Infertility questions -- need answer fast!!!

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by willow_girl, Aug 11, 2004.

  1. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    I have an opportunity to buy a registered Holstein that's being culled from the herd where I work. The auction is this afternoon!

    She's a 3rd lactation cow who freshened in November. The farmer has been unable to get her bred since, which is half the reason he's selling her.

    The other half is that her milk production isn't up to par. (Right now she's at 28# at 252 days, down from 39# last month). However, she never empties her udder into the tank -- we always have to strip her out afterwards. So that number is somewhat deceiving.

    She had mastitis after her last freshening, but I suspect that had something to do with her not always being stripped out adequately. She's cleared up since the latest night milker started, and her cell count at last testing was low.

    She'd be a wonderful cow to hand-milk, as her teats are big and the milk simply POURS out of them! I've often thought, while stripping her, what a nice homestead cow she'd make. :)

    The possibility of infertility scares the snot out of me, though. :confused:

    The farmer didn't go into why she might be having problems conceiving, or what (if anything) he's done to try to rectify the situation.

    I'm wondering if the fact she is VERY overweight might be a contributing factor?

    It's not easy in a commercial dairy to manipulate the diet of a single cow ... but I was thinking if I bought her, I'd turn her out for the winter with my neighbor's beef herd, and let his Angus bulls work their magic. ;)

    Sure, a crossbred calf wouldn't be worth as much, but if I could at least get her bred ...

    The other sticking point is I'm sure I'd have to give $1,000-1200 for her even at a slaughter sale. I'm guessing she will tip the scales at around 2,000 pounds. (Did I mention she is huge? :eek: ) That's a lot of money to gamble ...

    OTOH, my boss said he paid $2500 for her at a dairy sale.

    Well, what do ya'll think?! :)
     
  2. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

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    Willow,
    Her overweightness may contribute to the AI difficulties.

    Then again our Jersey cow has never took to AI but takes right away to natural breeding.

    Can't help you with the price - I think it's HIGH, but then we bartered for our 4 yo Jersey ($450 worth of milk) and are in the process of bartering for an open yearly Jersey (trading $350 worth of handyman jobs around their place)

    Let us know if you get her!
     

  3. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Thanks MLF!

    Anyone else have input? Hurry!!!! :)
     
  4. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Overweight can certainly contribute to her problems, I would also wonder if her last calf was an assisted delivery, that can create a few problems as well. If I were in your shoes, I think I'd probably take a chance on her but I'd base my offer price on current cull cow values and certainly not make my offer based on the possability of her breeding. He knows where he stands with her and what she's actually worth to him under these circumstances so you should be able to swing some sort of deal.
     
  5. NRS Farm

    NRS Farm Well-Known Member

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    I pretty much agree with what the others said. I think the price seems a bit high for a cull cow but if you could work out a better price I would try it...especially if the price would be close to what you would get for a cull cow (canner or cutter). My guess is the indertility is an overweight problem...I would try a bull on her though.
     
  6. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    He's selling her for slaughter.
    I'll be headed to the auction in about an hour ...

    Looking at the auction barn's website, cull cows last week went for $33-65 cwt. I'm figuring this girl will tip the scales at close to 2,000 lbs (not only is she fat, she's just huge in general). My boss expected her to fetch $1000-1200.

    That's a lot to gamble.
     
  7. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Your cull cow prices aren't going to go down anytime in the near future so you'd have time to sell her as a cull if you can't get her bred and the only thing you'd have invested is feed and it sounds like she needs very little of that.
     
  8. MARYDVM

    MARYDVM Well-Known Member

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    From your previous posts, it sounds like he sends a homestead type cow to the sale fairly often. Why not wait till another with better prospects comes along? A cow with a blind quarter would be a better bet, for example, than one who has known fertility problems. There are a lot of other things that could be wrong, besides being overweight. It won't matter how easy she is to milk if she's never able to freshen again.
     
  9. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    :haha: :haha: :haha:

    Mary, I really respect your advice since you're a DVM!
    In case I do buy her, what would you recommend as far as testing to see if something besides overweight is causing the problem?
    Blood test, uterine swab, etc. to check for infection or bacterial problems?
    Can you give me a ballpark figure as to how much it would cost?
    Would I be better off putting her through the whole nine yards right off the bat, or just turning her out with the bull for awhile and seeing what transpires?

