Reproductive Anatomy and Physiology of the Cow

Editor’s note
The introduction to this guide appears below. To view the PDF of the entire guide, please select the “Download this publication” button.

Jordan Thomas
Assistant Professor, Animal Sciences
Anita Ellis
Livestock Field Specialist

The ability of a cow or heifer to successfully mate, conceive, give birth, and raise a healthy calf each year is essential for profitable and sustainable beef production. A good understanding of anatomy and physiology of both the male and female is helpful in successfully managing reproduction.

Causes for failures in reproduction must be identified and overcome. Research has led to the development of numerous techniques for managing the reproductive processes of animals. These techniques provide many options to help progressive cattle producers accomplish their production goals.

Labeled diagram of a cow's reproductive tract.
Figure 1. Diagramatic sketch of the reproductive tract of the cow.