Saturday, November 13, 2010

Respect for a Breeder...

Don't let the books and pictures fool you! Artificial Insemination is no easy task! My last 3 days have been spent learning how to AI Cattle. We started out with a book session Thursday night learning the basics of the reasoning behind why it works, sire selection, anatomy of the cow, semen handling, and tips on technique. Looking through the book and at the pictures, they make it sound like a simple task. Feel through the rectum wall, grab onto the cervix and insert your gun! Yeah, may sound easy, but let me tell ya, it is NOT!

In the cow session day 1: I went 3 out of 10...and that's just getting the gun to the cervix! I only passed one through on my own!  (Now, if you have ever palpated cattle before, this next comment will make total sense to you, if not, you may want to look up the definition of palpation or try it sometime!) Holy Rectal Wall muscle strength!! I never realized that the rings in the wall of the rectum could squeeze your arm quite that tight! I swear some of those cows were gonna cut of complete circulation! So, needless to say, my arm was quite sore at the end of day 1!

Now on to day 2! On the second day, we started working more on semen handling-getting it from the tank to the water as quickly as possible-then out of the water to the warm gun quickly-putting the warm gun in your shirt-and getting it to the cow as quick as possible. Notice the pattern-quickly, quickly, quickly...When you've got 15 students working on 11 cows and out of 2 semen takes time! The nice thing about it was that all the semen was already dead from our previous practice in the classroom (which was ok with them because they really didn't want the cows bred anyway!) But regardless, we were practicing from start to finish! However, my luck was even worse today! I had two passes where i had the gun right on top of the cervix, one all the way past and into the horn, and only one in the correct spot! Although I had a good day compared to some, I was hoping for a little better! Never the less, I now know how to do it and with a little more practice(and a lot of resting my still sore arm) I could become a pro!

So, next time you see someone AI a cow, or hear someone talk about it, remember to show them some respect about it! It's not an easy task and several farmers and ranchers know how to do it and do it well! Until you have tried it, you can't possibly imagine the difficulty level and the amount of time and practice it takes to get good at it!


  1. Good luck Caroline. Practice makes perfect, after a few hundred it will be a piece of cake.

  2. Ew. Well, good luck all the same!

  3. Caroline, I'm going to read this every day

    Big Rob