Sunday, 24 February 2008

Jinny's AI

Jinny our Limousin cow was bulling this week.
This means she is in season and ready to be served.
To recognise when a cow is in season is not to difficult even for a novice.
A cow shows signs of this by jumping on the rear of another cow, or mounting them as they say, the cow in season usually stands for the others to jump her.
When there are a few of them together it can be difficult at first because it is like a wrestling match to see who can get there first.
This usually occurs in the day time or early hours of the morning.
Later in the day things get a little less hectic, and the cow in season sometimes pairs off with another cow and they spend most of the day jumping one another.
We once had a heifer that took it upon herself to run all the way up the road to our neighbours looking for the bull, luckily for us he was not at home that day, as she was to young to be in calf as yet.
Once they get the notion in to their heads it is hard to get them to do anything you want because nature says find the bull, anyway it took us most of the morning to get her home that day.
But the next month she came into season she paraded herself at the gate like a little floozy taunting the bull next door, next thing he jumped the gate and did the dirty deed, we had to get the vet to come down an give her what they call the morning after pill for cows, she was only 12 months old at the time, which is far to young to put in calf, although there are those out there that think this is okay to do, but at what cost, maybe a calf or both can be lost at birth.
Well back to Jinny she was ready for the bull, we called the AI man who comes up from Fort William 40 miles away to do the deed.
He usually comes down to our place between 8pm & 10pm depending on when she first showed signs of bulling, or how busy he is at the time, sometimes he has come up at 6am the next morning the window is only open for about 18hours at a push, once it is shut that's it for another 21-28 days.
Well our AI man arrives, I have sandwiches, scones and a flask of tea waiting for him as he is a busy man sometimes it must be hard for him to stop and eat sensibly.
We already have the cow in season ready and waiting in the crush, sometimes this is easy to do sometimes it is a bit of a nightmare depending on which cow is going into the crush.
Usually we can tempt them in with a bucket of nuts other times they have to be run in between the gates, where a metal bar is slipped in behind them to stop them turning back or kicking.
Once she is in the crush we can relax a bit, we spend a little while passing the time of day and putting the world to rights whilst the AI man has a break and a cuppa.
We then decide which bull we would like our cow to be served by, Ronwick Iceman was our choice, a good strong Limousin bull.
The AI man has a large tank like a fat old milk churn full of liquid Nitrogen which keeps the semen straws frozen safely in the back of his pickup, it has 6 compartments inside the churn and each compartment is full of a wide variety of bulls, all waiting to be used to bring life into the world, you can still get semen straws from bulls that died up to 20 years ago as long as they are kept in the liquid Nitrogen, science is a wonderful thing especially for people like us, where keeping a bull is not an option, because of limited space, neighbouring bulls and extra feeding.
Anyway the AI man gets to work, firstly he will put his elbow length gloves on and put a lubricant on his glove fingers, he then inserts his gloved and lubricated fingers in to the cows rectum very slowly, this is to encourage her to empty her bowels this makes things a little easier when inserting the straw.
Once she has emptied her bowels, he puts his hand inside her rectum again up to below the elbow, the has the seamen straw inside a long thin metal syringe type instrument, which he inserts in to the vulva, one he finds the Fallopian tube through the rectum wall he inserts the syringe and pushed the end of the syringe to release the sperm.
He gently removes his hand and that is what we hope is job done, unless she repeats, which means we have to go through the same process all over again, but this is not as common as you would think.

Jinny in the crush head secured and bar behind her.
This stops her moving about and kicking.

Hand inserted into the rectum to clear out her bowels.
This allows better access to the uterus.

Syringe is inserted slowly using the hand inside the rectum
feeling through the rectum wall
to guide the syringe into the correct position.

Syringe is maneuvered into the correct position.
Then the plunger is pressed to release the sperm.

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