The Country Preg Checker


Going in:

Tucker the “country preg checker” came out to the farm yesterday. He lays pipeline when he’s not poking his entire arm inside cows. He went in and out about five or six times, so he didn’t give up easily, but he said he felt NOTHING. NOTHING!!!

In other news, after he took his glove off, he grabbed her other end and pried her mouth open and said he thought she was eight years old and ought to be good for more calves. But he couldn’t find one in her right now. He tried punching around on her sides, too, and still said NOTHING. NOTHING!!!

On the upside, other than not enjoying having her mouth pried open, BP didn’t protest any of this intrusive activity and acted like nothing was going on.

Which is perhaps apropos since apparently NOTHING (!!!) is going on!

I still have the vet scheduled to come out here next week. Glory Bee needs her vaccinations, and the brucellosis shot, in particular, must be administered by a vet and officially recorded. Since he’ll be here anyway, I’ll have him take a second stab at BP to double check, but I doubt the country preg checker is wrong. I don’t want to take BP back to Skip’s. It’s too hard to milk her over there, especially now that we’re having rains. The river is high, the driveway is slippery. I can’t have my cow that far away. It’s also not easy to get someone out here on the drop of a dime and AI must be done in a timely way when the cow is in heat. I need to learn to do it myself so I can keep my cow home.

According to a Pennsylvania State University study, 63% of the dairy cattle bred artificially in the United States are bred by owner-inseminators and, “There were no differences between professional technicians and owner-inseminators in accurate rod tip placement or semen distribution.” The only difference in success was in experience (whether professional or farmer).

Experience starts somewhere.

I just need some semen and some long gloves. And a how-to video! I can do it!


  1. Darlene in North GA says:

    awwww, bummer for you. You had you’re timing all worked out, too.
    Well, here’s hoping that the vet will find something your friend didn’t, but I doubt it. Most of these fella know their business very well.

    Good luck with the AI. And you’re right, experience DOES have to start somewhere. So if she really, really isn’t pregnant, forge ahead. You know how to make cheese, you know how to make babies (kids -human and goats), so this is just another progression of that knowledge.


  2. Hlhohnholz says:

    I know lots of people who AI their own cows. I don’t think it’s particularly difficult. Maybe ask around your neighbors and find someone who does it and ask if you can come watch next time they do it? I hope The Pipe Layer is wrong too, but if he’s not, that’s a bummer. FYI-8 is the upper end of middle age. We found that by 10, the cows often had trouble getting bred, and had real trouble with raising healthy calves. Their calves were often underweight and sickly. If BP was used hard as a milker before you got her, it wouldn’t surprise me if she’s going to start having trouble breeding. Hopefully not, though!!

  3. twiggityNDgoats says:

    Oh that so doesn’t look like fun. Sorry to hear BP might not be preggars. Gee, if you learn to do AI, you’ll certainly have an umm “interesting” resume…romance writer, farmer, recipe re-creator, AI technician…

  4. CindyP says:

    So sorry Skip’s bull just couldn’t handle the pressure. (You know it’s his fault not BP’s, right?)

    LOL, twiggityNDgoats! VERY interesting, well-balanced resume!

    You have put your mind to so many things and conquered them…I’m sure there are going to be somethings harder yet to come πŸ™‚ You can do AI!

  5. hampgirl says:

    Many semen distributors offer classes on how to AI cows. Where I’m from, most people use Genex either to get the semen from or for one of their AI technicians to breed their cows.

    I’m not sure of the cost to get someone to come in because my father does all the AI breeding for us. Though, I know how to too, which is an encouraging thought if you’re looking to learn how to!

    Plus it’s a lot of fun picking out a bull, I think!

  6. Flowerpower says:

    Oh darn! I thought sure she was preggers! :hissyfit:
    Now there is one job I will PASS on!

  7. outbackfarm says:

    Suzanne, I just had my cow AI’d last week. It did NOT look like something I want to do at all. I was actually grossed out by the first part. But you could probably make some money with it if you do learn. It’s just not my idea of a good time plunging my whole arm up a cow rear end. It only took the guy maybe 5 minutes the whole process. And Mazie stood still for the most part munching on her beloved apples. She’ll do anything for apples! Good luck on the new venture!

