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Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

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May 13, 2010

How Our Cows Become Pregnant ~ not how you might think

Dominic and my father in law, George, do all of the breeding of cows here on our ranch.  This is done by artificial insemination (AI).  Most cows and heifers become pregnant this way on the ranch.  If there is a cow that has a difficult time becoming pregnant due to different factors, the bull is always up for the job with a more concentrated amount of semen to be deposited the natural way.

A KMAR Heat Detector is placed on the cow's back, near the tail dock.  This is white or clear in color when not activated.  As soon as a cow wearing the KMAR allows another cow to mount her (which means she's in heat) the KMAR is activated by the pressure of the other cow and the white color turns to red.  Time for breeding.



Warning:

If you become a bit queasy with poop talk and photos of such, this next section may not be for you.

Don't worry, you won't hurt my feelings by exiting now.

Okay, don't say I didn't warn you!

With an examination glove on, Dominic reaches into the rectum of the cow and proceeds to clean out most of the feces. Doing this, will allow him to then feel the reproductive track of the cow through the rectum membrane.  He can feel the cervix, ovaries and uterus of the cow through the membrane that separates the rectal canal from the reproductive organs.



Those are pipettes in his mouth.....


Pipette........


With Dominic's arm still inserted in the rectum, he can feel the cervix as he uses is other hand to guide the pipette, which carries the semen, into the vagina, through the cervix and into the uterus with the deposit of semen.



Wham, bam, done.

The entire process takes just a few minutes.

The cows are not at all uncomfortable through this process.  The use of artificial insemination is for genetic purposes and for the safety of the dairyman or woman, not having bulls breeding at all times.  The reduction of disease problems, a lower risk of venereal disease transmission,  and virtually eliminating the spread of reproductive diseases from cow to cow are other pros when using the proper AI technique.

After this process is complete, 37-38 days later we have our vet, Dr. Nathan come out to do a pregnancy check to see if the insemination was successful.  And we'll have a calf in nine months or so.

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