifer calf.

Planning for a smooth calving period

Knowing the exact date of calving and whether the cow is carrying a bull or heifer calf can help with planning for the calving period. Cows carrying bull calves or twins are more likely to suffer calving difficulties and therefore take longer to return to the herd and come in to milk. When identified, these animals can be watched very closely with early intervention at calving. For valuable animals caesareans can be planned to avoid a hard labour, difficult pull and subsequent uterine and vaginal tears. Animals carrying twins and large calves are also
more likely to suffer from metabolic disorders such as milk fever. With prior knowledge the transistion period of these animals can be managed accordingly so the end result is a healthy cow that re-enters the herd quickly and efficiently.


When weighing-up whether or not to sell a cow (for any given reason), it can be incredibly useful to know whether she is having a male or female calf. Cows carrying heifer calves are more likely to be retained as their progeny will be retained in the herd.
Please call the Farm Services Team to book foetal sexing and remember that it is best performed when cows are between 9 and 11 weeks in gestation.