A couple weeks ago we drew blood from our cows after breeding them artificially to determine pregnancies. The results came back. They were pleasing to get. 13 of 14 cows were successfully bred to our program. One cow was found to be open, so we will be watching her the next week (tomorrow actually) to see if she comes back into a heat. We also have 3 more to breed to end out our season. They should be coming around rather directly as well. The AI breeding program has become the sole breeding on our farm. It allows us to choose the best genetics for our herd and completely control our breeding season. Without a bull on the property there are no mistakes (if you know what I mean). We have also moved to a similar program with our sow hogs. We have successfully bred 2 sows and have 2 more to go next week.
As you may have read in other posts, we have two dogs we got over 2 years ago from a rescue group. Their mother was a pure Black and Tan Coonhound and due to some of the looks of the dogs in the litter, their father was a Black Lab. Reese, our female looks more like a Lab, whereas Snickers (male) looks like a Coonhound. They are generally good dogs, but like most hounds, they like to bark, and bark, and bark, and...well you get the picture. Birds in the yard...bark, bark. Another dog they think they see three miles away...bark, bark. You want to play basketball in our foyer with our oldest and don't include Snickers...bark, bark. And don't get me started if someone even THINKS about coming onto our property...there's no stopping them. Being the male, he's bigger (in length and height, but not in girth) and has the deep, gutteral hound howl. However, when he's excited, his bark becomes so shrill I worry about bursting eardrums. He also is NOT the dominant dog. Reese definitely rules between the two of them and quickly puts him in his place. Dave wanted a female dog and I wanted a male. We originally made arrangements to adopt Reese and when I met the transport to pick her up, Snickers was going along for the ride to be transported to another foster placement in Conneticut. He was too darn cute to not bring him home. He's like a big fluffy bear that you have to snuggle and he will gladly let you. Reese, however, is just fine with being left alone to take up the whole dog bed. She acts like such a princess.
We love them to pieces, especially on trips to the vet in which they have to ride in my SUV for the 45 minute ride, shivering with anxiety, getting sick and drooling all over my back seats and trunk. I have never seen drool like this (as the only other dog I had owned was a Rat Terrier that loved car rides) and it can easily be compared to the drool line you see hanging out of a Komodo Dragon's mouth.
None of the above however drives me crazier about them and makes me love them more than their HAIR. We have hardwood floors and if I don't swiffer it with my microfiber cloth at least 3 times a day, you can see dog hair tumbleweeds crossing your path. Vaccuming and swiffering doesn't get it all and short of shaving them, I've tried it all. I am very particular about a clean house and being able to walk on my heating floors in white socks and having them stay white. So needless to say, the hair has become an obsession and being stuck inside in the winter isn't helping. Since it's been about 40* below the temperature of liquid nitrogen, the dogs look at me like I'm crazy when I even make them go outside to go "potty". You see, anything below tee-shirt and shorts weather is too cold for me, and obviously for my spoiled, yet well-insulated dogs. Did I ever mention that literally two weeks before going on my first date with Dave I was making arrangements to move down to Florida at the end of the school year? We moved in the wrong direction, Florida is south of Maryland. Dave was probably thanking his lucky stars that I was not very skilled (at the time, I have since mastered this) at reading a map, therefore I had no idea that we were driving further north. Or maybe this was a part of Dave's master plan as I would never be able to leave the farm, because physically it would be impossible for me to do so due to the cold.
So here I am, almost noon and I'm on my second cleaning of the day...I'm thinking of a hairless dog next time around. I'll get a heated sweater for it to wear during the cold months of the year around here, with is about nine months long.
Well, I am happy to say it was not mine this time. Yesterday we drew blood from our 14 bred (or I hope bred) cows. Now that we have them all AI'd it is time to check their status. A long seasoned vetran out west would simply palpate them (stick his arm up there and feel for the egg. I am not that seasoned yet and the inexperienced hand runs the risk of knocking off the egg. Talk about going backward! We could hire a large animal vet to come out, but then you are on their schedule and it is costly to get them here.
Instead we draw blood and send it to the lab. for about $3/cow we get back a report that says bred or open. Open means I missed and we have to breed her again.The blood is drawn from the tail vein. It is the same as any of us going to the hospital for bloodwork. We run them into a catch chute, lift their tail and take a vial of blood. Then they are free to go. It probably took us about 8 minutes per cow which is not bad. We had to sort out the cows not being checked and there are always a couple who do not want to cooperate.
We send the samples right through the mail and we should have the results on Thursday via email. If all goes as planned the breeding season will be over and we will be set for a Sept./Oct.calving season. We should be looking at a 4 week calving window which is great. It is a stressful and busy time checking on the expecting mothers. We used to run a bull with our cows and our calving season used to be from about April to September. That was an entire summer. We have now gone to the AI where we can completely control the breeding season (not to mention use the best bulls in the industry every time) shortening our calving season and reducing stress. Hopefully the report gives us good news for next fall!