The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Synchronized Cow

October 7th, 2015 by Ed Bruske


Here’s the latest twist in our efforts to impregnate our Jersey cow, Emily: Starting Sunday, we will begin giving her a series of hormone shots what will culminate in artificial insemination on October 21.

How can we be so sure of the date? In fact, if I took a couple of minutes to make some calculations, I could even narrow down the hour when the inseminator would do the dirty deed, as Emily at that point will be “synchronized,” meaning timed to ovulate according to the hormone shots we give her.

That’s just the miracle of today’s modern bovine breeding science. Well, maybe not so miraculous. Our vet says the odds of  a pregnancy resulting from synchronization are just north of 40 percent. It would be much more certain if Emily were to give some definitive sign she is in heat–such as standing in the pasture and bellowing for no apparent reason–but lately she hasn’t, despite the interventions of various artificial breeding techniques.

I’m guessing most consumers are unaware of the role pharmaceuticals and modern technology play in producing that gallon of  milk they pluck from the cold case at the supermarket. Cows can’t give milk, after all, unless they’ve first given birth, and there ain’t no bulls standing around the modern dairy farm.

Besides these hormones, some cows wear electronic necklaces or ankle bracelets that alert the dairy technicians to any unusual movements that might indicate they are coming into heat.

Seems it’s not so easy being a small-time farmer.



Heat? No Heat?

October 4th, 2015 by Ed Bruske


Oh, Emily. When did you decide to play hard to get?

On Friday, I removed from our Jersey cow a uterine hormone implant she’d been carrying around for the last week and then gave her a hormone shot, the result of which was supposed to be “a very strong heat” within 48 hours.

But more than 48 hours have passed and still Emily shows no signs of being in any kind of romantic mood. I won’t go into the details of what constitutes a bovine overture to love. The biggest problem is, there aren’t any other cows around that might help signal Emily’s readiness for the inseminator.

I’m not sure what the next step is. Maybe Emily will surprise us. It’s all very frustrating, because Emily was so obvious when she was a heifer. She’d just stand and bellow when she was ready. Then she got pregnant on the first try and had her calf nine months later with nary a problem.

And now the silent treatment. Is it something we said, Emily, or are you just not into us anymore?

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