Cow AI - who and how?

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14 years 4 months ago #21551 by foufee
Cow AI - who and how? was created by foufee
Hi all,

following our interest in a House cow (which we have not yet got) we are just trying to anticipate what we need to think about for getting her pregnant. We are thinking probably a jersey or at least jersey cross cow, hopefully an experienced house cow

The neighbours bull is perhaps a bit big and thinking about it there have been a couple of cows lost during calving so may not be such a good option.

AI - who does it - a vet, a specialised tech? any suggestions in the wairarapa.

Semen - where does one acquire the necessary from? and what breeds would people recommend and about how much is a straw/dose

our other neighbours have good cattle yards/race etc so the setup for doing the task is available, but they fatten rather than breed and currently have Simmental bulls growing on

cheers

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14 years 4 months ago #312358 by Inger
Replied by Inger on topic Cow AI - who and how?
Semen straws can be bought from Ambreed, GENZ and others. They have a variety of breeds available, so you can get Jersey or a smaller beef breed from them.

Your vet will be able to give you the contact details of your nearest technician and he/she will then be able to advise you how to proceed from there.

45 hectares between Whangarei and Paparoa. Registered Dexter cattle, Wiltshire sheep - black, white & pied.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry. Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
A cat called Pusscat and still looking for another heading dog.

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14 years 4 months ago #312359 by Isla
Replied by Isla on topic Cow AI - who and how?
Did you do a search in her for AI? We've discussed this at length several times. Have a look and see if you can find those threads.

I paid $90 last year for a sexed Jersey straw, but you can get a straw of semen for $10. It'll be the cost of having a tech out to do the job which will cost you the most. Ring LIC and ask them when and how you could have a tech to visit.

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14 years 4 months ago #312360 by Isla
Replied by Isla on topic Cow AI - who and how?

Inger;297103 wrote: ...Your vet will be able to give you the contact details of your nearest technician...

You reckon? They might, probably won't know. Not generally their area of interest/expertise.

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14 years 4 months ago #312361 by Inger
Replied by Inger on topic Cow AI - who and how?
If its to do with animals, they should jolly well make themselves interested. ;)

I'm going to need to find a technician around here somewhere, in a few years. I've got some imported semen put by with one of the semen storage companies and I'm waiting for a few good heifers to come along, so I can hopefully produce our own replacement bull calves.

You don't happen to know of a technician down this neck of the woods do you? I don't really want to have to send them off farm, to be near enough to a technician, but I will do, if that's what it takes. We're a bit off the beaten track here.

45 hectares between Whangarei and Paparoa. Registered Dexter cattle, Wiltshire sheep - black, white & pied.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry. Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
A cat called Pusscat and still looking for another heading dog.

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14 years 4 months ago #312367 by hilldweller
Replied by hilldweller on topic Cow AI - who and how?
My vet clinic put me onto my AI technician. Searching for 'AI' doesn't seem to work - not enough letters perhaps? Try searching for 'technician' instead - that's a nice long word :)

Generally Ambreed and LIC have technicians based in and around dairy farming areas. Give their office a call and find out in advance what you need to do and who you should contact when the time comes, and also what time of year they're available. They may have someone available year round but AI'ing is usually a seasonal job.

Depending what breed you want, Ambreed/LIC will be able to supply the semen - anything from about $10 per straw upwards, plus a handling fee. Insem cost for a single cow is around $40 per insem. Success rate - if the timing is right - is 65-70% (from memory - someone on here may wish to adjust that slightly), so you should bear in mind you might need a second attempt about three weeks later. So there's a bit of cost involved, but on the plus side, you have the advantage of choosing the bull you want and getting one who's a known quantity and a good example of his breed.

Breed of bull - something that's unlikely to lead to calving problems from too big a calf, and then something that will give you the sort of calf you want (eg dairy or beefy). Once you have your cow it will be easier to decide - her breed, size and calving history are all things you'd want to consider.

It's good you have the use of yards :)

Will you have only the one cow? If so, detecting when she's in heat is likely to be the biggest challenge - especially if you work away from home - and it might be worth seeing if you can borrow a couple of friends for her at the appropriate time. Do a search on 'heat detection' and 'kamar' if you're interested as there have been other threads on this.

hilldweller

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14 years 4 months ago #312373 by Isla
Replied by Isla on topic Cow AI - who and how?
Inger, I don't know any of the techs these days, not needing to. I'd phone LIC if I were you and ask if they have one in the area, or would they put you onto anyone who has worked for them who might live around there? When I retire you can shout me a three-week holiday in the bay and I'll come and do your cows.

Otherwise just keep your ears open for talk of anyone around. Maybe you could attract a holidaying technician with just such a holiday deal! Free holiday, all found, for all inseminations during their stay. Depending on how many heifers you had to do, it might be quite cost affective.

In this forum, I think you need to search a word like insemination to find the threads, since AI is too short.

I got 82.5% of my 40 cows last year with one insemination each. It's a combination of good heat detection, being able to inseminate at the right time (i.e. I'll do them after midnight if I decide that's the right moment! - Don't know how the new neighbours are feeling about that one yet; one can never be completely silent. [;)]), good semen handling so you don't kill them off on the way to the cow, and finally, good technique. I suspect the technique bit might be flexible to some extent in that even a cow trying to leap out of the race, which consequently gets only a small drip of a straw about 1/3 of the way through her cervix, can still conceive to that insemination. I think semen handling and timing are vastly more important. Mind you, if you don't put that little drop near enough to exactly the right place, success rates are not going to be fabulous.

