Getting the family Cow Bred (Prego)

Our school days had a couple of interruptions last week.  The AI guy came out to continue the process of attempting to get our cow bred.  It was a good 45 minute distraction each visit.  I’ve decided to call it science.

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Everyone was present and accounted for.

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Today’s lesson will be on how to use the CIDR to assist in breeding an open cow.

Our cow is open.  That means she is not pregnant.  Open cows are not what you want.  We have been trying to get our cow pregnant for about 8 months.  First, we tried to breed her in June and July.  Not knowing that summer is the worst time to try to breed a cow and that it happens to have the lowest conception rates.  Then we tried again in the fall.  Not knowing that she wasn’t ovulating, because she is the “Dairy Queen” and making too much milk to ovulate.

So, we have dried up our sweet cow so she will hopefully begin to cycle and ovulate regularly and we can get her bred. For a cow to produce milk, she needs to have babies regularly.   If she doesn’t have a calf, she won’t make milk. Which is fine with me because I love babies.  Even baby cows.

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This contraption is the CIDR (controlled intra-vaginal drug releasing device).  The drug it is releasing is progesterone. It is inserted inside the cow. It convinces the cow’s body that she is pregnant so that she does not go in-heat,  until you remove it.

Why would someone use a CIDR?  There are several reasons.

  1. If you have numerous cows to breed the AI tech can use CIDR’s to bring all the cows into heat at the same time.  Without this device, the cows could all be coming into heat on different schedules.  With the use of this, the AI tech can synchronize the heats of an entire herd of cattle.  He can come out and breed the entire herd on the same day.
  2. If you don’t have other cows around and are having trouble detecting when your cow is in in-heat, this can be used to precisely time ovulation and get a more accurate insemination.
  3. It can help bring non-cycling cows into heat.
  4. It increases chances of breeding cows that are not responsive to AI.
  5. It allows for conveniently timed breeding.
  6. Overall pregnancy rates using CIDR are 55% which is higher than heat detected pregnancy rates.

We are using the CIDR for several of these reasons.  We have had trouble pin-pointing when she’s in-heat, we’ve experienced failed AI in the past, and it is suspected that she has not been cycling.  We hope with the help of this, we can get a pregnant cow.

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When the CIDR is pulled out (6-8 days later) …….. her body immediately goes in-heat.  When the CIDR is in place all you see is this little blue plastic cord (called a tail).  Which is located underneath the other thing called a tail.  2 tails.

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Once the CIDR is removed, she is given an injection to increase the chances of ovulation.  The cow is blurry because she trying to launch herself into the loft because someone just gave her a shot.

Jersey’s don’t like shots.

Now we wait 2 days.  When the cow starts rolling around in the field on her back – legs in the air, mooing like a crazy-woman, happily jumping, kicking, charging, and playing with 200lb stumps in the pasture ……. call the AI guy & let him know she’s in-heat.  When you use the CIDR, AI is performed 60-66 hours after removal.  No guess-work.

The best chances to breed a cow are about 12 hours after she acts like a lunatic.  If you are using the CIDR it is 60-66 hours after it’s removed.   We have a trifecta this evening:

  1. She was a nut-case earlier today.
  2. It’s been 60 hours since the CIDR was removed and
  3. The baby cow in the field next-door is also acting like a maniac trying to get to the in-heat, bovine beauty.

Never-mind that it is dark outside, negative 2 degrees, and it’s the middle of the night.  It is on like Donkey-Kong!

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Welcome to the mid-night evening barn party!  It’s just my oldest daughter, me, our cow and our AI-guy.   No one else.  Just us.  Because everyone else is ASLEEP!  It happened to be after 9:00pm.  Which happens to be past our bed time.  Which might as well be 2 in the morning around here.  My oldest daughter, myself, and our poor, poor AI guy were the only ones awake on our property.  Everyone else, including my husband, was sound asleep.  Asleep.  Seriously?

Don’t worry honey, go ahead to bed,  I’ve got this.

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So, on a cold winter evening, at an hour when sane people are asleep, or in bed watching TV, or at least indoors;  we were in the barn watching our AI guy do this.

DSC03724and this.

This is our 4th try at AI.  The national average is 3 tries before conception.  Hopefully the 4th one’s a charm for us….

Hooves crossed!

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