Breeding Cattle Without the Bull

Most of the time we breed our cattle to bulls naturally, but occasionally we want to introduce blood lines from bulls that are not available to us. These are some of the best bulls of our breed that had their semen collected when they were alive. We have a semen tank that is filled with liquid nitrogen freezing our semen collection in straws or amps. Some of this semen is over 40 years old.

The use of artificial insemination will ensure that our cow herd had quality blood lines without in-breeding.

The artificial insemination process is illustrated in this entertaining video.

We used semen this time collected from bulls back in 1971 through 1996.

The process starts by inserting a Cidr into the vagina of the cow. This will release a small amount of progesteron and cause the cow to be synchronized and come into heat at a certain time. We also give them a Cystorelin shot to treat any ovarian follicula the cow may have in her ovary. This video cover the entire process of inserting the Cidr and how the progesteron works (a college type lecture and demonstration).

We remove the Cidr a week from the time it was inserted and at that time give the cow a Lutalyse shot. This will stimulate esturs and within 24-72 hrs the cow will go into heat. When heat is detected the cow is inseminated with semen. We detect the heat by placing a tape on the cow’s tail head when we remove the Cidr. When she goes into a standing heat, other cows will mount her (breeding stance) and rub off the gray on the tape and expose bright orange. You inseminated the cow within 6-10 hours or so of this event.

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Cows waiting for their turn in the chute.

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The Cidr in the white tube. The blue tool is used to insert it.

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The process if very quick.

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The gray heat tape is before use and the orange is when the cow has gone into a standing heat.

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The straws contained semen produced in the last 25 year or so. The glass amp semen date back almost 40 years.

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Each straw or amp has the name of the bull, date collected and registration number of the bull.

We had our game plan down to start our cows that we would use artificial insemination on January 24 breeding them Starting February 2. Well, that worked for cows in heat February 2 and 3rd, but then we had a snow and ice storm and could not get to the cows that came into heat later.

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The roads were covered in ice and snow.

We waited until February 15, re-inserted the Cidr’s and started over. February 28 we completed our process and we were successful on 12 of 13 target cows. The cows were put back in pasture with bulls to “clean up” in case the AI did not work. If they cycle it will be in 21 days give or take a few days. We shall be watching them. In any case, around December 1, 2011 we should have baby calves on the ground from these cows.

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Bruno checking out a lady.

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Riddler waiting for a cow

Next year, we plan doing something different. We will cycle our best cows and flush out their eggs. We will use semen form some very good bulls to fertilize the eggs in a dish, We hope to have other cows cycled and ready to accept the eggs and breed up to eight cows with that one cows eggs and bull semen. Some of the embryo will be frozen in nitrogen to be introduced into cows at a later date.