Heat Oestrus or the ‘heat period’ is the period when a female animal will allow a male to mate with her and is when mature females can become pregnant.
When a female is on heat, her ovaries release eggs into the uterus.
Age when animals first have a heat period
- Cow 8-20 months
- Sheep 6-12 months
- Goat 6-12months
- Pig 4-7 months
- Rabbit 3-7 months
- Dog 7-9 months
- Donkey 10-15 months
How to tell when animals are on heat
The best time to look at animals to see if they are on heat is early in the morning or in the evening. Do not disturb the animals when you are looking at them. It is more difficult to see if an animal is on heat when females are tied up or kept in the house. Let them out if possible with other animals twice a day and watch them. Heat sometimes only lasts for a 12 hours or less, so watch for signs of heat at least every six hours.
Animals on heat are often restless; they stand apart from groups and swish their tails more than normal. Some animals, especially goats, cry out more than normal.
They often give slightly less milk than normal and eat less than normal.
They urinate more often, especially goats. Camels in heat spray urine around with their tails. The vulva is sometimes red and swollen.
Thick clear mucus comes from the vagina. When red mucus comes from the vagina it is too late to mate an animal.
Animals on heat will stand still and let a male mate with them. Animals are often restless. They stand apart from a group and swish their tails more than normal.