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I'm planning to AI my dairy cow early next spring. I'm a bit overwhelmed at the equipment choices and options. I basically need some good equipment that will last many years, and I need a complete setup. I figure I'll get new straws each time, so I really need to get the other stuff. I'd rather pay more for lifetime quality once than buy crap 3 or 4 times.

So. What do I need to look for? Does anyone have specific products or retailers to suggest? What have you done personally, and how has it gone?
 

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Never really knew there were different levels of quality for AI stuff...
Just go to Nasco and get a kit.
The most expensive thing will be your jug. Sometimes you can find used ones through your semen supplier.
 

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I took a class offered by Select Sires and found it to be very valuable. SS offered attendees a deal in which they could buy everything they needed to get started, including a tank, for around $500. I'd recommend going that route if it's available in your locale.

And yes, you'll use "new straws" every time. :)

I just re-read your post ... am I correct that you only have one cow? Are you planning to build up a dairy herd? Because if it's just one backyard cow, it may be more cost-effective for you to hire someone to inseminate her, or loan you their equipment and space in their tank.
 

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I have a tank and do my own for just a few cows. I think if I only had one cow I would have a vet or tech do it for me.

Here is a series of three videos about doing AI yourself. The guy does a very good job explaining the process.

[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8703CsaZFBM"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8703CsaZFBM[/ame]
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the videos. That's very helpful. I've found similar, and am confident I can learn and be successful.

Yes, it's just the one cow. I'd like to learn how and buy the equipment myself more as an investment. I'm sure I can find someone locally to call and pay, but doing that every time will cost me more in the long run. My cow just had her second calf. I expect at least 7-8 more just with her, and then another 10 or so with the next cow, and so on. I want to buy the equipment for that once.

I guess I'm really looking for first-hand recommendation on long-lasting, durable equipment in the form of a total kit.
 

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I trained for two weeks, was full of confidence, had worked on multiple cows during training. First day out about three months later, I couldn't do it on a "real" hot cow. It took me a lot of further practice to get it right most of the time.

I'm very good at it now, but without a lot of working practice (I inseminated in other herds for a job for a while), I'd not have held the skill as well as I now have in the long term.

I'd love to know how many enthusiasts for doing it themselves actually succeed. I only have a dozen cows in my own herd most years to do and that's now all the practice I've had for the last ten years. I know I'd never have managed if I'd started out straight after that training course.

Come back and tell us how you get on!
 

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My vet mentor kept telling me, "auhhh, you don't want to do that." I finally said "yes, I do. Life is short. We only pass this way once. I want to learn everything."

You need to want to. You need to study. You need to practice. Then study and practice some more. You will feel smart when you succeed. You will feel stupid when you don't succeed. You will learn more each time you attempt. Your wrist will get tired and you will want to quit when you need to push through the discomfort and get it done. You will want to hurry when it is raining and cold. You will ruin a lot of white t-shirts or whatever you wear.

I bought a low cost plastic tool box at a box store and started filling it with things I needed.

Then I recently hired a full time herd manager willing to work 24 hours a day and 7 days a week doing the heat detection and breeding. His name is Higgins. He is a young motivated individual. Oh, he is a Black Angus Bull.

Yes, you will need a tank someday. You can draw from a nearby tank and carry the loaded straw in your shirt. Hope you don't get caught for speeding on the way back to the chute and have to explain why you have semen in your shirt.

When money motivates, the love of learning is sometimes lost. Yes, there is a point.

Someone wrote, "never miss a chance to pass a straw."
 

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I trained for two weeks, was full of confidence, had worked on multiple cows during training. First day out about three months later, I couldn't do it on a "real" hot cow. It took me a lot of further practice to get it right most of the time.

I'm very good at it now, but without a lot of working practice (I inseminated in other herds for a job for a while), I'd not have held the skill as well as I now have in the long term.

I'd love to know how many enthusiasts for doing it themselves actually succeed. I only have a dozen cows in my own herd most years to do and that's now all the practice I've had for the last ten years. I know I'd never have managed if I'd started out straight after that training course.

Come back and tell us how you get on!
I want to like this but do not see a like button.

Now I do and I did.
 

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This is the tank I purchased in March 2013. I can only find my shipping sheet and don't remember the exact price but it was on sale:

http://store.sementanks.com/xcmilleniumtank.aspx

From Bovine Elite http://www.bovine-elite.com/home.asp

I got:
1 0.5 mi spiral AI Syringe---$27.65
1 Cito straw Cutter----$6.00
1 Cito thaw-manual----$32.00 (there is an electric version but it's not hard to regulate the water temp in the manual one)
1 box Continental gloves---11.50
1 Nitrogen measuring stick----$5.50
1 8oz lubricant---$3.50
1 package sheaths---$10.00
1 straw tweezer---$4.00

Total $100.15 plus shipping. I can't remember the tank price but I think it was a little less than $500.00
Remember that you will have a charge for liquid nitrogen every few months (I think mine is supposed to last 20 wks but I don't wait that long).

I didn't buy a kit because it seemed when I was looking that a kit charge included a pretty expensive equipment box. I bought a long plastic tool box at an auction that holds all my equipment plus leftover space for much less.
 

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I use a cheap plastic tool box which stays in my shed by the yards. Sometimes I take some of the stuff away for between-season cleaning and then have one deuce of a job remembering where I left it all.

Sometimes, when I'm feeling really frugal (or is that mean?) I recycle the long gloves - they look pretty comical on the washing line, blowing in the wind ...
 

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Then I recently hired a full time herd manager willing to work 24 hours a day and 7 days a week doing the heat detection and breeding. His name is Higgins. He is a young motivated individual. Oh, he is a Black Angus Bull.
The only good bull comes in a straw! :D

That said, by using a bull, you never wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night, wondering whether you closed the lid on the liquid nitrogen tank ... :teehee:
 
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