    I suppose if I couldn't get her bred, as WR said, I could always send her back through the sale ... or have enough beef to fill my freezer for the next 10 years! :eek: :haha:

    Hoo boy, I'm already talking as if I had her bought! :rolleyes: Well, last time I had to do battle with a slaughter buyer ... this time I'm afraid my pocketbook may force me to drop out. :confused:
     
  10. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    P.S. He doesn't usually cull them just because they're three-teaters ... heck if he did, there would go a quarter of the herd. :(
     
  11. NRS Farm

    NRS Farm Well-Known Member

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    If you do have a vet check her out you might have them check for ovarian cysts (sp?). I have had cows already have cysts that the vet "popped" and they were later bred.
     
  12. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    P.S. another thing re:fertility. I have read that when you see signs of heat (i.e., mounting) you should AI 12 hours later ... see signs in the morning, breed in the afternoon, and vice versa. But he says it's better to breed as soon as you see signs, because the male sperm swim faster and die before the egg is present. He claims he's getting about 60 percent heifers this way, but I wonder if it might be increasing the risk of unsuccessful breedings?
     
  13. MARYDVM

    MARYDVM Well-Known Member

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    If he keeps records, check on breeding dates - cycling regularly, and showing strong heats? Or does she go over a few extra weeks before coming into heat again? That could mean she's conceiving, but losing the pregnancy early (not a good sign). The simplest evaluation is just to have the vet arm her. Looking for normally active ovaries, no scar tissue, proper size cervix, etc. etc. I don't think a lot of testing would help much, with too many different possible problems it would get expensive, and not necessarily produce a diagnosis.

    I guess my take on this is - if you were getting a bargain price it might be worth a gamble. But unless you have unlimited space and feed, she will be taking the place of a cow that could be a more reliable producer for you. Something like the cow you already bought, who only had problems with the milking parlor, seems a better bet. In the time it takes to get this one in shape, bred, and back in milk, you'll probably have the chance to buy ten others from this guy. He seems to go through a lot of cows.
     
  14. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    You ain't a-kiddin'! :(

    Well, folks, I bought her. Mary, you gave me some sound advice, and gosh I appreciate it. :)

    But when I got to the sale barn, I went out back to the pens looking for her, and when I spotted her, I gave the "cow call" I use to get them into the parlor, and she swung around, spotted me, looked dead at me and gave a big, indignant "MOOOOOO!" Like, what the heck am I doing here?

    Well, I am kind of a sucker, don'tcha know. :eek:

    I had to pay $56.50/cwt for her, and she came in at a whopping 1900 lbs! (gulp)

    It's lucky my hubby wuvs me! BHAHAHAHA! :haha:

    Talked to the neighbor, he has no probs with me running her with his herd. Maybe she'll get along a bit better with the bull than she did with the sleeve and straw! ;)

    She really is a nice cow. A real sweetheart ... if I can't get her bred, well, I don't know what I'll do. I'm going to try to be optimistic here ... :confused:

    Will talk to boss Fridayand find out if he had her vet-checked, etc. Also if she had any problems with her last calving ... that was around the time I started working there, and I didn't know anything then (I know damned little now, as it is! :haha: ) so I can't remember.

    This morning he was bragging about the top lines she comes from, on both her sire and dam's sides. I don't expect him to give me her paperwork for a slaughter price, but maybe he'll tell me who's in her pedigree!

    Right now she is out in the corrall ... I put her where she could see the other cows, and talk to them over the fence, but doesn't have to deal with them directly for a bit, until she settles down.

    The llamas freaked her out! For some reason, that always happens with horses, too ... it's like they look at the llamas and think they're one of their own kind, who has met with a horrible accident! :haha:
     
  15. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    P.S. I was sad to see that another cow he culled was one I have been trying to keep alive since she had a difficult delivery. :(

    She's the one I posted about on the 'swollen leg' thread.

    To be honest, I suppose it's better that she's being put out of her misery, instead of dying a slow lingering death.

    It still hurts to lose her though. :(

    I am probably too softhearted for this line of work, eh? :rolleyes: