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
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 d
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.
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
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Find out more at www.maryconnealy.com
Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series