Pregnancy check and calf vaccinations for fall 2018 are recorded history. October 25, 2018 held on to become a pretty nice day. Veterinarian was hour and half late, but with the changes i’d made in the corral which made it more user friendly, we still managed to finish before dark. The changes shaved at least an hour off working time.
Results of preg check were far more favorable than i could have ever expected given the very hot, dry, droughty, short grass conditions.
THRILLED with this result even had there not been a drought and i hadn’t changed the breeding season.
Since i was going to Kenya this summer and because i cannot be out past the 15th of August to move the bulls away from the cows (because of severe ragweed allergy), i changed the breeding season from 17 July to 7 July and lopped off 12 days on the end. In other words, last year breeding season was 17 july – 20 September, but this year is 6 July – 19 August. Breeding season went from 65 days to 45 days.
According to gestation tables, this puts the first calves arriving April 14th and the last ones on May 28. I do not like to start calving so early, but since the Corriente cows give such rich milk and combine with heat, humidity, and toxic endophyte fescue of late spring, it was a disaster the two years i calved them out in the mid-May to end of June time frame. (30% calf death loss due to scours despite major treatment). Add in my allergies, i made the decision for my present season. We can get some super nasty weather, however, in April, so time will tell.
Measuring for improvement
*(these two young cows raised the biggest calves – not sustainable for my operation)
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.
Tuesday started early with rising before dawn. The vet was coming about 8:30am, so we needed to have the cows and calves mustered and sorted before then. We were running a bit late, but thankfully, so was the vet, so that all worked out. We got started with the first calf through the chute about 9:30 am and finished about 2:30pm, with less than half an hour for pizza from PB5 that Allen and his dad brought up for us all.
When i say that the calves were worked, this means they are receiving their vaccinations: IBR-BVD-PI3, BRSV and 7-way blackleg, the heifers are calf-hooded (OCV vaccine). All are dehorned if necessary, except for the roping calves and bull calves are castrated. I also give them an ID ear tag. It’s quite a deal for the calves, but we use Bud Williams’ low stress handling and this keeps any stress to a very minimum. All the animals stay very quiet, which certainly cuts down on accidents. I believe the only injury was Dallas getting kicked by a baby calf. Still hurts, though. Their tiny hooves can be sharp enough to cut.
After the vet and his helper from Brookfield Veterinarian Clinic,left, we tagged a few cows which had lost ear tags. All in all, it was a very low key, quiet event. Very thankful.
We arrived home by 5:30 after checking the stock and moving equipment home, after which I had those lambs to feed – boy were they hungry!. Then it was off to put the testicles (Rocky Mountain oysters) in John’s frig, then up to Purdin to pick up milk.
One more lamb feeding just before dark and put them to bed. Shower and bed!