Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Estrus: factors affecting expression and detection

Contributor(s): John Remnant , Alexander Corbishley

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  • Estrus detection is an important part of reproductive management for many herds using artificial insemination.
  • To successfully detect estrus two things need to happen:
    1. The cow must be able to express estrus behavior - primarily standing to be mounted.
    2. This behavior must be detected - either by observation or with the use of heat detection aids Estrus: signs and detection.
  • There are numerous factors that affect both estrus detection in cows and estrus detection by farm staff.
  • There is often scope to improve both expression and detection of estrus and the two are clearly interrelated.

Factors affecting estrus expression

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Factors affecting estrus detection

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Further Reading


Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Woelders H., Van der Lende, Kommadath T, Te Pas A, Smits M & Kaal L (2014) Central genomic regulation of the expression of oestrous behaviour in dairy cows: A review. Animal 8 (5), 754-764 PubMed.
  • Dobson H, Walker S L, Morris M J, Routly J E & Smith R F (2008) Why is it getting more difficult to successfully artificially inseminate dairy cows? Animal 2 (8), 1104-1111 PubMed.
  • Walker S L, Smith R F, Routly J E, Jones D N, Morris M J & Dobson H (2008) Lameness, Activity Time-Budgets, and Estrus Expression in Dairy Cattle. Journal of Dairy Science 91 (12), 4552–4559 PubMed.
  • Collier R J, Dahl G E & VanBaale M D (2006) Major Advances Associated with Environmental Effects on Dairy Cattle. Journal of Dairy Science 89 (4), 1244-1253 PubMed.
  • Lopez H, Satter L D & Wiltbank M C (2004) Relationship between level of milk production and estrous behavior of lactating dairy cows. Animal Reproduction Science 81 (3-4), 209-23 PubMed.
  • Orihuela A (2000) Some factors affecting the behavioural manifestation of oestrus in cattle: a review. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 70 (1), 1-16 PubMed.
  • Britt J H, Scott R G, Armstrong J D & Whitacre M S (1986) Determinants of oestrous behaviour in lactating Holstein cows. Journal of Dairy Science 69, 2195-2202
  • Pennington J A, Albright J L & Diekman M A(1985) Sexual activity of Holstein cows: seasonal effects. Journal of Dairy Science 68, 3023-3030 PubMed.
  • De Silva A, Anderson G W, Gwazdauskas F C, McGilliard M L & Lineweaver J A (1981) Interrelationships With Estrous Behavior and Conception in Dairy Cattle. Journal of Dairy Science 64 (12), 2409-2418 PubMed.


  • Nottingham University