Sunday, May 6, 2012
It's That Time of Year
The heifers (female cows that have never given birth) are fed a feed additive to help synchronize their heat (reproductive cycle). Then they are taken off the feed additive, given a drug and a gray tape is put on the tail head (top of the tail). The cows mount each other when they are going into heat, which scratches off the gray and shows the orange. In this way, the cowboys can easily detect which cows are in heat. Within a day, they are artifically inseminated (AI'd).
In the old days (like when my husband was 15 years younger), he helped detect the cows that were in heat by watching them all day and as long into the night as possible. If he saw a cow mounting another one, he would shoot the one being mounted with a paintball gun. After awhile, the cowboys would come out and separate the marked ones.
It wasn't always easy using the paintball gun from a distance and from a horse. In addition, my husband remembers the old method was rather boring. It would also seem to rain a lot, making it an even more unpleasant chore, so this new method is much appreciated.
If you want to learn more about the whole process (in more detail than you might want--but where else are you going to read this stuff?), than check out this previous blog post.