  8. outbackfarm says:

    Forgot to say a friend did it and he just charged $18.00 for the cost of the semen. I gave him a little extra. And the semen he used came from a bull called New Frontier. I thought that was a great name.

  9. Liz Pike says:

    Shucks, and you had your timing worked out so carefully! “The best laid schemes of mice and men…”

  10. holstein woman says:

    Suzanne, it is 50/50 if you get it right. I have an AI tech that comes and sometimes he gets the girls and sometimes he doesn’t. I have a man who milks for us now and he wants to learn, so I think he should. I will look into a seman provider class for him.
    I so wish BP were bred. I’m glad for you to have GB to fall back on since BP may not breed. I tell you from a farmer with dairy cows that is the biggest bummer I face. I so hope you get both of them bred.

  11. MalagaCove says:

    Okay, all my years in the science fiction world and computer world and lack of sleep made this a really ineresting post. First I though AI was artificial intelligence, then alien intelligence, but I knew that couldn’t be right. The comments made all clear!

    I need another two hours of sleep or two more cups of coffee!

    Never thought of impregnating cows as a potential job before. Thiis blog sure does open up parts of life where I’m ignorant. Thanks all!


  12. CarrieJ says:

    Wow..when you thought you’ve seen it all. His whole arm disappeared!! Good luck with the AI, can’t wait to see what that’s all about πŸ™‚

  13. nursemary says:

    Dang Suzanne, you could have at least led into this story with a little written intro instead of going right to a picture. I didn’t even have time to swallow my coffee! :no: No need to worry about that now. Ok, I don’t care how lucrative cow blogging is, I am not getting one! The only time I plan to need elbow length gloves is for going to the opera.

    Good luck with the AI and thanks for cleaning my monitor.

  14. Wildflower_VA says:

    Ewwwwwwwwwww! Way TMI! There’re still many things that makes this farm-raised girl hide her eyes! By the time the page opened it was too late. πŸ˜†

  15. NancyL says:

    The pictures didn’t bother me a bit – I’ve watched every episode of “All Creatures Great and Small” several times. No – I never put my arm up the rear luggage of a cow, but I’ve seen it on TV and in the movies. I think BP was marvelously calm during it all – she really didn’t seem to mind! What a great girl – if only she’d get pregnant!!! How old does GB have to be before you can breed her?

  16. City Kid in St. Paul says:

    Ahh, shades of vet tech school! Even those of us who were going to stay with small animal med had to don the OB glove and “dive in” to a cow’s, ahem, posterior! Interesting sensation… One of my instructors at vet tech school tried to get us all excited about bovine AI–she said it was a good-paying part-time occupation. Strangely, no one seemed very interested.

  17. amieable says:

    As a romance writer, Suzanne is at least familiar with needing semen to get from place to place to advance the story…she’ll just be doing it in a much more literal way now! πŸ™‚

  18. Glenda says:

    I took the classes and was never able to AI a cow! I must admit my heart wasn’t in it! Don’t forget, you have to buy a tank to store the semen and it isn’t cheap….the best scenario would be have someone A-I her and pay them. I am worried if she won’t settle with a bull; A-I won’t be successful either. The vet will be able to tell if she has cysts or some other condition that makes her settling impossible or difficult.

    Good luck!

    I agree with Holstein woman, getting dairy cows bred is the most difficult and critical part of the operation. We finally just kept a Holstein bull.

  19. alba says:

    Shock!!! :bugeyed: BP ate that checkers arm without a peep bless her wee :heart: .
    Now I’m in a dilemma Though I am sad BP is not with child my selfish giggling self is excited to read the wonders of how you aprotch AI :dancingmonster:
    can’t wait ( rubs hands gleefully smiling)
    Ann/alba :moo:

  20. BuckeyeGirl says:

    LOL, I’ve had to have my arm up the “luggage” (I LOVE that expression!) of a mare to pregnancy check her but it was more years ago than I care to remember, and I know people who AI cows. It’s not THAT gross. I’ve had to do lots worse things on a farm. You can do it Suzanne!! (and a nearby farmer is likely to have a tank and will store pipette of the chosen sire till you’re ready for it, so you really may not need to buy a tank.)

