Breeding…part three…

by David

Heat Detectors

…and now it gets really interesting…starting in the pre-dawn darkness… and a pasture alive with blinking red lights.

It’s the heat detectors…right on schedule at 48 hours. When a cow goes into heat, another mounts it, crushing the chemical patch on its rump.

One of Carolyn’s jobs is thawing the semen straws. That’s what that pot next to her arm is for. No time to waste!

One of Carolyn’s jobs is thawing the semen straws.

And the deed is done. But it’s a slow process at the end…finding just the right spot…then pushing the plunger to deposit the semen.

It’s a process that’s repeated 29 times over three days…matching cow, heat, and the right bull. Hard work…and cold…but satisfying.

But it’s a slow process at the end...finding just the right spot...then pushing the plunger to deposit the semen.

The results won’t be known for a couple of months…some of the pairings are experimental…and some of the semen is suspect. But it’s the most ambitious breeding project Thistle Hill has ever attempted!

Church reports the actual number of cows bred was 26. Three did not have the proper heat. That’s normal or average. Calves will be on the ground in early September of next year. But again, whether through artificial insemination or a bull, we can only hope for about a 60% success rate and in some cases we were using sub-par semen.

Some cattlemen immediately follow AI with a bull. Church wants to delay a few weeks. That break in the resultant calving will make it easier to determine the sire…but we’ll pregnancy check before that and also DNA type the calves.