Wednesday, December 22, 2010

AI cattle breeding

Hanging out at Bluestem Farm
I don't have enough cows to own a bull.  When each cow comes into heat, I call my AI technician neighbor who comes over with his toolkit and a long glove and gets the job done.  As you can imagine this doesn't always work as well as a bull, but it lets me choose from a variety of high quality genetics available on line.  You can buy bull semen by the "straw" for about $25 and up, and have it delivered to your door frozen in liquid nitrogen.  We bred all our cows, Molly, Mary, Martha, and Agnes, in August for May/June calves.  Our score from that pass was 2 of 4.  The two white park cows, Mary and Martha, both took on the first try.  Molly, the Jersey, tested open (not bred) back in October so my neighbor serviced her again.  Just today the vet checked Agnes, the Angus, to find that she is also open.  I had intended to keep Agnes as a breeding cow, but she has a few strikes against her.

1. She is not a British White Park, my focus breed.
2. She is the only one of my cows that doesn't like me to approach her in the field.
3. She is the least predictable (she kicks when she feel threatened).
4. She broke my milk stanchion trying to get away from the vet.
5. The other cows don't like her. 
6. Our freezer is getting low on beef
7. She will be the perfect age for grass-finishing in the spring.

Let's say it's not looking good for Agnes.

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