I don't think it matters wether or not your herd is register. If you have a small herd AI is usually cheaper than buying and feeding a bull that you'll only use for a month or two. The thing about AI is that you still need a "clean up" bull just incase the AI didn't take. We have 18 cows and lease a bull on a 95/5(us/them of course) split of the calf crop. That works great because then we don't have to worry about selling the bull after a couple of years and then finding a good replacement. We just trade out.
Sometimes hard with AI to tell when a cow is in heat..not all of 'em make a big deal out of it bellowing and such. Our neighbor lets us turn out 5 Hereford cows in with his girls next door and last year they all get pg on the first go around....bred to black angus. But this isn't really improving on the herd...just growing the black baldies that Ozark cattlemen like to buy. Mutti
Iwould sugggest going with one of these options that have been posted. Syncronization would work well, but incur some cost. I think the best option would be if you could find someone close and either rent a bull, or run your cow with thiers. You might find a farmer who breeds early, and has a bull available. Buying a bull for a "few" cows (what, bty is a "few"?), wouldn't make sense economically, and bulls can be a real pain in the but.
With AI you can get superior genetics without having to invest in a high-quality bull. Since you have only a few cows, it is generally not worthwhile to keep a bull. If you add the time/money for fencing a bull (a bull will be more aggressive in getting out to visit the ladies across the way), and the extra feed (you do want a bull with good condition), meds, etc., it usually does not pay to keep a bull for a small herd. If you want to gamble a little and genetics are not so important to you (though they should be), you can buy and sell bulls one per season and you may make your money back or even a profit. Essentially, this is like borrowing a bull from a friend when you have no friends that have a bull you can borrow--buy one for awhile, then sell it when you are done. You may find others that will rent your bull or share the costs while you have it around.
Another option is to forget about being a midwife to a bunch of cows and buy calves to graze them out and resell them after you have fattened them up a bit.
Our former landlady raised beef cattle and she always rented a bull. She wasn't fond of bulls so she was very happy the day he arrived and she very happy the day he left! She got a different bull every year because the previous year's bull had gotten so big during his time on the her farm that he was often sent to slaughter. In the 3 years we lived on her farm, the rent a bulls got an A+ for getting the job done.
Fencing and maintenance after they've done their job really is a pain, for the males of most ruminant species. My standard recommendation for folks with just a few females is 'rent-a-male', either for cash or % of the babies. You avoid the specialized equipment investment of AI, the excessive investment of buying a bull outright (and maybe some risk of loosing him during his time on your place). Much easier to bring one in on an as-needed basis.
Actually, you don't need anything for AI. Someone can bring a portable chute out to you and do all the work. If you are in Iowa or Kansas, I have a couple of contacts. You may wish to start at www.absglobal.com for genetics. They have a list of contracted people who can do the AI for you. Often, they are vets or cattle producers supplementing their income doing AI.
Dale in TX
The guy we've talked to is named Murray Diggens. One of his bull took Grand Champion last year at the Denver Stock Show. To get semen from one of his bulls is only about $15/cow. These are registered Red Angus, and like I said, VERY good quality bulls.
I guess I would use a combo of what we've suggested. AI and then find someone that would be willing to let you turn your cows in with theirs just in case the AI doesn't go. That way you cover all of your bases.
I have a 2 year old bull to cover my 9 ladies. I also have a young bull, just a few months old for next year's breeding. The year's bull will end up in the freezer before winter, and the little guy will be old enough to use before he is needed.
The girls are mostly young so I might be able to juggle for another year after next and then I'll likely need a bull calf again. These guys running around the farm and eating me out of house and home may not be worth it, but then I shouldn't have to worry about getting the timing right for AI.
What if you have Highland Cattle.
Is there any place where you can get an A-I tech to come out & do
your Cows & heifers, with Highland Semen, so you can get & register
pureblood Highland Stock?
Just asking, we don't have that first heifer yet. We are trying to work out
ALL the considerations, before we make the move. we want to know exactly where we are going.
Thanks for the help.
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