Artificial Insemination~And that’s NO BULL

  Mary Connealy

To my surprise I mentioned to some friends (well, FORMER FRIENDS, the wimps) that I came home the other day and there was semen on my front porch. (Note the warning to keep the tank upright…I’m guessing that there is NO ORDER concerning a semen tank that anyone would dare disobey.)

 Their reaction – a cross between horror, amazement and completely tasteless jokes—made me think this might make a good topic for Petticoats & Pistols.
Now stick with me all you CITY GIRLS while I tell you about Artificial Insemination of cattle.
    My husband is a rancher. He has cows that give birth every spring. The next winter, he sells off the year’s calf crop and then in the spring, here come more babies.
    They are unbelievable cute. And it’s a sign we are true country people because we can love them and fuss over them and coddle them and then. . . without batting an eye. . .we can eat them.
    So these are beef cattle. . .not to be confused with dairy cattle. . .and my husband mainly raises Angus.
Angus are black (although there are RED Angus-one is pictured above left) but for the most part when you say Angus, you mean a black cow.
The majority of his cattle are just nice, run-of-the-mill angus cows, but there is this special side to raising beef cattle that can lead to big money.
No, it hasn’t led us there yet, but my husband has a dream, a cool dream, that he’ll raise that magical perfect, beautiful animal with all the right ancestors and all the right lines; wide butt, broad chest, deep belly, (uh-oh, I just described myself) and this animal will be valuable and have valuable babies and maybe even, if it happens to be a BULL it might be marketable for it’s semen.
The pictures of the calves are from our herd and that’s my husband on the right, this picture doesn’t capture my husband’s basic cuteness. The hood really wrecks it but the man wasn’t about to pose and smile for the camera.
    So, to that end, my husband buys semen. He buys registered Angus cows and semen from snazzy Angus bulls and breeds the cows using artificial insemination.
    I just heard Cheryl St. John scream and faint, toss some water on her, bring her around, she’s not going to want to miss the rest.
First he has to pick out semen. And for that he gets catalogues. Catalogues full of the most beautiful pictures of these magnificent, heavily muscled, shining black bulls.
   With really amazing names like (these aren’t all Angus-but they’re real bulls):
Hornster, Rib Eye; Red Hot Poker; Romeo; Grand Slam; Ladies Man; Bullicious; Rapid Response; Powerhouse; Red Hot & Rollin’—I could go on forever.
    They seem to have a naughty bend. . .at least quite a bit of the time. Hmmmm I guess I’ll forego a comment on that, nothing I’m thinking bears repeating.
   So he buys the semen and he makes his choices on this list of things, attributes that the bull owner promises. (Many of these bulls are dead-we can talk about that if you want). Here are some sample promises:
Birth weight of 56 pounds (that’s small-which doesn’t matter and is in fact good IF the calf gains quickly, a small calf is easier for the cow to deliver and complications are reduced)
–Progeny are Strong-topped, Deep and Sound with Ample Eye-appeal (this is NOT in English, do NOT worry if you have no idea what it means)
–Structured bull who possesses loads of bone substance, base width, muscle mass and volume.
— one of the most talked about bulls in the business
— Over 100 calves ratioed 97 for birth wt. in nine herds, 103 for weaning weight, and 60 calves ratioed 102 for yearling wt (this is actually something to really brag about but I don’t have time to define all the terms, just trust me)
— This may be the most powerful “878” son you’ll see with plenty of muscle and bone. (878 is the name of another bull, in this case, this bull’s daddy.)
 He gets these full color beautiful catalogues with pictures of bulls that (this is secret so don’t tell my husband I said it) ALL LOOK ALIKE.
     I’ve put up pictures of black angus and other types of cattle, you’ll note the black angus are all BLACK, try picking one of them out of crowd. The weird thing is, my husband can do it. We have about 250 head of cattle mostly all black, a bunch of them baby calves and he KNOWS THEM APART. This from a man who can’t seem to remember it’s my BIRTHDAY, but that’s a topic for another blog.
    They all look NICE, but c’mon, they’re black angus bulls. Of course they’re not all “the most powerful “878” son you’ll see—”, but those details don’t exactly show up in the snapshot.
   Then he buys it and it’s shipped to our house (do NOT ask me who does this for a living. The vet maybe? Is there an actual ‘semen delivery man’. Does UPS handle this stuff).
    The tank which looks a little like a teensy spaceship, arrives. It’s brutally killing cold inside. My husband transfers this to his own brutally killing cold tank and then bides his time. Waits for the cow to – well, let’s just say ‘express an interesting in–uh–well, falling in love and getting married and going on a honeymoon–for one day’ – when this happens, my husband is ready.

