Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Day Of Artificial Insemination

It began early in the morning when I saw three cows acting as if they were in heat. Two had not yet been bred and I had been worried about them. The third had been bred but perhaps it hadn't taken. So I called the A.I. man and he said he'd be out at 2:00. I went out to the barn at 1:15 and rang the bell to call the cattle in for grain. When they arrived, I gave full bowls to the three I was after, and the others just got a dribble of grain. I locked a chain on collars of the three to be inseminated and then chased everyone else out of the barn. When I had the three I wanted alone in the barn, I closed the barn door, unhooked their chains and began to prepare:

 Miraculously, I got all three in the squeeze chute, separated by boards and waiting patiently. Gracie was the first in line, with her head in the locking gate:

 Amy and Violet were behind her, separated by boards, with a safe space between Gracie and Amy for the A.I. man to work:

 Gracie was the first to be checked. He said she was not in heat, which was good news because she'd been bred previously and was presumably pregnant. I let her out of the gate and out the barn door:

 Then we moved Amy up to the head gate and the A.I. man checked. He declared her in heat and inseminated her with bull semen I'd purchased months ago and he keeps stored in liquid nitrogen. Then we let her go:

 The next in line was Violet. She had not calved last year and didn't seem to be coming into heat this year. I feared that something was wrong and that she might have to turn her into beef:

 I brought Violet up to the head lock gate. She was so very wide that she barely fit in the squeeze chute:

 The A.I. man checked to see if she was in heat:

 And then he checked again. He said that I'd better go back over my records, for there was a 7 or 8 month old calf in there. I later checked my records and found I hadn't marked down any breeding date. But I did record her being in heat on June 22. She must have been bred on that date and I just forgot to mark it down, making the calf due about March 28. That's great news for both me and Violet. Stay tuned for news of a March birth:

The A.I. man and I left the barn and were chatting when a neighbor rode by and stopped to talk. Her appearance seemed to fit the day, the landscape and my retirement hobby. Such is the beauty of rural life:

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