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Very Dairy
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Discussion Starter #1
We were setting up cows to breed tonight. One heifer was so unruly that it took 2 of us to hold her in a freestall while a third clipped the chain to her collar (and meanwhile she was peeing down my bosses' back!). (Hey, better him than me.)

The directions on the package of CIDRs says to "insert until you feel resistance." Told my boss I didn't think "resistance" referred to the heifer thrashing around trying to get away! :hysterical:
 

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Very Dairy
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14,609 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Another one for ya. :)

Last night, the boss and I were frustrated to see that a cow we've been trying to settle for a long time was back in heat.

He told me the following story: Years ago, he acquired a cow from a neighbor who raised Holstein bull calves for beef. The neighbor had purchased a freemartin heifer along with her twin brother. He steered all the little bulls, but apparently the emasculator didn't do its job on one, because the heifer turned up pregnant! So he sold her to my boss as a milk cow.

Now, if a castrated bull can impregnate a freemartin heifer, why oh why can we sometimes do a textbook breeding on a cow in standing heat and come up empty?!

Blargh. :facepalm:
 

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Premium Member
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Encouraging to me. When I am not successful, I always think that I did something wrong--too late, too soon, false detection, not precise in placement. Sometimes, we never know. Fun when it works. Ya had to be there.

Looks like you have a resistance fighter.
 

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Very Dairy
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14,609 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Yes, and we're gonna go another round tomorrow ... Lutalyse shot, also I have to yank her CIDR. Then the main event on Friday!

We set up six to breed in this round. What fun.
 

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Very Dairy
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14,609 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Well, time for a breeding NOT funny ... grrr.

The boss had given me a list of cows to set up, including 2 who turned up open after the last round of milk-based pregnancy testing. One was #972, a cow I call Allison, whom I'd bred back in August.

On Wednesday, I gave her the scheduled Lutalyse shot, and today she aborted a 3-mo.-old embryo. :Bawling:

OMG ... I killed a calf. :facepalm:
 

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You did not do it on purpose. Sometimes nature does it too. Do you examine also.

I examine often to see what I can learn. At times, I learn nothing. Nothing like confirming that I don't know anything.
 

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I calls em like I sees em
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Well, time for a breeding NOT funny ... grrr.

The boss had given me a list of cows to set up, including 2 who turned up open after the last round of milk-based pregnancy testing. One was #972, a cow I call Allison, whom I'd bred back in August.

On Wednesday, I gave her the scheduled Lutalyse shot, and today she aborted a 3-mo.-old embryo. :Bawling:

OMG ... I killed a calf. :facepalm:
Not your fault. I guess the milk-based test isn't as accurate as it could be?
 

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Very Dairy
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Discussion Starter #11
I don't know. It's supposed to be 95+% accurate. This is the first time we've apparently had a false negative. We've had a few cows who tested positive turn up open, but it's hard to tell whether they aborted or whether the test was inaccurate.

We just had a cow calve in whom I was REALLY afraid wasn't pregnant even though she had tested as such. It took a long time to get her bred back (fat cow!) and I'd thought I'd seen her bulling after she was confirmed. Was very relieved to see her back in the milking string ... :teehee:
 

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Very Dairy
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Discussion Starter #12
Man, there is never a dull moment on a dairy farm, is there? :teehee:

The tester was here Thursday morning. Last night, my boss's wife told me he was going to put #1008, a cow I call Shadow, on the truck Monday as she was making 8 lbs. of milk while being only 3 mos. pregnant. I thought that was a little odd, because she's ordinarily a good cow. I assumed it had taken a long time to get her bred back, and then her milk fell off the cliff as soon as she settled. It happens sometimes.

It still bothered me, though.

Tonight my boss came down to the parlor as I was bringing in the last group, and Shadow happened to be in it. I told him to check her udder and see if it felt like she was really only making 8 lbs. -- having been a tester, I know that sometimes there are mistakes! He checked and confirmed that she didn't have much of a bag. Darn. So then I floated the idea that maybe we should carry her over. We talked about the cost of feeding her for 6 months vs. the value of her calf (what if it's a heifer?) and her next lactation (but what if she gets fat and experiences difficulties?).