    It’s actually pretty tricky. I’m skipping details that you’d THANK me for skipping if you just knew what they are. Don’t even TALK about Gomer Bulls, that’s just too weird.
     And I listen to words like cervix and ‘in heat’ and servicing and settling, and hear my husband say, “I’ve got to go breed a cow” with my Wheaties in the morning and think nothing of it.

   Until I mention to some city girls (Please unblock me from your email. I promise not to bring up what’s on my porch again-although I’ve got a rabid skunk story that I think you’d love. And there’s a REASON it looks like there’s been a drive-by shooting on my porch. And does anyone know where to buy large quantities of wood putty?).
And that’s what made me realize this little slice of my life might be of some interest to others.
Any questions?
If you want to know what a Gomer Bull is, Google it. I am NOT going into that. Ick.
  And here for your enjoyment, a few captions
A Gomer Bull has had surgery WHERE?

I’m being replaced with a frozen tank? I don’t think so. Bring it!

I have the best job in the world!







Mama and baby 


A new series begins with Montana Rose-coming in July

A departure from the westerns with a cozy mystery in a small town

Nosy in Nebraska coming in June

Book #3 Lassoed in Texas Series-available on Amazon-click the covers to purchase

Find out more at


Website | + posts

Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series

44 thoughts on “Artificial Insemination~And that’s NO BULL”

  1. That was funny–and educational! I had no idea. Loved it when you said they all look alike–and the porn bull names. LOL Great photos, too.

  2. Hi Mary, the Hornster is my favorite of the names 🙂 As usual you’ve got me laughing but it’s 4 a.m. here so I gotta pipe down. The pix are great and so is the info.

    I had no idea some Angus are red, either. Entertaining and educational at once!

    Congrats on all your books. ou’ll have to slip us a pic of your cutie hubby another time.


  3. Hi Mary, I just started my day with a big grin. Seriously, this was a better “wake up” than strong coffee. The bull names cracked me up. So did your breakfast conversation with your husband. Do you ever watch “Dirty Jobs?” They did a segment on artificial insemination with horses. Yep, upclose and personal. Thanks for not going into the “gomer” bull!

  4. hmm. the power went out for a second while I was reading your blog. Wonder what that was all about. Thanks for an interesting, yet not too indepth look at cattle breeding.

  5. Hi Mary. My hubby is a cattle rancher too so I know whereof you speak 🙂 And yes, he also knows everyone of them individually. He no longer raises purebreds though – his are mostly Hereford/Brangus mixes pastured with a Beefmaster bull. Thanks for a really fun post this morning.

  6. Mary you’ve just written a classic. There’s gotta be a story in here (but maybe not for inspirationals??). Loved it! And the bulls are beauties.
    The 1919 historical I’m just finishing is about a heroine who wants the hero’s gorgeous stallion to breed her prize mares, but they do it the old fashioned way. (and if I write any more on this topic I’ll get myself in trouble. Need coffee.)
    Thanks again for the great start to the day.

  7. Mary, is nothing sacred with you? 🙂 Just imagine someone’s expression if that “tank” was delivered to the wrong house–to someone in the city. Snicker…

  8. Hello Mary,

    I needed some comic relief this morning and I got it. Thanks. Loved all the info. Have a great day.

  9. Tanya, I’m partial to Bullicious. A lot of these ranchers have a little too much spare time, I’d say.

    Dirty Jobs did Artificial Insemination? Up close and personal?

    Well, it’d qualify as a dirty job. Eek.

  10. *lizzie, my power went out overnight sometime. I never thought of it as trying to save the world from my blog. Ouch.

    Winnie! Your husband is a rancher? We HAVE to talk. We also are working on something called Club Calves. And those are all mixed breeds. Do you guys do that?

    Interesting fun fact, the oldest frozen semen in existance was saved in 1952.
    And Ivanhoe, was probably the most famous Holstein bull of the early semen era. He died in November 1963. From time to time calves will still be born from his frozen semen.

  11. Elizabeth, a classic huh? Isn’t THAT a sad commentary!

    And Vickie, maybe I should have just kept eating my Wheaties and forgotten all about this. But it’s STILL on my porch.

    My husband said the tanks are loaded with liquid nitrogen and stay cold…no electricity…no nuthin’ they just sit there freezing cold for about four months.

  12. Stacey! You get these catalogues?
    It’s the honest truth that these bulls are gorgeous. A popular bull can earn MILLIONS of dollars in his lifetime.

    And of course, if they preserve the semen far beyond his lifetime.

  13. We also have bulls, we don’t breed all our cattle with A.I. (that’s artificial insemination, NOT Artificial Intelligence-our intelligence is real not artificial!)
    My husband said that with a really young bull he will sometimes ‘fall in love’ with a cow and stay with her and ignore the rest of the herd and his duties to them.
    Older bulls aren’t like that. They do their job and shoo the cow away to go look for a new ‘special friend’. Also, they very often find a shade tree and just stand there and the cows come to them.

