Earlier this week, I moved my cows and calves to Cord Road with the intention of sorting off a few cows which I did not want to joined with the bulls, which will be turned out the 22nd of July. The particular morning chosen was ideal because it was 63F degrees! Such a change from the intense and long lasting high temperatures and high humidity we have been experiencing and within a couple days the weather went right back to the intense heat.
Once the cattle were in the road, which I had blocked off at the end of the road and beside the gate through which they had passed, I set up a single strand electric polybraid to form a small holding yard to contain each cow as I sorted her off. This worked exceptionally well. The only difficulty was to get the now weaned calf which belonged to the cow which died by tree roots a few days ago. It had lost its sight to a large extent, so was particularly hard to handle, but I gave it a pass – blind, no momma for guidance, strange location (this is a purchased cow/calf and the calf had never been to this location), and being pushed around. Nevertheless, she was coaxed, along with the cows I’d sorted off, into the hay barn from which we would load out. Dallas had arrived with the trailer just in time to help me get that calf in. Thank goodness – I might have had to give up and that would not have bode well for a lone calf on its own in life.
We loaded out of the hay barn which was not without challenge since there is no facility to do so. But they respect a hot wire, so a rope posing as a hazing fence was helpful to encourage them to hop into the trailer. The rest of the cows had already walked across to the Bowyer farm.
From the time I left home at 5:30 am to my return was about 8 hours, but it takes me an hour and 10 minutes drive with return in my Gator. Nevertheless, I took a lot of steps and was spent by mid afternoon, but very glad to have that task completed.
Big ranch outfits often do timed AI, but we’ve never done this, so quite the experiment for us. There is a lot of time and cattle handling involved which translates, of course, to more labor costs. Time will tell if all this is really worth it. We have hired a professional AI technicial to insert the CIDRS and do the AI (artificial insemination).
18 August – Mustered the cows and replacements heifers for CIDR placement to begin at 7am along with a Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) vaccination. Doug, the technician had a flat tire so was running about 30 minutes late. Not a problem. The cows sorted nicely and went through the chute with no problems. We managed a pace of 67 cows per hour for a total of 3 1/2 hours from start of CIDR insertion to being finished. Sorting of course, was started an hour earlier. Weather was perfectly cloudy, cool, with rain starting after we finished!.
25 August – Mustered the cows and replacements heifers in again at 4:30 removal of the CIDRS in the cows which also received the lutalyse shot\. Sorted off the replacement heifers and held in corral overnight. A little warm starting here in the afternoon, but not too bad. about 82F, but began to cool off quickly. We were finished by 7:30p.
26 August – Removal of CIDRS in heifers at 7am. Also received a shot of lutalyse. Had a couple of calves to doctor, then let the whole mob down into the timber.
27 August – 6pm – went to muster the cows into the small lot by corral. RIck had already unrolled 4 bales of good hay, but the cows had found their way out of the timber. Took until 7:30 to get them in! Note to self: Leave the cows in the small lot with high quality hay rather than turning them out and having difficulty getting them back in. My thoughts are that they are really tired of getting poked and prodded, so were quite reluctant to move back towards the corral and with all the hormones raging at this point, they are pretty distracted.
We finished about 12;30 pm and had AI’d 210 animals in five hours. If I get 55% of the cows bred to Red Eddard, that’d be industry standard. As expensive as this whole process is, I hope for better – only time will tell. The cows have all been inseminated with Red Eddard, a red Aberdeen Angus that was collected at Cogent and has been sold by Dunlouise Angus to another farmer.
28 August – morning start at 7am with the cows; the heifers were held until last so that the timing is right for best chance of successful AI and conception for each group. Cows should be AI’d 60-66 hours after CIDR removal and heifers about 54-60 hours. Both receiving a second Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) shot. A bit late getting started. Cows were, not surprisingly, reluctant to go into the corral, but at last they made it. We started about 7:30 am again. Everything went very well today, however, and we finished about 12:30pm.
I made my final selection of cows to use for embryo transplant work
and only ended up with 17 for 10 embryos. Hopefully, enough cows will be in standing heat this coming week and none fall out for other reasons, so that each of 10 embryos will have a new home inside a momma’s womb. AND remain viable.
ET cows were hauled home and now I spend time each day, all day checking for standing heat and writing down the time and the cow’s ear tag number. All cows will be hauled to Trans-Ova in Chillicothe, MO on the 4th of September for ET. HOPE, HOPE, HOPE i get some live calves out of those embryos. It’s SO expensive.
Dallas and I dewormed the sheep in the late afternoon – had just done it 20 days ago, but sheep were dying! I found out that the previous owner of these sheep had already put his own flock on an 18 day deworming schedule. Add this to the growing list of reasons why i’m selling off the sheep – more work, more expense, more loss.