The Coming of the Heat


Dumplin is back on the job.
This Friday will be three weeks since the last time Glory Bee was in heat. I had been planning to give her a shot to put her in heat, but she went into heat on her own, on a Friday, throwing everything off schedule on the artificial insemination (AI) because I couldn’t get hold of the vet in time or get bull semen ordered and delivered in time.
Because I was going out of town, and because a natural heat is more fertile than an induced heat, I decided to wait it out for her next cycle to come around.
So I’ve been heat testing with Dumplin since I got back. A cow, any cow, will react to a cow in heat (even if the cow doing the reacting is another female). I’m keeping Glory Bee and Dumplin separated, just putting them together for 30 minutes every morning and evening, to test Dumplin’s reaction when Glory Bee comes around. Last night, Dumplin tried to ride her. She tried again this morning, but Glory Bee isn’t “standing” for it. Standing heat is the fertile time. Glory Bee is still skipping away from her. But, she’s coming in to heat, and soon. I ordered the bull semen yesterday and it will arrive today. I’m keeping the vet updated, and most likely, she will be coming to inseminate Glory Bee tomorrow.

I’ve never had AI done on a cow, so I’m really fascinated with the process. If this works, I’ll have a black angus cross baby by the first of May!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn | Permalink  

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That Darn Dumplin


Dumplin’s been doing her job–too well. I started watching for signs of heat, ahead of giving Glory Bee the shot of lutalyse that was scheduled to be given on Sunday morning, to throw her into heat by Monday evening or Tuesday morning. Then the vet would come back and she would be inseminated. There was a chance Glory Bee might go into heat naturally, before the shot, so I started watching for signs of heat right away.

A cow, male or female, will respond to another cow in heat by riding up on them. It’s one of the simplest and most obvious signs of heat. So I separated Dumplin and Glory Bee, only putting them together for 30 minutes every morning and every evening to see how Dumplin would react.

Wednesday evening, no reaction.

Thursday morning, no reaction.

Thursday evening, no reaction.

Friday morning, no reaction.

Friday evening….
Then she rode up on Glory Bee three times in a row.

So. It was Friday evening. The worst time possible. I couldn’t order bull semen on the weekend. She was supposed to have the shot on Sunday, I’d order the semen on Monday, and be ready for a Tuesday or Wednesday insemination depending on when she went into heat.

I called Dr. Mason. She gave me several options, and I chose to wait until Glory Bee goes into heat again, naturally, in three weeks. A cow goes into heat approximately every 21 days, and a natural heat is more fertile than an artificially induced one, so now that we know her cycle, we can be prepared to hit her up on the next one.

But it was disappointing. I didn’t even get to be all tough and everything and give her the shot!

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  1. IMG_2566

    July 10, 2014 - Dumplin Finds a Job!

    Mobile veterinarian Dr. Clara Mason and her technician pulled up to Sassafras Farm yesterday afternoon to check out Glory Bee.

    They’re getting out the long gloves. They’re going in! I got Glory Bee in her milkstand with her headlock. Not that she cared. Once she’s digging in to her big feed, she really doesn’t give a hoot what’s going on back there…. Continued…

  1. IMG_2527

    July 9, 2014 - Expectations of Expecting

    Today, the vet comes to check Glory Bee, figure out where she is currently in her cycle so that the shot to throw her into heat can be scheduled. This will be followed up with the insemination, so this is the first step of artificial insemination. Glory Bee and I are so excited!

    Or at least one of us is.

    I’ll be back to report. I’ve … Continued…

  1. IMG_2506

    July 7, 2014 - A More Permanent Path

    Last year, I had this temporary chute of fencing set up to get Glory Bee across the access roads between fields for milking.

    It worked all right for Glory Bee, but anytime I was also moving other cows with her, especially calves, they’d just sprint under the wires and dance off. Calves think they are so funny. You should have seen Moon Pie chasing the chickens … Continued…

  1. IMG_2383

    June 16, 2014 - Angry Baby

    Moon Pie looks a little sullen here, doesn’t she?

    I’ve started milking Glory Bee twice a day.

    When milking Glory Bee once a day, I milk her in the mornings. After she finishes working, she gets some time off with the children. I put her in the field with Dumplin and Moon Pie. Moon Pie gets to eat … Continued…

  1. IMG_2324

    June 3, 2014 - A-Milkin’ We Will Go

    It’s workshop season, and Glory Bee and I are in full milking swing. This makes everybody happy except Moon Pie and Dumplin, who do not like to be separated from MOMMY. Sometimes there’s a lot of bellowing. And crying. And whining. And pitiful cow eyes. But everyone is surviving. I load up my little cart and take it to the … Continued…

  1. IMG_2155

    May 21, 2014 - Maia Has a Mini Me!

    Lizzie is my little goat with the lopsided ears.

    When I first heard about Lizzie, the lady told me that she thought she’d end up having to keep Lizzie because she had this lopsided ear issue. One ear is shorter than the other. Of course, then I said, “I’ll take her!”

    Because I’m weird like that…. Continued…

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

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