Monday, May 15, 2017

The Red Poll Girls

The last of the 88 big round bales was gone in late April, which in most years would have been just right. But this year, I had to keep bringing small, squares bales out to the bale feeder from inside the barn. That ended the first week of May:

Violet tested negative for Bovine Leukosis Virus, which was a blessing - but as far as I could determine, she never passed the mummified fetus. The next step is to take a blood test for progesterone level, but Violet does not want to be fooled into coming inside the barn again. In fact, none of the cows have been willing to come into the barn for nearly a month now. I ring the bell for them and they lift their heads, look at me, then continue grazing:

Gracie and Amy:

Gracie again. She looks much thinner in this photo:

I've come to realize that Red Polls develop large briskets, which is the projection on the cows' breast, and an indication of how obese they are. My cows have gotten much too fat:

Life is good for these girls, and they have no job to do but lounge around and eat:

Rosella is pregnant, but not due for a few more months:

Jasmine was due April 30 and looked enormous, ready to pop at any moment. Alas, it never happened. It's not so unusual that the artificial insemination didn't take, but I worry that I haven't seen her in heat over the past 10 months:

Gracie and Scarlett:

Gracie too was due April 30, but she also disappointed me. You can see why I believed she was pregnant. I guess she was just fat:

But despite the problems, the girls are healthy. I don't believe there is anything wrong with them except obesity. The problem is my letting them get so fat and not watching closely enough to know when they are in heat. There may also have been a problem with the semen used, but all the old semen is gone now anyway and we are using a new bull's semen now:

Gracie and Scarlett. I've been very discouraged by these failures, but will need to double down on my management of the herd:

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