Saturday, August 5, 2017

Onward & upward!

After finding out that my Sassy cow wasn't pregnant, it was necessary to reevaluate the situation after the disappointment wore off.

So, as I usually do when I need to make a bigger decision that will effect more than just me, I bounced the decision off those around me. Family, friends, even complete strangers through the cattle related groups on Facebook.

After putting it up in the forum on Facebook that I had this issue, I received a lot of advice & insight from the cattle people. In fact if I hadn't posted my questions and asked for recommendations, I would never have found the owner of this bull! The Lord is good. He is guiding & providing!

Through Facebook, once it became known that Sassafras was not cycling correctly, a woman who is into the mini Jersey world suggested trying a different loose mineral powder for her to try, stating that since putting her cows on this particular brand, that their cows have been healthier, able to produce stronger calves, & more able to maintain their weight. I figured heck I've got nothing to lose, & if it works, this will be one of the best $20 bills I've ever spent.  So I looked up the mineral brand, found a dealer & got some!

I then thought back to my own pregnancies, & thought a batch of probiotics wouldn't hurt. That maybe she's having digestive issues & the rumen in her gut may be a little weak or her cells are struggling to absorb the nutrients. So I got a small tube of that as well as the minerals, but not the brand the bovine nutrition lady at the feed store suggested. I didn't want to spend $68 on something that may not even help, so I bought a 4 dose syringe at Rural King. 

It worked. It worked so well in fact that she is cycling right now! I'm ecstatic! I never thought I would be so happy over a cow coming into season, and the risk of her attempting to mount me, or some other object in her hormone driven state... But I am! I am happy over a cow! Lol


I eventually decided that it was time to organize my thoughts, so I could think clearer, and some of the things I was trying to decide were:

What do I need to do to get her ready to be bred?
* Vet check
* Vaccinations
* Blood tests to prove she doesn't have a disease or a REASON she can't hang onto her pregnancy
* Hormone shot?
* CIDR (extremely strong hormone insert, similar to the T shaped human birth control, but for the opposite of what humans do, since cows do it TO GET PREGNANT instead AVOID pregnancy.
* Locate a transportation trailer

Do I want to attempt another artificial insemination? [I decided against it as it would most likely prove to be a failure. This option is not of the table for future years, just not going to do it this year.]

Do I want to locate a bull & haul her somewhere to let her visit & become acquainted with him? [This is the choice I made. I believe she will be more likely to actually conceive if I allow nature to take it's course the way God intended. At least for this breeding season.]

What are the cost comparisons? 
[* $30-$120 for AI depending on the breed we choose to breed her to (jersey, Dexter, & a couple meat breeds to choose from. Elmer has several straws in storage at Great Lakes Sire Service, which will keep indefinitely till he sells / uses them)
* Mini Jersey bull: $100 stud fee + $1/day unless I haul my own hay over for her to eat.
Waygu bull: $0 stud fee + 1 hay bale per month I plan to leave her there with him. But this is the last breed I want to cross with, next to Dexter's, because although they are the Japanese beef cattle breed, they take twice as long to mature to a butcherable age. The steaks are supposed to be too die for, but after what cost? 3 years of feed, into one mini cow, who would barely fill the freezer? I don't think so!
* Scottish Highland bull: unknown. Never became necessary to find out.

What am I willing to settle for if I can not find what i want?

(Locating a bull of the right breeding and temperament can sometimes prove to be a problem, so if push came to shove & I could find no other options what breed would I be willing to cross with?).


My order of preference is Jersey, Scottish Highland, Waygu, Irish Dexter. My girl has just enough Dexter in her genetic profile to not have the customary white ring around her nose... I do not want to strengthen that particular trait in her offspring, regardless that Dexter's are reputable as being docile

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Disappointing news

Today marks the 14th day past due on Sassafras.  I'm a basket case with this waiting game, & have decided to call the vet to see if he could come palpate rectally to determine if she's "late" or is in fact "open" & I've just been mistaken all this time.

Update 1: Vet is out of town till the 17th. Have called the man who did the AI for me back in October to see if he's available to do it.

Update 2: He is available, & will be here shortly. I have to clean the cow pen, but feel as though I should remain available as well... Who knows when he'll be here. He said he had to go AI a cow in the next town over, so it could be 45-min, it could be 3-hours. I think poop scooping is gonna win out till he gets here.

Update 3: Elmer showed up at the house around an hour & a half after I talked to him, just as I was finishing with spreading the clean stuff.

After palpating, he determined that she is inactive (no eggs moving around in the ovaries), & open, & has heat bag. Which means she's been out of season so long that her body has created a false bag.

I am really bummed but such is life... I guess.

He's advised that I replace the free choice mineral(Perhaps it's gotten old or something), & add a mineral block to make sure she's getting her vitamins. She's always struggled to have normal heat cycles so she's been on minerals for a long time, but I guess he thinks they aren't working or she's not getting enough...

Then he advised a shot of lutalyse & an attempt to rebreed using one of the straws he has stored up at Great Lakes Sire Service. (3 mini Jersey bulls, 2 beef, & 2 Dexter.)

If it doesn't work the 2nd time, coming from a high yield dairy operation mindset, he's advised that she may be a dud & to dispose of her. But I think before I turn her into hamburger (😢) I'm going to find a bull to let her visit with because... She's my pet... & I really don't want to ship her off...

I have had animals all my life. It's a fact of life that dead weight cannot remain, but I have become attached because I believed she was going to be a keeper who would earn her keep... 😭

Please pray for my cow... That she feels better & gets pregnant...