artificial insemination of cows : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Does anybody out there artificially inseminate their own cows? I was wondering if the cows put up a big fuss, or because they are in heat don't mind the attention "back there". Do you use a squeeze chute to contain them? In addition to the cost of the semen, what are the other expenses involved? I'm thinking of taking a course to learn how to do this. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.

-- Barb (, February 25, 2001


I witnessed to once, last year. The girls didnt seen to mind a bit,, not sure why, and I didnt ask. They were in there regular stalls for commercial milking. Used something that looked like a large syringe/turkey baster mix.

-- Stan (, February 25, 2001.

The show cows are artificially inseminated on the farm that we are on.They're put in a head catcher and it justs depends on the cow as to how they will act.The show cows are of course very tame so they're no problem.It takes the vet about 10 mins.Depending on the sperm it usually cost anywhere from $50 to $75 total bill.If you plan on using this method alot you should consider learning how.My husband has thought about getting licensed(I'm not sure if you actually get a license or just a certificate) also just as something to do part- time.At UK, you can take a 3-day course that runs around $400 to get licensed or certified.Then you will only have to buy the sperm if you plan on doing your own.

-- nobrabbit (, February 25, 2001.

I've seen this done a good bit. The cows are normally caught in a squeeze chute. It doesn't bother most of them too badly. I'd imagine one pretty major expense is the canister that the semen is stored in. Have you ever seen this procedure done? It involves a plastic glove that goes up to your armpit(because that is how deep your gonna be in the business end of a cow). I'm not sure what the cost of semen is. Probably depends on the breed and the quality of the bull. I remember after I saw this done the first time I thought why on earth would someone prefer to do this instead of just buying a good bull. Of course I know a lot of folks do this to improve their herd but I still think maybe it's best to have a bull on hand :o).

-- Amanda in Mo (, February 25, 2001.

My sister and I AI our cows and they don't mind for the most part, depends on the breed dairy or beef. Cost, from as little as 10.00 to as much as 500.00 A unit, with some breed certificates ranging from 15.00 to possibly 75.00 if you register the animal. The liquid nitrogen tank to store the semen probably in the 2 or 300 dollar range and other equipment you will need possibly another 100.00, sounds high but so is a bull. Contact American Breeder Service they have a web site and offer training and all the equipment needed. Also there are people who do this service for a trip charge and cost of semen. As a general rule they do not advertise so ask around. Age is not an issue young and old can do it.

-- Kevin in SC Mo (, February 25, 2001.

The semen tank only needs to be filled with nitrogen and dusted! :)

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, February 26, 2001.

Thanks for the responses everyone. My understanding is that semen can be shipped through the mail in a special canister. Is this canister filled with liquid nitrogen or something else to keep it frozen? Does anyone know how long it will stay frozen in the canister? I don't like the idea of spending mucho $$$ on a special holding tank. Oh, and this is for Amanda - I have Dexter cows so maybe I would only have to get in up to my elbow (ha ha). I would love to have a bull but there's no room right now. Thanks again.

-- Barb (, February 26, 2001.

Barb, the shipping canister is usually good for five days, but we feel better if it gets there and the straws are in your tank within three.

You can't store your semen in it, because the UPS man will be back the next day to get the empty canister. It belongs to whoever ships you the semen.

Remember, AI is not an exact science, but well worth learning and it opens up a world of genetics that a small farmer could never afford to buy in live animals. You can breed to the finest bulls in the world.

Also, sometimes it is hard to justify owning a bull for 12 months, just to breed two or three cow. Once you know how to AI, you also have a skill that can make you money. Our son keeps some cheap ($8-9) Angus semen and lets folks know he will breed for them. If they live close to us, it is a quick $15 -20 breeding fee for an 18 year old kid.

Remember, timing is everything.

-- homestead2 (, February 26, 2001.

Thanks so much for the info. I think I'm going to go ahead and take the 3-day AI course. I'm always looking to learn something new!

-- Barb (, February 26, 2001.

Even up to the elbow is a wee bit further than I want to go myself:o). I've never personally done AI but I have been about elbow deep while working on a cow with a prolapsed uterus. Not something I would do if I had another choice! Good luck :o)

-- Amanda in Mo (, February 26, 2001.

One option not mentioned. For a single cow, or small herd, just buy a bull to breed, then take him back to the livestock auction. Even if you don't put on any weight and he sells for the same price, you are only out the sales fees. Even places which AI extensively keep a bull as a back up. Right now my Angus bull isn't earning his keep. Calving season just started and I'll pull him out before the cows come back into heat until the first of June. If someone approached me about their bringing over a cow or two to keep him company, I wouldn't charge much. Might as well keep him interested in his occupation. As far as I'm concerned, he is a living, four-wheel drive sperm band.

Old joke: City girl marries a dairy farmer. He informs her one morning he has to go to town for parts so won't be there when the AI guy arrives. But, he said, he put a nail over the stall of the one to be bred so she'd know which one it was. When the AI guy arrive, she took him out to the barn, and showed him the cow. He noticed the nail and asked what it was for. Gal said, "I assume it's for you to hang your pants on."

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 01, 2001.

This is a good suggestion for some folks Ken, but not for me since I don't have a trailer yet for hauling and my cows are Dexters. It's not so easy to go out and buy a good Dexter bull locally, and then turn around and sell him quickly for what I bought him for. Sooo, I think it's the AI route for now. Thanks again to all who responded.

-- Barb (, March 02, 2001.

What's the usual success rate of AI? How many cows have to have a "do-over".

-- Mona in OK (, March 02, 2001.

Mona - I read in Carla Emery's book "The Encyclopedia of Country Living" that about 1 in 3 tries don't take, so the AI must be done again the next month. Anybody doing their own AI want to share statistics?

-- Barb (, March 03, 2001.

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