Health Conditions Related to Feedlot Cattle: Managing Pregnant Heifers in the Feedlot


Source: National Farm Animal Care Council, Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle Section 3.3.5

On occasion, pregnant heifers may end up in the feedlot. The feedlot environment and management is not always well-suited to deal with calving heifers. This may result in significant animal welfare problems for the heifers themselves and the resulting calves. Some feedlot operators may choose, in consultation with their veterinarian, to implement a strategy to terminate unwanted pregnancies in feedlot heifers. Other operators may elect to calve them out or to remove them from their operation.


Consult with your veterinarian to develop a program for managing pregnant heifers in a feedlot.


  1. prevent pregnancy in heifers destined for feedlots. If possible, inform feedlot buyers if there is a chance that heifers have been exposed to a bull
  2. consult a veterinarian if considering spaying to prevent pregnancy in heifers destined for the feedlot. Spaying is a very infrequent practice; however, if done, it should be carried out by a veterinarian using appropriate pain management.


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