First time AIing

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by dosthouhavemilk, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Written this morning around 1 AM;
    Well, I just got done trying to AI my first cows. Two heifers. Hermaine and Gabrielle. They were standing around noon and I just came up from attempting to breed them.

    I was at The Graham School (http://personal.myvine.com/~gschool/index.htm) in Kansas during the week of the 14-18th. Very good school. I really enjoyed it. We were able to work on live animals on Friday. Trying to pass a rod through the cervix. Yeah, I didn't pass a single rod. *sigh* I didn't feel so horrible when the instructors had a tough time with the first two cows they put me in. So I was worried about AIing.

    Yeah, I don't think I did it right. I don't think I got it through the cervix. But if felt like the rod was in the uterus, but I couldn't be sure. Everytime they talked to us they indicated maiden heifer's cervixes are going to be very shallow and very close to the vulva. I probably just wasted semen this evening. One straw of Brendon-P (7J505) on Hermaine and I had to use two straws of Pearl (2J39 or something, he was a herd bull). The sheath wasn't fastened correctly on the gun and I wasted one straw.
    My guess is both will cycle back in three weeks. Gabrielle is pushing three and we have only seen five heats out of her in her lifetime. Today being one of them. This is the first time either has been AIed.

    I'm gonna cross my fingers but wouldn't dare hold my breath. ;o)

    Anybody else that AIs remember their first time? Was it successful? How did you feel afterwards?
    I feel pretty disgusted with myself and feel like it was a waste.
     
  2. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Roseanna,

    Just keep trying. I took an AI class at the local university this fall, we're just finishing up preg testing. The AI portion was 8 weeks, it took me four to really figure it out. Practising on cows that are not in heat is hard, when their cycling its easy. I just AI a heifer this past weekend and I thought I would never get it done, her cervix was about 3/4 inch in diameter and it seemed like a mile long. I was finally able to get it done though. Hopefully she took. When I AI'd my cows I did it 12 hours after standing heat and that was too long to wait. The next time they were in standing heat at just before noon. I AI'd at 5:00 and they took.

    Are using a "Spiral" rod or the " O Ring" type. The "Spiral" rod is the only way to go and they are reasonably priced at around $20. We got ours free when we took the class, but we had a $75 supply fee.

    In class we practised for four hours a week, by the time the AI part was over everyone could pass 10 or more rods in tow hours and still have time to stand around and gab.

    Bobg
     

  3. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    Bobg,


    How do they instruct you in doing preg checks on 40 day old embryos? Our vet doesn't pinch the little thing, he cups it with his hands, and lets the mass roll off. Because he mentioned that some pinch to do a preg check.


    Roseanna, don't get discouraged, there is always room for improvement! :). Also 21 days before another go!



    Jeff
     
  4. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Less than 21 days....we are a dairy herd afterall. ;)
    Inger is showing clear discharge.
    We were told that a lot of people who pregnancy check at less than 40 days "slip" the membranes between their fingers. Problem there? You do that to the embryo/fetus and you just aborted that pregnancy. Mostly, they go by amount of fluid in each horn.
    Our vet can check at 30 days.
    I "think" I can check at 4 months. :rolleyes: Need more practice with that to get better.
    I did check Mistie this evening though. Dad was concerned because he has been kicked by the calf a couple of times now and she isn't due til mid-March. Only other possibility was her settled to Jason and due before the end of December. I checked and she isn't 8 months bred....

    We have an O ring gun. One reason I lost a straw. I didn't have the O-ring on tight enough and the sheath came loose. The gun isn't my problem. my problem is finding the cervix. I know what it feels like but I just couldn't locate them easily last night. I'll just keep practicing and one of these days I'll get it right.
    Luckily I was starting out with 15 straws of Pearl (collected herd bull froma few decades ago) and there are some not-quite-as-expensive bulls in the tank to use as well.
     
