To Catch a Cow Standing

For the previous three years we’ve kept our cows bred by “live cover” i.e. a bull. Artificial insemination (AI) is the method commonly used to ensure genetic diversity in a herd while not having to feed and handle a bull year round. In order for AI to be successful, the cow must be in heat (estrus), or more specifically “standing heat” which is when she would stand for a bull to mount her. To know when the cow is standing, you must observe them when among other cows. When cows are in heat, they attempt to mount one another. Not that these cows are trying to mate, it’s just that their hormones are raging and their biological instincts are causing them to behave as such. If she stands and doesn’t run out from underneath the cow climbing on her, then she’s in standing heat and ready to be inseminated. Thing is, a cow who is attempting to mount up on another cow is likely in heat too. It’s just trying to determine which one is going to stand and be the most receptive for insemination.

Last Saturday, Mary was trying to climb on Martha, but Martha kept running out from under her. Thing is, Mary stopped attempting to climb on Martha and Martha never displayed the same behavior by the end of the day. So who’s ready to be bred? I’m not sure, I’m still learning here and it is impossible for me to watch them persistently. If I could perform the procedure and had a cryo-tank of bull semen on hand I’d be tempted to inseminate both of them and then draw blood a couple of weeks later for a pregnancy test. But since I have to pay for the service, I only want to do so if the cow is standing for sure. So, we shall wait to see what happens 28 days from nowand maybe someone will stand while I’m looking and I can make the call.

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One response to this post.

  1. Have you ever tried using Estrotect patches? Someone gave me a couple to get started with, and they are really worth it. We do have a bull, but since I have yet to see him in action (he’s shy!), the patches tell me when the cow has been standing so I have a pretty good idea when she was bred and when to send in milk for biotracking (or blood on a heifer). We had 2 for 2 attempts at AI when we took the cows to the local clinic, but 0 for 2 on the farm attempts. Back then I didn’t know about Estrotect, and I had the same problem you have–we couldn’t always see the cows to see when they were indicating standing heat. I sat on the bed of the truck for six solid hours one day after we’d done the CIDR procedure, waiting for something . . . in vain! It can be really frustrating, and I feel your pain!

    By the way, we have Keira’s daughter Ebony, and she’s expecting our bull’s first calf in April. I can’t wait!

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