We’ve had sex on four wheels, two legs and a straw visiting us at the farm this morning.
The artificial insemination technician.
John scanned a mini Facebook profile of bulls to decide who would best suit our heifers, and now hope that a suitably dashing, but more importantly, easy calving, suitor has been picked.
The technician removed the straws from the flask where they were being kept in sub zero temperatures, stuck them down the back of his neck to “warm them up a bit” (the heifers already being considerably warmed up if all the mounting of each other was anything to go by) and set off to do his job.
Getting a new bull is a priority at the moment. John is torn between an Aberdeen Angus or Limousin replacement. One of our problems is yard space. Limousin mature earlier than Aberdeen Angus, and we can usually get any fat stock away at about fifteen sixteen months. Take any longer, and those would be the Aberdeen Angus bullocks, and we need more yard space over winter when all of the cows are inside.
Therefore the decision to serve the heifers, who are herd replacements, with Aberdeen Angus semen. That way John hopes to get some Aberdeen Angus back in the herd and buy a Limousin bull in a month or so to put with the main suckler herd.
When we had a dairy herd the AI man regularly called as we had stopped keeping a dairy bull. Insemination took place in the milking parlour. Cows knew the routine and just walked into their stalls.
Heads down, munching the considerately supplied dairy nuts, oblivious as to what was happening at the business end. Suckler cows are a completely different going on. They are not used to walking into crushes on a regular basis. Trying to spot when one is ready to serve in the field, and then isolate them and bring them into a crush, is a fool’s game. So a bull does the job much better.
Since weaning, these heifers have been kept in their own yard, and should be used to all the clanking of gates, movement of tractors, and with John feeding and bedding them up every day. So walking them into a crush should be a doddle. But there is always one...
She jumped over a gate and bent it. Jumped into a water trough. Splashed water everywhere. Slipped and slid. Tried literally to climb a wall. Showed every intention of flattening John as every time she got near the crush she put her head down and went for him. It was very dangerous. The AI man and I stood well back and just hoped John would get out without a broken leg.
In the end he let her go back to the yard. John said: “I doubt she would hold in calve in the state she is in”
So she will encounter the real thing in a few weeks; not a long straw. Perhaps she’s not such a daft cow after all.
Mrs Downs Diary