  5. chamoisee

    chamoisee Well-Known Member

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    I've never A.I.'d cows, just goats, so what I say may not apply, because I think the process is a little (but only a little) different.

    With goats, we insert a speculum and locate the cervix using a long, slender A.I. light that clips onto the speculum, illuminating the inside of the vagina and cervix. Sometimes you have to move the speculum around a little to find the cervix. Once you do, you then center the speculum over the cervix and try to penetrate the cervical os with the A.I. sheath and gun. The visual appearance of the cervix can tell you a lot- many times, if the doe is at the right time of the cycle, the cervix oozes mucus and gapes open slightly.

    Nervous or frightened does have an irritating habit of clamping the cervix shut so tight that you can't possibly get in. I don't know if I blame them....but it's a waste of semen to splash it at the opening.

    So, with cattle, do you use a speculum? Can you see what you're doing? Or do you have to work mainly by feel?

    My first several times A.I.ing, I was scared to death!! :eek: I had never had anyone show me how, hadn't ever been to a class, etc. I had to learn from a meager little booklet that had inadequate information. I didn't get any conceptions until my second year of trying, when one doe (of several attempts) did conceieve. Since then, my conception rate has improved and now I have a lot of A.I. progeny. I think virgin animals are quite a bit harder to get into (the cervix) than ones that have given birth before.

    One thing I sometimes do that might help is to try to locate and asess the cervix before I thaw the semen. I have even had a helped stay with the animal, speculum still in place, while I then ran to thaw the semen and go through with the breeding. In other cases, I would have a look, see that the timing was bad, and decide to wait until the next cycle or breed the doe naturally instead.
     
  6. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I actually attended an AIing course for goats in October.
    In cattle, the speculum is no longer the usual method. Though they did use a speculum on a cow just so we could look in and see. They used to AI cows using a speculum but now it is done "rectally."
    One arm goes in the rectum to help guide the gun and so it is all done by feel. Makes it difficult. If I was using a speculum if probally would be quite a bit easier. I may eat those words when I try my hand at AIing goats. lol

    I definitely hope I can get a little help from dad next time, if only to hold the cow still. Gabrielle kept moving around.
     
  7. tatanka

    tatanka Well-Known Member

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    Roseanna I am glad you enjoyed the school. I actually thought about you in November and wondered if you went. It truly doesn't compare to the short AI classes you can take elsewhere because you get so much more than just AI. Don't get discouraged. Practice, Practice, Practice and you will get it. The more you get your arm in and check the better and more efficient you will get. When I came home from Graham I started AI'ing the next month and then I started preg checking everything at 90 days and each month thereafter just to get the feel for it. I kept a copy of the sheet Graham gave us on my clipboard so I could read what I should be feeling for that month and try to visualize it as I really felt it. Heifers are by far the hardest but it will come with practice. They have tiny little openings to try to hit blind. The easiest way is to sweep for that cervix (turkey neck) and pick it up. Push it away from you into the animal and then try to direct the cervix onto the gun. You will often get a pop sort of feeling as it slips in past the rings. Then you know you got her. We run angus cattle and to me they are easier than dairy cattle. You will do fine. Just keep practicing. Good Luck!

    Marla
     
  8. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for the support, Marla.

    I will probably be taking them up on the "free to return anytime" deal next year. lol It's nice because I have a friend who lives two hours from them with two milking cows so her getting away to visit isn't easy.

    Aparently dairy cows are soooo deep and I kept expecting the cervix up closer than it really was.
    Kinda wish I had someone along side to double check that I actually had found the cervix. Maybe I'll see if Don could come and help me on that one next time. He's the guy that has been doing our AIing for us. He's so good at it that the majority of our cows were bred with split straws and the conception rate was normal with that practice.
     
  9. caseyweiss

    caseyweiss Well-Known Member

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    My first time A.I.ing was a 30 minute stage show. Needless to say, I didn't get her bred. At Purdue, I took an advanced reproduction course that taught us how to A.I. each type of farm animal including poultry. That has been very helpful. We also collected each male farm animal and extended the semen along with embryo transfer work. It was my favorite class.