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14 years 4 months ago #312378 by Inger
Replied by Inger on topic Cow AI - who and how?
Having small hands is probably a help as well. ;)

We'd only be looking at a couple of cows in a year. I'm waiting for the birth of a nice looking Red and a good black Dexter heifer, before I'm willing to use the straws. If I want a good bull, the dam has to be pretty good as well, or I'm wasting my time.

Another 1 or 2 generations and any bull calves we get, will be high enough in the Dexter percentage to register. I've got one heifer calf this year that's looking good, but time will tell.

I think I'll have to wait until a red cow has her second breeding before I can use the Red Dexter semen, as he's a bigger bull and a higher average birthweight from all accounts. So waiting for a 3 year old to use the straws on, might be sensible.

The other thing is, a second calver will produce more milk, so the calf will have a better start in life. Which is all to the better, if I'm wanting a breeding bull.

Its still a few years off, but the holiday idea is a good one. I'll bear that in mind.

45 hectares between Whangarei and Paparoa. Registered Dexter cattle, Wiltshire sheep - black, white & pied.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry. Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
A cat called Pusscat and still looking for another heading dog.

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14 years 4 months ago #312382 by hilldweller
Replied by hilldweller on topic Cow AI - who and how?

Isla;297119 wrote:
I got 82.5% of my 40 cows last year with one insemination each. It's a combination of good heat detection, being able to inseminate at the right time (i.e. I'll do them after midnight if I decide that's the right moment! -

Your percentages are consistently higher than average [^]

Foufee - generally what happens is that you notice the cow on heat in the morning (or that she's been on overnight), call the tech then, and they'll visit late afternoon/evening, or, you notice her on heat in the evening, call the tech then, and they'll be there the next morning. Their day is planned around milking times for dairy herds. You'll be expected to have the cow waiting in the yards and to be there yourself. The AI tech will bring the straw. The whole process takes only a few seconds. Generally the cows don't seem to mind being AI'd and there's minimal fuss involved.

hilldweller

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14 years 4 months ago #312383 by sod
Replied by sod on topic Cow AI - who and how?
if there are dairy farmers around you go and ask them as they will know the tech. or maybe they do their own and could do yours for you

Having time is a measure of enthusiasm:rolleyes:

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14 years 4 months ago #312398 by eelcat
Replied by eelcat on topic Cow AI - who and how?
Farmgeek will know - PM him and ask.

1 Border collie, 1 Huntaway, 2 Lhasa Apsos, Suffolk and arapawa ewe crosses, an Arapawa ram,an East Friesian ewe , 5 cats, 42 ducks , 1 rooster and 30 hens, 5 geese, 12 goats, 2 donkeys, 2 house cows, one heifer calf, one bull calf, 3 rabbits and lots and lots and lots of fruit trees...

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14 years 4 months ago #312404 by Isla
Replied by Isla on topic Cow AI - who and how?

Inger;297124 wrote: Having small hands is probably a help as well. ...

The guy who was my senior technician for my training, is the fastest inseminator I've met, excellent conception rates, and has HUGE hands. Watching him go in can be a bit gruesome.

hilldweller;297129 wrote: Your percentages are consistently higher than average [^] ......The whole process takes only a few seconds. Generally the cows don't seem to mind being AI'd and there's minimal fuss involved.

I took over ten minutes in a heifer the other day! They're hard work, with their tiny little cervixes (or is that cervices?). Once the semen straw is in the body of the animal and receiving no more temperature shocks, it doesn't matter too much. I had a cow at 11pm the other night which whacked me around the head with her tail last year - this year my assistant had it firmly in hand! I'm probably getting slower over time too, since I only inseminate about 50 times a season now.

When you have someone else come in to do your one or two cows, always have everything ready and be prepared to do anything you hadn't realised might have been necessary. Make it the easiest job they do that morning/evening, so they're happy to come back next time. If you have a private arrangement with someone, make sure you pay them fairly, or they just might not bother to come next year. (I mention that one as a now-reluctant private inseminator: I rarely do it for others because I have to travel, I carry the risk of carting a bank full of thousands of dollars' value of semen around with me, it takes time, sometimes the facilities are not quite as good as I'd like ... If my "client" is mean, I don't really feel like going back; I have other things to do.)

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14 years 4 months ago #312406 by hilldweller
Replied by hilldweller on topic Cow AI - who and how?
Yep and for techs employed by the big companies, their incentive is the money they make from doing high volumes of insems for dairy herds (which, as I understand it, pays very well indeed), not the small extra amount they get for doing one or two housecows they've had to travel specially to see. If their employer has agreed to provide you with that service, it's part of the tech's job and they should do it willingly, but it's not the reason they're in the job. So as Isla says, do what you can to make life easy for them.

hilldweller

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14 years 4 months ago #312411 by cowvet
Replied by cowvet on topic Cow AI - who and how?

Isla;297105 wrote: You reckon? They might, probably won't know. Not generally their area of interest/expertise.


A practice such as mine (rural/cattle focused) would have a very good idea of the good AI technicians in the area. We often cross paths and work in with one another when we both end up at the same place at the same time. The local vet would also know of neighbours
to Foufee that may do their own AI and be able to do one cow for a neighbour.

I also have a very good AI technician that has a decent sized run during the AI season and then works in the clinic as a vet technician for us for the rest of the year - many cattle based clinics will have a good working relationship with AI providers so I would think that the vet could well be the best way to deal with ONE cow.


I love animals...they're delicious

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14 years 4 months ago #312447 by Valmai
Replied by Valmai on topic Cow AI - who and how?
Search for "Artificial Breeding" (AB) rather than AI.

Carbon-based biological unit.

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