Back to the Bull


Beulah Petunia started up bellowing on the morning of June 9. By that afternoon, we had her down the road to the bull. The bull didn’t pay much attention to her at first. It was June 14 before he was actively writing love songs to her. I thought maybe we’d gotten her there too early, but maybe we actually got her there too late. The most fertile time for a cow is relatively brief, about 12 hours. I don’t know. I just know that 21 days later to the dot, on June 30, BP started up bellowing. She didn’t start up till the afternoon, and I’d been hopeful that morning, ready to offer her a pickle! But by afternoon, she was bellowing to beat the band and there was no denying that it was just the same as it had been on June 9 and that it was too much of a coincidence that it was Day 21.


I brought her into the goat yard in preparation for taking her down the hill, across the river, and up the road to Skip’s farm. (The road! Not over the hill and through the woods. We found last time that it was much easier to simply walk her on the road.)

During the “holding period” while she was in the goat yard, Glory Bee latched on like she’d never been a day apart from her mommy and like she’d never heard of weaning.

Meanwhile, I had a series of thoughts that went something like this:

1. I should leave BP at Skip’s farm for 25 days. I know now that she is like clockwork every 21 days. If I leave her there for 25 days I will have her there for this heat and through another heat, with no risk of missing her most fertile time by a few hours.

2. While we’ve got the mobile milk-maiding down now, it’s not fun. It’s kind of a hassle. And I’m going to do that for 25 days?

3. Glory Bee is NOT WEANED.

4. Shouldn’t the brat calf do something useful for a change?

And then I called Skip and asked him if the brat calf could come over, too.

BP nearly ran down the road. She knew where we were going this time and she could hardly wait to get there. She said, “Forget the flower! There’s no time!” She ran and ran and called to her honey and ran some more. I had a hard time keeping up with her.

Glory Bee came running right along after her, crying: “I will never leave you or turn back from following you. Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people!”

No sooner did they arrive than the bull came calling.

Everybody was so excited, they didn’t know which end was up.

They got things straightened out. (Whew.)

When I arrived the next evening to feed them, Glory Bee was doing the milking.

Mister was still in attendance, waiting in the wings.

I couldn’t get rid of him, so I had to feed him, too. (BP doesn’t share. He had to eat with Glory Bee.)

By the next evening, he was gone-gone-gone, done with BP and moving on to the next girl on his list.

Could Glory Bee get pregnant, too? Maybe. I haven’t been watching her for heat cycles, so I don’t know if she’s gone into heat yet. Likely so, but she’s half Brown Swiss and sometimes the heavier breeds reach puberty at an older age. Most of what I’ve read says the best time to breed a heifer is between 11 and 15 months. It’s supposed to be good for their lifetime reproductive health to calve for the first time by the age of two. Glory Bee is 10 months old, and she’s a big, healthy heifer. I’ll be watching every evening to see if the bull is attending her. If she does go into heat while she’s there, he’ll let me know. He’s pretty on top of things.

In a manner of speaking!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on July 5, 2011  

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20 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 7-5

    I can see it now, a three-fer. Glory Bee nursing on BP while her (GB’s) own calf nurses on her. Stringtown Farm, the farm where no calf gets weaned! The vagaries of animal husbandry.

  2. 7-5

    A friend of ours bought a new Jersey calf when it was 6 months old…just a short time ago she got a surprise calf from her…she was 4 months old when she got bred. I had NO IDEA they could get bred that young, but guess they can…so wouldn’t be surprised if you have two calves next year! :D

  3. 7-5

    If at first you don’t succeed,…….etc.

    I am surprised that she stood for him last time if she wasn’t ready. Standing heat is always the ‘right’ time for breeding.

    Hot weather could be the culprit. The bulls semen isn’t as strong (viable) in very hot weather. Good luck on this one.

    I am surprised GB didn’t try to mount BP.

    The smaller breeds mature faster. I think you will know when she comes in heat. Even Mama should be interested in her!

    Some calves are much harder to wean than others. I have forgotten how long she has been weaned… you get to start all over.

  4. 7-5

    I always count on you for a smile and laugh first thing in the morning, Suzanne! How funny if you end up with two pregnant cows… Trying not to picture Glory Bee nursing while her calve nurses… haha!

  5. 7-5

    Poor Glory Bee–does she even realize how grown up she is? Your use of that passage from the Bible had me laughing out loud.

  6. 7-5

    It’s ironic – I just read this last night in “The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading” – “Don’t breed a cow until she is 13 months old – be careful, because a three month old can conceive.” (page 207) It stuck out in my mind because I thought that was an awfully early age to conceive! :cowsleep:

  7. 7-5

    Gosh they look so awkward. I’m glad we have arms. LOL! Hope it takes this time! :)

  8. 7-5

    I swear, Suzanne, you are just a HOOT! The “dialogue” of your cows is just priceless, and the bible reference was aptly placed and hilarious! I hope BP is prego. Would it be weird if GB was preggers by the same bull as her Mama? I’m unfamiliar with the protocol and scruples of this sort of thing….

  9. 7-5

    I have had the same problem, only I called the AI man instead and it costs more than the walk down “Memory Lane”. BLESSINGS, I hope it takes this time.

  10. 7-5

    Reminds me of an old farm joke, the punch line of which was: …and there was the sow, already sitting in the wheelbarrow.” Sounds like BP had no ambivalence about where she was heading!

    It’ll be kind of nice if you get a two-fer. GB’s not too young, but motherhood might be a bit of a shock if BP doesn’t catch and won’t kick GB off the hind teat.

    Gelbvieh’s are nice cattle; I worked with some when I lived in Germany. It’ll be interesting to see how the calf/calves turn out. Good luck. Well, BP looks like she got lucky already… :devil2:

  11. 7-5

    Fun and games at the farm! One thing you can say
    it’t never dull there! :happyflower:

  12. 7-5

    They’re livestock, they have no scruples. :moo:

  13. 7-5

    Hope you get a baby this time. Glory Bee will be jealous to the bone!

  14. 7-5

    And please be careful around the bull–just heard of a man trampled to death. Also BP & GB–they can hurt you without meaning to. Have a friend almost squashed by a friendly cow.

  15. 7-5

    Oh my, thanks for the update on BP’s love life, I am so glad someone has one.

  16. 7-5

    Another hysterical story! I love, love, love going onto your site each morning. You make my day!!!

  17. 7-6

    You might ask if you can leave GB in with the bull for a month or so after you bring BP home. This would help her wean and make sure she gets serviced if she comes into heat.

  18. 7-6

    Ok, Suzanne, you need better smiley’s on here ‘cuz none of the laughing ones do me any justice!! :lol: <—–*that's* supposed to be laughing??? Nope, no justice. You need one of those 'laying-on-the-floor-pounding-with-my-fist' smiley….. :moo:

  19. 7-7

    I’ve been on vacation, so was a little late reading this funny farm tale. It made me laugh. THANKS for the wonderful stories!

  20. 7-18

    Too funny!!! I needed this this am!!
    They tell me that my Jersey bred to a Dexter will turn out brindle colored – oh what pretty cows we’ll have. I hope you get two too!!
    Awesome!! Marilyn

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