A.I.

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Anonymous

I am considering changing from keeping a bull to AI. I have had one bull go sterile then the next bull scattered the calves over a 4 mth period. I have a small herd approx 20 cows. How much work is involved in this? How cost effective is it? Do I have the vet come out or take that cows to the vet? Can someone else than a vet do this? How hard is it to syncronize the cows?Any help and suggestions would be appreciated.

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Anonymous

The primary significant cost is the nitrogen refrigerator (semen tank), but if you have a dairy or other beef herd nearby you may be able to store the semen in their tank. A qualified AI technician is not necesarrily a vet. Most good vets are frequently too busy to work you in on short notice. There is probably a representative from one of the major studs that serves your area, contact him her. They should be able to tell you who does AI in your area or possibly provide the service themselves. You will need some type of restraint, headgate, crowding chute, whatever. Unless you go real nuts about exotic semen or raise an uncommon breed, semen is available from good proven bulls from 12 to 25 bucks a unit. One unit per breeding. The hardest part about AI is heat detection, more programs fail I think because of this then all other factors combined. You need to take a minimum of half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening, every day to be effective. Synchronization usually involves several shots and then heat detection over a short period of time. We don't synchronize and all our calves but one was burn within a 29 day period. Long story about the one that stretched it out to 50 days. Good AI schools are available from a number of companies/people. I prefer the ones that are over three days long but that is a preference from having seen too many folks attend the 3 day deals and never get a cow bred. Some folks just can't do it, in the school I atended out of 15 students three failed the course. It's not hard to learn or do, it just takes practice. Hope this didn't muddy the waters too much.

dunmovin farms

> I am considering changing from
> keeping a bull to AI. I have had
> one bull go sterile then the next
> bull scattered the calves over a 4
> mth period. I have a small herd
> approx 20 cows. How much work is
> involved in this? How cost
> effective is it? Do I have the vet
> come out or take that cows to the
> vet? Can someone else than a vet
> do this? How hard is it to
> syncronize the cows?Any help and
> suggestions would be appreciated.
 
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Anonymous

>I use A.I. on about 15 cows but it is a pain in the ass! Here in the n.east most semon jockeys work for the dairys and it's hard to get one scheduled for a once a year visit to a beef herd where they dont sell you some of their semon, (who in their right mind would want a holstein bull used) If you track down your own semon from an animal that suits you, you have to arrange to have it shipped, stored, or as dunmoven says own your own tank. Tanks are modestly expensive andneed to be serviced every couple of months (topped off with nitrogen) and can develope leaks, they're just an overgrown thermos bottle. With the shots to syncronize, bull juice at $20/straw, and paying an insemination teck. the cost is about the same as just buying a halfway decent bull.... on the other hand with the followup preg check, you don't miss a season because of a sterile bull, you don't have to bring him back from the neighbor's cows and fix fence, and you can use the absolute best genetics available world wide....for about the cost of a halfway decent bull. PS dirty little secret, conception rates on a one time shot are approx 50% and depend a lot on the teck's skill follow-up breedings cost extra
 
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Anonymous

The major advantage of AI is accessing the best genetics worldwide for a fraction of the cost. We average 90% first service conception over the past 17 years, so either jon has a poor tech or his heat detection skills are off. Yes, the average is 80% or so on heifers and 75% on cows. In Western Ontario, we have Gencor which is part of the Semex Alliance, which can provide both the beef breed semen and the insemination service, they are very prompt and easy to schedule--call before 7am and they arrive earlier in day but you'll definitely get same day service if you call before 10am. If the same isn't available in your area, it really shouldn't be hard to co-ordinate a synchronized breeding with several animals to do! Also, vets can certainly AI animals when we have the training,(mainly for proper thawing of semen) and the equiptment, but that would be an expensive option!

And unless you have a tank that leaks, they need replenishment with liquid nitrogen every 4 months, and ours is filled automatically, we don't have to call!
 
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Anonymous

As usual the previous postings have given a lot of good information. Here are a couple more points to add. If you decide to A.I. try to schedule the breeding season for a cooler part of the year. If the air temperature is too hot you will not get very agressive mountings which will make heat detection very difficult. In order to make detection easier you may think about using a hormone treated cow with a marking ball. She will mount more agressively than non hormone treated cows but will be cheaper to feed and nowhere near as agressive as a bull. Finally, the point about using A.I. being cheaper than using a bull is correct. With the sychronization and top semen not only will you calves have better growth and carcass characteristics, but they will also be larger because they will be born earlier in the breeding season. Just as important, they would all have the same proven genetics and be close in size which should bring additional dollars at sale time.

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Anonymous

Year before last, I decided to take an AI class, being fifty years old, a little old, fat lady, and only having a few head of cattle. The only thing I knew about the back end of a cow was that you cleaned up after it, and it could hurt you! (I knew slightly more about cows themselves). Anyway, I went to an AI school out here in the Pacific Northwest. I was impressed with all I could learn in three and a half days, but still opted for a tech to come AI my heifers. I decided to synchronize them. The tech cost six dollars per cow, and since I had never handled the heifers in such a manner, he even showed me some cow handling things that made the process more manageable. I only had three heifers to offer... two were got the first time. The calves were born one day apart. How cool is that???? The third heifer, I did my own AI on, and was successful.... MY FIRST TIME OUT! YAH!!!... I will never have more than twenty-five head of cows... hardly enough to justify keeping a bull happy, and contained. I will never, ever, EVER again synchronize... cattle don't need the extra hormones, and you can get a pretty strong heat if you just bump the protein up for a couple of days before you expect the cow to come into heat. Speaking as an old, fat, little lady, I highly recommend AI... for ease, expense control, and the satisfaction of knowing.... I DID THIS! One thing to keep in mind is... get to know your herd. The message that said to spend half an hour morning and evening watching the cattle, walking among them... is VERY good advice. I figure that if I ever get up to the twenty-five head mark, I will still be able to get all of my breeding done in one month.

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