Big plans for the gorgeous Hereford heifers on the Yorkshire Farm

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Big plans for the gorgeous Hereford heifers on the Yorkshire Farm

By Laura Middleton

March 27, 2024

@farmadventure

The girls are back home and outside โ˜€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿฅฐ Happy Herefords with one pregs with twins and one .. unknown yet! ๐Ÿฎ #hereford #hilltophereford #britishbeef #sustainable #farming #yorkshire #outdoor #herefords #buybritish

โ™ฌ Get Ready – Steve Aoki Vocal Radio Edit – 2 Unlimited

If you haven’t seen the TikTok – here it is! The girls are home!

It’s been a while since I posted anything about the girls, Lucinda & Bronte, because they’ve been at my brother-in-law’s farm, over t’hill, getting up the duff!

So here’s a little fact for you ..

When a farmer wants a cow to get in calf using AI (artificial insemination – not intelligence!!!), they need to know when the cow is ready for inseminating. How do they do that? Well, they put a colour chalk on the top of her tail on her rump. Then when her cycle is in the right stage for receiving the semen, the other cows in the pen with her, tend to start “mounting” her, rubbing the chalk off her back end. The phrase they use around us in Yorkshire, is “she’s bullin’ “. So when the AI person comes along to check the cows on a daily basis, they can see the cows where the chalk has rubbed off and know that cow is ready for AI!

The girls have been across the hill, hanging out with some other cows on another farm, where they regularly AI their cows, so it made sense for the girls to be part of that process.

Yes, in an ideal world, we’d have the bull do the work himself, but these days you have choice. You can choose which bull you’d like the semen from, based on his credentials! So does he produce calves which are typically easy to birth, does he produce calves that survive well etc etc. This means semen is collected from the best bulls and you can pick and choose which you’d like. The semen I chose was from a stud called Spike, who resides in Northern Ireland – so obviously he couldn’t make it over! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The downside to having a bull as well, is when you’re producing a herd. At the moment, I have 2 cows. Ideally, they’ll start producing their own calves for a few years so we’ll have several new calves of different ages. But then, what do you do with these calves when they grow up? Well the females (heifers : young cow who hasn’t had a calf yet), will stay in the herd to become mothers. You’d need a new bull then to get them pregnant. The male calves born, can either be castrated and go into the food chain (sorry boys!), or stay entire and be sold as a breeding bull. But you’ve got to be pretty good to be in demand. So really, by having your own bull, you’re limiting your expansion! And let’s not forget, bulls can be more of a nightmare with all that testosterone – they do come with more risk.

So, the easier option is AI – choose some great semen, reduce risk and also think about producing meat for the food chain!

 

A native British breed, produced in the UK, reared outdoors and as sustainably as possible – that’s the aim!

 

Now that all sounds glorious … however, Bronte is pregnant with twins and Lucinda is … not pregnant at all! D’oh!

They are coming back to Hill Top though, and I’m so happy! I can spend time with them again and get to know them properly. Plus, they’re going outside! Typical – it’s still raining!

Now what is the plan?

Lucinda :

Well technically Lucinda isn’t pregnant as far as we know, but she has been AI’d again, so we’ll be able to scan her at the end of April. Also if at any point Bronte tries to mount her, we’ll know she’s cycling anyway and therefore not pregnant. Get it?

If she’s not pregnant, then it’s off to see a bull! We could have a bull here, but as mentioned above, that comes with risk, so my next job, pending Lucinda’s progress is to find a bull. There’s a herd nearby, so I’ll get in touch with them to see if they have a bull ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bronte :

She’s pregnant with twins! Now what happens in this situation is you hope for 2 of the same sex. When pregnant with a male and a female, the chances are high that the female will be infertile and she’ll be what’s called a “freemartin”. Have you seen our video of a freemartin cow we had a few years back? This isn’t necessarily the norm in terms of how she’s urinating, but it’s just one thing which can happen. Have a look at our TikTok we did of this. The female unfortunately becomes masculinised with non-functioning ovaries which means that it also impacts her other parts so things like this can happen where she doesn’t urinate like a normal cow would. There’s no pain or problem for her, but it does mean she can’t reproduce. So if pregnant with two females or two males, that avoids this problem. Keep your fingers and toes crossed! The good part with twins is that they shouldn’t be as big as a single calf, so in theory it’ll make calving easier.

Now you have the full details of their situation and I’ll keep you posted on social media on next steps – I’m quite excited, but also quite apprehensive, as if Lucinda doesn’t get pregnant, then essentially she has to go for meat … I’m already attached so that’s not what I want to happen!

Anyway, I’m not talking about that now, positive thinking – onwards and upwards!

Over and out,

Laura xx

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