Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bulls and Babies - Present and Future

We had our own rodeo on the County Line last Friday. Thankfully, the bulls skipped the bucking portion of the rodeo event and proceeded calmly to their doctor's appointment with Dr. Dayul Dick from Prairie Vista Veterinary Hospital. So maybe I should call it a round-up instead. Semantics, you know! And I'll gladly give credit where credit is due.
Dr. Dick came to the farm to test our five bulls through a breeding soundness examination. (For a complete - though PG - description of the process, click here on last year's "job interview" post.)
All five bulls passed the exam and were ready for action, so to speak. 
The four Angus bulls "went a callin' " to the heifers, beginning yesterday.
The ladies had to have their doctor's appointments, too. From March 18-31, our 25 yearling heifers had their silage topped with MGA. MGA stands for melengestrol acetate, which suppresses the ovulation cycle for the heifers. That was the first step in getting  the heifers to come into estrus (or heat) at the same time. These heifers were born in early 2015. In 2017, they will become mothers for the first time.

Yesterday, we rounded up the heifers for their turn through the working chute.
Randy gave each heifer a shot of Lutalyse, which makes them come into estrus (or heat).

The Lutalyse also synchronizes the heifers' cycles. We do this to shorten the calving season for the heifers, which saves labor at calving time. (Well, it saves some labor for the humans - not the mama cows.) Because heifers are first-time mamas, we check them frequently in case they are having trouble calving.
"What? It's my turn?" this heifer seemed to say. She reminded me of a toddler who covers her eyes and thinks no one can see her. Despite her diversion tactics, she had her turn in the chute, too.

Once the heifers got their shots, it was time for the bulls to join them. It will likely be a couple of days for "romance" to blossom, in other words, for the Lutalyse to work.
And then, some 9 months later, we'll hope to have lots of healthy babies running around. We are down to just a few to calve for the 2016 County Line "class."
Also last Friday, we had another rodeo event - calf wrestling - without the horse or the rope.
 Three babies had been born at this location since we had worked baby calves earlier.
The guys followed the same routine, but it was a little more challenging without the squeeze chute. Randy wanted this particular "rodeo" event scheduled before the rain. I guess he didn't want to reenact a greased pig race. These guys were already fast enough!
The mamas were none too happy to be separated from their babies. They didn't mind protesting - loudly!
I was guarding a gate to keep the babies from making a hasty exit underneath. A mama seemed to question my intentions.

A critic in every bunch, right? Political rallies aren't the only events with protesters.


  1. The calves look gorgeous. How farming methods have changed. it's lovely to see the cattle plodding through the water.

    1. Yes, even though it was sloppy, we sure weren't complaining about the rain!

  2. So how do you guys make sure that the bulls don't breed their own daughter so as to prevent birth defects.

    1. We replace bulls every four years. When we buy a new bull, we look for a new bloodline.