Here is the protocol that we used for breeding these cows during this breeding season. The first step in any process is heat detection. If heats can not be observed, a timed breeding protocol has to be used. Oddly enough, the conception rate is 0% on cows that do not get bred in the first place. (i.e. no semen = no babies)
So what does a heat look like in cattle? First of all cows will have a bloody discharge about 24 to 12 hours prior to being ready to breed, then a clear discharge takes over. The most reliable, or at least easiest, method of heat detection relies upon monitoring from a distance. The cows should be watched for a half hour or so twice a day. The cow that is getting ready to breed will tend to jump on the back end of other cows, simulating that which a bull would normally do. THe cow that gets jumped will either immediately walk away or stand to allow that other cow to ride. If she stands there, that cow is in heat and the other cow may simply be responding to her hormones and jumping. Te cow that stands to allow riding behavior is termed in “standing heat.:” This cow should be bred immediately. The jumping cow should be monitored, but she may be coming in as well.
Now on to what we did: The three cows were monitored for a day or two and one was possibly jumping the others. The day after that (due to needing to get safe facilities in place) all three cows were locked in and palpated. At that time, we determined that one cow had an ovulation depression. This means that we missed her. The other two cows had corpus leteums. These cows were givin Lutalyse (prostaglandin F2 alpha). This knocks the CL our of the way to allow heat to kick in.
The next day one cow had a mucous discharge. This is likely due to the lutalyse and not a sign of true heat. The next day, two of the three cows were jumping one another and in standing heat. In comes the semen and both were bred. The conception rate will traditionally be better than 50% when standing heat is observed. Time will tell as we need to watch them for heat in 21 days. If no heat is noted, they will get palpated at 35 and 42 days.
Until Next time!