  14. Mary – get the smelling salts for Cheryl. I may be next. I’m laughing my head off at the LIVE BUlL SEMEN – KEEP UPRIGHT. What happens if you don’t?
    What a topic!
    You’re the real deal! No wonder you write westerns- you have all the necessary background! I’m impressed by your bulls. It’s gonna be hard to eat steak tonight and not think of you!

  15. What an interesting blog when you said you lost power all I could think of was your tank on the porch I am so glad it stays cold for 4 months on it own.
    You have learned a bunch about bulls from your hubby and just like a man to know which bull is who and to forget your birthday or anniversary.

  16. I have no idea what happens if they tip over. But I picture myself…did you ever see that movie with Nicholas Cage on Alcatraz with Sean Connery? The Rock?
    Those green glass balls containing some deadly chemical weapon…and Nicholas has to DIVE to keep them from hitting the ground and exploding.

    He just lays himself out flat, no regard for bumps and bruises, diving forward and grasps the green ball seconds before it hits.

    Well, that’s me if this tank starts tipping over.

    I mean c’mon…you would do ANYTHING to obey the clearly posted rules on this thing.

    And it does look like a space ship. It was just there when I got home one night. How did it get there? It must’ve LANDED there.

    So, being of an imaginative nature, I lay away nights and listen to see if tiny rockets fire and the ‘tank’ takes off and flies back to … the planet…. Cowptune

  17. Hi, Brenda. I sort of cornered my husband last night to ask really detailed questions…so I could share with y’all today.

    Well, he was…reticient… He said I didn’t really want to know.
    He said in effect, “You can’t HANDLE the truth.”
    Then he finally went into EXTREME details…

    I think it’s only fair to say, he was right. I can’t handle the truth. And neither can you.

  18. I am feeling sorry for the girl cows. They don’t get any of the fun that the big daddies seem to be having with the “collectors.” All they ever get to do is breed babies that have been planted. What a dreary life.

    Please tell your husband all girls just want to have fun.

  19. Add in that at the end of their dreary life they get eaten and it all really sucks.
    As the cow gets older, eventually the year comes when she doesn’t get pregnant and then BAM she’s lunch.

    Of course while they’re with us they are the most spoiled critters you’ve EVER seen…and maybe it’s not such a bad life.

    And my husband helps do a fertility test on his bulls every year…I’ll spare you THOSE details except to say there is electricity, a head gate and, well, a…. (no, I just can’t say it….)

    But my husband said he is fairly certain, taking it all into account…that…during the procedure…the bull isn’t having any fun.

  20. ROTFL!!! Talk about taking all the “romance” out of it, huh, Cheryl. I live in California Cow Country where there are plenty of promiscuous cows and happy bulls *g*—all part of the spring scenery on the drive to school… 😉

  21. Mary,

    I loved the humor in your article! I’m a city girl and I don’t think I could find that much humor in that situation to save my life!

  22. Hi, Edwina, thanks for stopping in.

    The humor…well, it’s life, it’s just the way it is.

    There is a huge market for pedigreed dogs, race horses, lots of animals … um … DO this for a living.

    My husband said that it would be impossible for him to buy a pure bred angus bull with these fantastic qualities. Or course we buy pure bred angus bulls, but usually for … oh they may cost three to five thousand dollars. We have four of them to ‘take care’ of the herd of 120 cows.

    But the snazzy bulls, well, they can sell for a ton of money. In fact I just heard of a guy buying ONE QUARTER INTEREST in a bull for ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS.

    So the money is huge and we can’t afford to buy a bull of that quality and let him run around the pasture, what if he stubbed a toe? We’d be bankrupt.

    So instead, by doing this, we have access to the very best bulls on the market for an affordable price.

    The ‘straws’ or ‘ampules’ euphamisms for … well, anyway … cost about $30 – $50 dollars.

    Dairy cattle are far more valuable because they judge a bull by the milk production of his daughters. If you get a bull who will pass on great milk production ability that is worth a fortune.

    Because of current AI methods, milk production is increasing by thirty-three gallons per cow with each successive generation

  23. Mary,

    I’m reading this thinking yeah, okay, that makes sense. Can we tell I grew up in farm country? My father is still the best source of information on raising chickens that I’ve found.

    Best of luck on the search for the finest “no-bull” to be had!

  24. There’s no way on earth that I would pass on reading
    a Mary Connealy blog! You never know what will be
    offered for your education, entertainment, and
    exercise! Rolling around on the floor and laughing
    your backside off does count as exercise, doesn’t it? Thanks, Mary, and thank your husband for his
    help in providing today’s entertainment!!!

