The cows and heifers were scanned today to check that they were pregnant and to confirm calving dates. It went well, all but two cows were pregnant (there were a few who deliberately weren’t put in calf) and all but one heifer, she may have lost it. 2.5% of the cows weren’t in calf which is pretty good considering the year that was in it as we had a few that retained cleanings (afterbirth) due to mineral deficiency. We were feeding minerals at the recommended rate but with the poorer quality silage, it just didn’t cut it. We had a few cows that were seen on heat 9 weeks after the first conception and one of the non-pregnant ones was one of those. It’s very easy for cows to lose calves up to 50 days, even a stress of some sort can cause the embryo to be re-absorbed. We still have to work out the success rate of the first service. It looks like 80% of heifers went in calf to the first service (first artificial insemination).
Someone asked how does one scan a cow? Well, the technican stands behind the cow as shown in the picture, he wears very long gloves as he puts his left hand in and then feeds in the probe with his right hand (also into the rectum). The foetus is then picked up in the womb. He is able to tell us (from his experience) by the measurements how pregnant she is and what date the cow is due. After 4.5 months of pregnancy though, it is hard to tell the due date. He used to use a monitor television screen for us to view the foetus but now he has snazzy goggles and can view the foetus in them. I got to see twins – it was a bit hard to make them out initially but he got the probe into the correct position, checked them on the goggles and then I was able to see them. They were mixed twins – the heifer calf being smaller than the bull calf even at the 50 day stage.
The technican mentioned he has seen a couple of abnormalities in other herds, none were detected today so fingers crossed, all will go well regarding escaping the Schmallenbourg virus.
This year we calved down 143, if all goes well, there will be 147 in 2014.
I almost forgot – Queenie is pregnant. Hubby pretended to be annoyed but we’re both delighted.