Finally he wondered aloud whether she was a cow we'd set up to breed, or whether there was a possibility she might be pregnant from an earlier breeding, and farther along than just 3 months. I dropped everything and ran up to the office to look over our records. I found she'd been bred on Aug. 22, and confirmed pregnant via milk-based testing in October. The only other breeding I found for her was way back in March, which would make her eight months pregnant, not three!

When I told my boss, he decided to try to bump a calf when we let her out. After pressing his fist into her flank several times, he said, "I think there's a calf in there." We decided to dry her off.

When he went up to the office to get the tubes of Spectramast and Orbeseal, he looked at the records and noticed she'd actually been confirmed pregnant in May. :facepalm:

Apparently, she was acting like she was in heat (while already pregnant) in August, so he bred her again, either without checking the records, or having assuming she had lost her calf. And once you enter a breeding into the DHI system, it resets the clock, so to speak -- it wipes out any prior breedings, going under the assumption that the cow was, in fact, open when she was last bred.

So Shadow will go out to the dry lot tomorrow instead of on the truck Monday morning. Whew!!!

And ... TGIF. That's all the excitement I can handle for one week. :pound:
 

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Very Dairy
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Discussion Starter #14
Yeah, we are a good team there. :)

I think my boss tolerates my flakiness (buying some of his culls) because sometimes it works in his favor. There's no percentage in selling an eight-months-pregnant Holstein for slaughter price! :teehee:
 

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I have a question, forgive me if it is a dumb one!

Do you ever just do an "arm-in-the-cow" preg test on an in-question cow? I am sure you have a lot of cows to watch and breed and calve, but on the ones you thought were bred, do you ever confirm it with a method other than milk testing?

Honestly, I am just asking! I know next to nothing about a dairy operation, and almost less about pregnant cow stuff!
 

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Wow, WG, never a dull moment. Your job sounds very exciting when posted up in this manner. Your boss sounds lucky to have you. As someone who has never owned a cow but is looking forward to it, this thread is fascinating.
 

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I calls em like I sees em
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Willow's list. I like that one!

So your cow karma is back in balance. A life was lost with your involvement, then you saved one.

Your boss would be a fool not to appreciate someone who is so plugged in to their job, knows a lot about the individual cows, actually cares about the cows, etc. It adds to the bottom line.
 

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When he went up to the office to get the tubes of Spectramast and Orbeseal, he looked at the records and noticed she'd actually been confirmed pregnant in May. :facepalm:

Apparently, she was acting like she was in heat (while already pregnant) in August, so he bred her again, either without checking the records, or having assuming she had lost her calf. And once you enter a breeding into the DHI system, it resets the clock, so to speak -- it wipes out any prior breedings, going under the assumption that the cow was, in fact, open when she was last bred.

Wow! Great save! Shadows lucky to have you! Way to go detective!!!! ;) :D
I have a question and I mean absolutely NO disrespect what so ever!
If she was that far along when she was showing signs of "re-heat" how could the pregnancy be missed by your boss (or whomever did the breeding) Her cervix wouldn't be "in heat" toned or open and the Repro track would be larger than normal with edema etc. It's truly amazing how she didn't abort after the second breeding. Nature is very cool! :D
Again GREAT save just my curiosity. ;)
 

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Very Dairy
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14,609 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I have a question, forgive me if it is a dumb one!

Do you ever just do an "arm-in-the-cow" preg test on an in-question cow? I am sure you have a lot of cows to watch and breed and calve, but on the ones you thought were bred, do you ever confirm it with a method other than milk testing?
Neither the boss or I have been trained in preg-checking via palpation, so we don't usually do that. Before milk-based testing came out, we simply dried off cows on schedule, and if they turned up open, they'd go on the truck.

If she was that far along when she was showing signs of "re-heat" how could the pregnancy be missed by your boss (or whomever did the breeding)
One would think, eh?!

My boss did the re-breeding and neither of us could remember anything unusual about it, but then it's been a few months. On occasion I've heard him say that when he bred a cow, she felt like she might already be pregnant, so he followed the recommended protocol and deposited the semen at the entrance to the cervix, without putting the gun through it.

We've had two in the past year or so who calved ahead of schedule (with full-term calves, meaning that they were already pregnant the last time we bred them). My Marianne was one of them. She didn't get a dry period between her second and third calves, as she calved while still in the milking string. She's making up for it now, as she'll be dry for 9 months (or more if she didn't settle to her last breeding, but it's been 2 weeks past when she was due to be back in heat. We're hopeful!).
 
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