    I have gotten better and I am up to 65-70% conception rate with my dairy cattle. Every one of my cows has had an A.I. sired calf at some point. Just keep practicing and don't get discouraged.

    Casey
     
  10. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jeff,

    The only way you can really tell at 40 days is the slip method, probably the same as squeezing it. They don't even recommend preg testing at that stage, we were able to try and find the "slip" of some 45 days one. You could feel it from time to time. The earliest that I was fairly accurate on was 70 days. We preg tested on the universities dairy herd and they were real particular on any stresses put on cows. They do lose a few calves every year by preg testing.

    Bobg
     
  11. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The reason for this is the female sperm cells live longer. You can also AI earlier when the cow is in standing heat and also have a better chance at a heifer. I think you would be better off money wise if you were doing this for a living by using sexed semen.

    Bobg
     
  12. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

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    nope, you cant see anything. its all by feel
     
  13. JA in WA

    JA in WA Member

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    [/QUOTE]

    The reason for this is the female sperm cells live longer. You can also AI earlier when the cow is in standing heat and also have a better chance at a heifer. I think you would be better off money wise if you were doing this for a living by using sexed semen.

    Bobg[/QUOTE]

    I read about this off of the internet and the study determined that using sexed semen gave much lower preg. rates, somewhere around 50%? Not to mention it was much more expensive. Is this what you know about it? Does anybody in E.Wa use it?

    JA
     
  14. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The main reason for lower pregancy rates is they are only using 1 million sperm cells. Industry standard for sperm cells per straw is 100 million. I don't know of anyone using sexed semen in eastern WA right now. I think cost and time will determine if it catches on much. Dairies would be the place where I think it would be used more than in beef sector. If I remember right it costs $50/straw to sex semen then add the price of the semen on it.

    Bobg
     
  15. SpringCreek

    SpringCreek Active Member

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    Has anyone used the blood test offered by this company: http://www.biotracking.com/ ? They claim you can preg check after 28 days with this test.
     
  16. Oxankle

    Oxankle Well-Known Member

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    "Gabrielle kept moving around".

    Well, I wonder why on earth she would do that? Think about it a moment.

    I bought a squeeze chute for that very reason. A cow should just stand there quietly when your arm is shoulder deep in her rectum.
    Ox
     
  17. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I know exactly why she did it. There wasn't a pole to shove her against like with Hermaine. :D
    Some cows will just stand still with you enter them..even if they have lots of space on either side. It really depends on the animal. Gabrielle isn't that type. She is a fairly flighty animal. Not easily caught, etc. One reason it is important she get bred. That type of animal ends up as an overweight open four year old if they aren't careful.
    Just another reason to have someone there to help calm the animal and hold them.
     
  18. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    My boss does this. He says he's getting 60-70 percent heifers. Of course, your conception rate will be lower, but of the cows that do conceive, you should get more heifers!

    Roseanna, I have only done my girls, and Mark stuck his arm in to check that the placement was proper (with Teeny I was clear up into the horn, oops!). It is A LOT harder than it looks!! :grump:
     
  19. Oxankle

    Oxankle Well-Known Member

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    Willow Girl:

    One of mine came in yesterday AM and the tech came out around 7:30PM having been tied up all day with a large set of cows. (Told me he'd bred around a thousand head in the past two weeks)

    Anyway, I watched as he inserted the straw well into the cervic and then slowly withdrew it until he had it where he wanted.

    He also told me that on Angus cattle in heat the cervix was pretty close to the tailhead. He only had about 2/3 of his forearm inside the animal.

    On another point, he told me that there was no danger of a cleanup bull ruining the job as the A-I straw had at least a l2-hour head start. I am getting a lot of elementary education nowadays.
    Ox