  21. texomamorganlady says:

    When the vet comes over, you may consider asking about hardware disease. She does have some symptoms, and it makes them more difficult to get pregnant. And, if your place is like ours, with bits of metal and wire washing up all the time, you may want to consider a cow magnet for both cows. I do believe I would enjoy the post of the explaination of those too.

  22. nursemary says:

    I have never heard of a cow magnet so I had to look it up. Gosh I wish they made those for emus. I took mine to the vet for x-rays and they had dozens of screws, nuts, bolts, and washers in them. One had a set of military dog tags!

  23. Wildflower_VA says:

    Hardware disease–the things you learn on this site! I had never even heard of it. Mind boggling!

  24. Cheryl LeMay says:

    Um-that’s something I would NEVER want to do with my cow. There’s no way on God’s green earth you could get me to do that. I managed to watch a minute of that video before I said “nope”. I’d gladly pay someone else to do that. If you do it – more power to you Suzanne. You definately have more guts and gumption than I do. YOU GO GIRL!

  25. BJ Farm says:

    You could AI Susanne, I just bought a jersey heifer from a 80 year old dairy farmer who told me I could do it. If I find a class on it I’m going to take it. Just think how convinent that would be.

  26. Jan Hodges says:

    Is it possible to milk a cow through? I’ve done it with goats, some will and some won’t, but have no idea about a cow. Maybe you could keep milking her until she dries up, and let the bad baby have babies. BP has such a beautiful face.

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Jan, yes, you can milk a cow for a couple of years at least! I’m considering whether or not to AI her or Glory Bee. Or possibly send Glory Bee to stay with a bull, but she’s an escaper, so I’m scared about the idea of sending her off to another farm.

  27. lattelady says:

    AI the Bad Baby? She is not likely to stand still for it though. Thank you for the pics of her with the calf weaner.
    I was raised on a farm and now a bona fide city girl. SO very glad those days are FAR behind me. However, I thoroughly enjoy reading of the escapades you and they go through.

  28. Donna says:

    Eeewwwwwwww! is right!! If it were me, I’d ask for the rubber raincoat and waders and full facemask too! Perhaps amieable is onto something… perhaps BP needs more romance in her life. A chance to feast her eyes on all the bovine hunks over at Skip’s…

  29. Runningtrails says:

    You can do anything you put your mind to, Suzanne πŸ™‚

  30. wkf says:

    I have AI’ed horses. It isn’t hard. Get your Vet to let you palpate her when he comes. Most of them get a good laugh out of teaching a layman to do it. All you can do is ask. And he will supply the gloves.

  31. Sheila Z says:

    AI is not something you can learn at home. It takes numerous cows to practice on and perfect the skills needed. The training (usually a week long course) is often done at meat packing plants. It’s easy to puncture a cow’s uterine horns when learning and cause internal bleeding. They use animals headed for immediate butchering to learn the technique. You would also have to keep a tank and have it periodically filled with liquid nitrogen to store the straws of semen. The cost for one or two cows would be prohibitive.

    You need a vet check because if a cow won’t settle with a bull it’s unlikely you will have any luck using AI. There is most likely something else going on that is preventing conception.

  32. IowaCowgirl says:

    Well, is the old girl open?

    My girls usually have to “go to town” if they are open, but I have no doubt your old girl will have a permanent pasture at your place regardless of her condition!! 😎

  33. Marmee says:

    Where’s Mike Rowe when you need him?! lol :moo:

    Blessings from Ohio…Kim

  34. Abiga says:

    Well this has been an interesting discussion while waiting for my daughter to begin labor on her 7th. Her water broke but no labor yet, It will be number 11 grandchild. And she would like to get a cow someday too. Blessings.

  35. bayvistafarm says:

    You could always get your vet to needle both your cattle with prostaglandin to bring them in heat in about 3 or so days. That way, you know when they are bred…. and they wouldn’t have to stay at the farm with the bull as long. Also.. you could calve them out together, of course, if that works for you. Weaning 2 calves together is company for them both, and they like having a buddy to cry with, lol. Like someone said.. owning a tank for semen for 2 cows, isn’t worth it. They are alot of money. A dairy guy who breeds his own cows, had something happen to their tank, and they had $5000 worth of semen in it, that was destroyed!

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