    Pat Cochran

  25. Too funny, Mary. I’ll have to let dh read this!

    Also, remember that I was not the least bit shocked or surprised at your announcement that you had a tank of semen on your porch!

    Your hubby sounds just like mine. He can spot which calf belongs to which cow a mile away, and he calls one of our current bulls “Baby”. Baby weights about 2000 lbs!

  26. Oh, you country girls make me jealous! Right now birdsong in the garden outside my window is about as country as I can get.

    Now, I for one dearly want to know about the fertility tests your hubby does on the bulls. Don’t hold back. Please share.


  27. Pat, I don’t think my husband gets any credit. Almost every word he said did NOT bear repeating.

    Either amazingly …. searching for a word here …. frank ….. earthy …. explicit, or just plain gross.

    Yeah, Pam, bring your husband in on this. We need a voice of reason. I asked my husband if he’d log on today and comment.


    That was his comment.

    He did actually laugh when I forced him to sit down and read it for accuracy.

    He also reminded me that he DOES remember my birthday. Which he does. “But honey, I had to go for the joke, you get that, right?”

    “Does it sell any books?” he asked.

    “It might.” Mary replied.

    “Great, insult me all you want then.”

    He’s a good sport about this author thing I’m doing.

  28. Tanya, you must trust me. You do NOT want to know.

    I can see it now…five years inthe future…Tanya laying on a bed…under twenty-four hour watch.

    “Can you tell me WHEN you began having feelings of dispair and panic?”

    “Well, Dr. Eisenberg, near as I can remember, it was in 2009. I was reading this blog about, about, about, about…’twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are, up above..”

    “Mz Hanson, come back, don’t start singing.”

    “…the world so high. Like a diamond…”

    “Mz Hanson, ma’am…” slap slap slap.

    “…in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle…”

    “Nurse get me the thorazine and a dart gun. She’s getting away!!!!!!!”

    No, Tanya, I won’t be telling you details. Trust me. I’m begging you.

  29. What a cute post if you use your imaginations. I have never been around anything like this so it was interesting! I will have to check into this more.

  30. Awwww, poor Gomers. Seriously, how sad and…unrewarding. Getting to play chase, but never get the to be the “IT” bull. How unfortunate.

  31. HAH! I actaully find this hilarious and sort of cool. I went adn Googled Gomer Bull….third link??? This blog right here.

    I suppose this is the most attention a Gomer Bull has recieved in the history of the internet.

  32. People don’t know what they are missing if they haven’t lived in the country. Never lived on a farm or ranch, but helped neighbors when growing up. Most people don’t realize how long artificial insemination has been done in the farming/ranching business. The dairy farm near us did it the old way, but the bulls were really vicious. We did have a few neighbors who raised black angus and used artificial insemination in addition to having a few bulls – this was in the 60’s.
    The animal stories one can tell of funny (or not so funny) incidents is extensive. No rabid skunks yet, but a bear that took a chunk out of my son’s arm. Cows on the porch at 4AM knocking furniture off and trying to figure out how to get off.
    It is never dull and that is the way life should be. Nice pictures.

  33. A BEAR!!!!!!!!!!!

    Not funny, Patricia. Or more correctly to say, while the bear was taking the chunk out ofyour son, were you standing there thinking, “Boy oh boy, someday we’ll look back on this and laugh.”

    Bet not.

  34. Mary, once again you tickled my funny bone. Us Nebraska gals have to stick together. I grew up in town but married into a farm family… the things I learned in that first year!

  35. Wasn’t laughing, we were in Colorado and our son was house sitting for us in Tennessee. He let our dogs out about 11PM. A bit later they were barking and wouldn’t come in. The young terrier wouldn’t leave the porch. The two old arthritic ones were in the pasture barking like crazy. Our son, Matthew, slipped through the barbed wire fence to haul them in. Unfortunately about 20 feet or so in, he bumped into a very angry, very large bear with 2 dogs barking at it. I’m not sure who threw the first punch, but my son punched the bear in the nose and the bear swiped at him. Matthew ran, jumped through the fence and the dogs followed. We found out the next day from our daughter – “Mom, don’t tell him I told you…”. I spent the next hour on the phone – our son, Fish and Game, the health department, the state vet. My son never did go to the doctor even though the game warden who investigated recommended he did. We got home 2 days later. I noticed his blankets were in the wash. Checked the bed and there was a three foot wide stain from where he had bleed. He has a nice pair of scars on his forearm and has lost some of the sense of touch on the top of his arm and left hand. It was the morning we got home from that trip at 2AM that the cow was on the porch.

Comments are closed.