Double Date


Mobile vet Clara Mason was back at Sassafras Farm on Saturday (with her “weekend assistant” husband) to AI (artificially inseminate) Glory Bee and Dumplin. Here, she was preparing for the insemination at her truck before going to the barn. The semen arrives in a large container. Inside that container is the liquid nitrogen tank. And inside that is a package that contains the straws of frozen semen.
I had three straws of black angus semen.
The semen is loaded into a long narrow tube that is inserted into the cow’s cervix. Air is pumped in to push the semen out of the tube.

Of course, it’s a bit of a violation.
But good mother-daughter bonding time!
Glory Bee: “Close your eyes, baby. Just think of England.”
I don’t think Dumplin understood.

The papa is a revist from Night Off, a black angus bull from somewhere, who comes to woo my cows in his liquid nitrogen coach. It was like a double date for Glory Bee and Dumplin. Except only one boyfriend and he didn’t even buy them dinner.

Glory Bee had a double dose–two straws–and one for Dumplin. Dumplin is no longer a virgin. The vet told me as she was breaking her hymen. Being Dumplin’s first experience, she was a bit disturbed. The vet asked for a bale of straw to put behind her to make sure she didn’t get a kicking.
She suggested some modifications for the chute, which is my milking stall, that will help make it a safer situation for reproductive services, and I will be taking care of that as quickly as possible. I’ll either modify this one, or build a new one that is specifically for vet work. Other than her initial reaction for a few rough moments, she said Dumplin behaved very well for a first-timer! We were proud.
Even though they were given the shot of lutalyse to throw them into heat at the same time, their bodies still react individually. I was trying most to time it to be perfect for Glory Bee, but the vet said by the feel of things once she got in there, it was absolutely perfect timing on Dumplin and we might have been slightly off on Glory Bee. We’ll see in three weeks. They’re synced on their heat cycles now, and I’ll be watching them for signs of heat, especially riding.

For those of you who don’t know, any cow (male or female) will ride a cow in heat. Sometimes they even ride each other to show dominance or are just messing around. ONLY a cow in heat will stand still when being ridden, though. So that’s how I tell who is bred–or not. Whoever is standing still for riding.

Fingers crossed that that’s…..NOBODY.

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Back to the Drawing Board


Several months ago, I had Glory Bee AI’ed (artificially inseminated) with black angus bull semen. I had mobile vet Clara Mason here yesterday to check on the results.
Glory Bee will not be knitting calf booties anytime soon. She is NOT bred. I was so sure she was! She looked pregnant. Even the vet looked at her when she arrived and said she looked pregnant. Everyone has thought Glory Bee looked pregnant. Sigh!

She was given a shot of lutalyse to throw her into heat and I brought in Dumplin.
Dumplin and I were quite proud of our training work. She still gets a little confused sometimes when she walks into the milking parlor, but she figures herself out pretty quickly and goes into the headlock. She just needs a minute to remember her homework.
Dumplin was given her dose of lutalyse. If things go as planned this time, she and mommy can be knitting booties together for fall calves!

Now I’m on heat watch, waiting for Glory Bee and Dumplin to start “riding” each other, showing signs of heat. By the end of the week, the vet should be back to AI them both with black angus semen.
The mister has already arrived in his liquid nitrogen coach.

Next up, Moon Pie, who will be one year old in March. Sometime this summer, I’ll have her AI’ed, too.

If I can just get all the girls bred this year, my little beef herd is on its way. I’ll go from three cows to six. (Girls will be kept for breeding. Boys will…..go.)

Crossing fingers it works this time.

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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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