Just finished pregnancy checking a few cows, including my recip (recipient) cows. Remember that 10 cows were implanted with Aberdeen-Angus embryos on the 24th and 25th of September. The verdict: of the ten, six are bred! That is 60%! Which is so exciting. It sounds like a low percentage, but consider that these embryos were collected and frozen in Scotland on 17 March 2015, then shipped frozen in August to Los Angeles, passed through customs, then on to GENEX in Billings, Montana continuing to Trans-Ova in Chillicothe, MO. Then thawed and implanted. That’s a LOT of room for error.
These cows are scheduled to calve about 25 June 2016. A lot can happen between now and then and even at calving and during the calf’s growing years. So the risk continues.
Suffice it to say, i may have the most colourful recip cows in the county!
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.
“Scotland is a pretty country. The roads are so winding that they seem designed to ensure a maximally scenic experience, and the fields are greener than in most other places by orders of magnitude. They are also pleasantly irregular, having been parceled off in an age before right angles, and are separated by fences hewed out of rock or long and commendably trim hedges. A knight in armor on horseback would look less out of place on a Scottish road than a car does. But what would look most natural of all is a golf cart. The entire country is a vision of the golfing afterlife, with epic stretches of fairway and rough, and the odd clump of forest for texture. Fields stretch out to the horizon, covering the rises in the land the way a taut blanket covers an uprise of toes. Looking skyward, you have the feeling that the hand of God might plunge through the cloud cover to stroke all that dewy pasture like an old woman patting a cat.”
At last the day arrived for our flight to Scotland. We deliberately scheduled our stay to include being in Edinburgh for the big vote! On September 18, citizens of Scotland will vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a referendum that will give them the opportunity to become independent from England.
Edinburgh has endured through the ages, with archaeologists really not able to establish the exact date of the famous castle of the same name which serves as the anchor for the town. Some references to the castle exist from 600 AD. However, it is certain that the castle became a royal principality under King Malcom III with his youngest son having died here in 1107 AD. Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland since 1437, but under English rule since 1707.
Allen drove us to the Kansas City airport for our first and uneventful flight to Chicago, however, mechanical failures on our trans-Atlantic 757, caused 2 hours of delay as the plane sat at the gate with every seat booked. Once underway, however, the flight was excellent. Thankfully, I slept a good deal of the way, but the boys stayed awake watching movies until our break through the clouds to a dark and misty Edinburgh – the weatherman describes it as ‘murky.’
Since we had no checked luggage and most of the passengers were locals, we proceeded quickly through customs due to a short line and the late arrival. After exchanging a few dollars into pounds, we found a call booth to ring Dave Stewart, our ‘meet and greet’ guy for the apartment. What a treat to discover that he arranged for us to check in 2 1/2 hours earlier than the 2pm standard check in time!
Both boys took long naps, then whilst Nathan continued sleeping, Dallas and I found a grocery store only seven minutes walk away. After a snack of Scottish-made butter, cheese, and freshly baked bread, we toured the John Knox House and a made a quick run through the Museum of Edinburgh, both a short stroll east of our 1 Parliament Square apartment.
Nathan’s knee was beginning to bother him, so he headed back to the room – taking fine photos along the way; Dallas and i stopped by the grocer again and selected some meat (including a chub of haggis, and chips, all made in Scotland to augment our snacks, as well as eggs and biscuits for brecky. We have found this to be a tremendous savings to prepare our meals in the full kitchen versus eating meals out.
As the terrified screams from participants of the Edinburgh ghost tours wafts away in the late hours ,our eyes grow heavy and we drift off to sleep.
This week our area received up to 10 inches of rain in one night! Flood waters raged in the night and next day. After two days, the waters are starting to recede back to their banks, but a lot is trapped in sloughs, oxbows, and drainage ditches. ALL of our water gaps are gone – not just mangled – but gone! The boys and I are leaving for Scotland on Sunday, so I’m thankful that husband Allen and right-hand man, Christian, will be hard at repair and rebuild. They will have at least two weeks dedicated to repairing and rebuilding the water gaps, interior paddock fences and posts, cutting up trapped logs and trees and removing from culverts and fences. They’ll put up temporary fence up until they can get to all of the perimeter water gaps to keep cattle and sheep from getting out onto the roads and neighbour’s fields. Many have compared this flash flood to one which occurred in 1946 – yes, this one is worse than the 1993 flooding!
My allergy prick test resulting in.. several grasses, trees, cattle, cats, molds, and, of course , ragweed stood far and away the worst. After the prick testing, I could take Benadryl which I could not do for these previous five days which has resulted in being trapped in the house and sleeping very little due to such discomfort. Once my appointment was over, Allen (who had thankfully driven me to and from Columbia), took me out to the Olive Garden at which I took two old Benadryls I found in an obscure pocket of my purse. Within a few minutes, relief was on its way, and despite drinking three cups of coffee with lunch, drowsiness crept in. Allen took the wheel and within five minutes of leaving the restaurant, I was sawing logs and what seemed like two minutes later I awoke to us pulling into the Orscheln’s parking lot in Brookfield (2 hours actually). We had stopped in to pick up my script for a steroid to help get me caught up. I plan to sleep some more tonight because I feel pretty daggone good now! I won’t start the oral immunotherapy drops until after we return from our month in ragweed free Scotland. How a healthy person can be so miserable for weeks on end is beyond me!