About a week and a half ago, we began the process to have Sara bred by AI (Artificial Insemination). The Diamond H Ranch has a good explanation of the process that Bickett Genetics is using for Sara. Today was Mitch's third visit and the actual day of breeding by AI.
In January 2010 we bought two straws of Hillview Redwing's semen from KHeart Dexters. The first one got us our Siobhan. Bickett Genetics has stored the remaining semen straw until we were ready for it. Today was the day!
It was also the third time we would have to get Sara in the head gate in a week and a half. She was very leery of the pen and the head gate last time, so we decided to stack the deck in our favor this time. Since Mitch would be back in only two days, we decided to leave Sara in the small round pen and feed her hay in there. Neither Siobhan nor Sara were happy at being separated with no nursing, so we heard lots of bellowing for two days! We weren't overly generous with the hay, although there was grass in the pen, so that Sara would be eager to follow a bucket of feed.
Previously, we waited for Mitch to actually operate the head gate, not wanting to waste his time if we missed. But this time we decided to try it ourselves. First we closed the head gate. I led Sara into the chute (at right) with a bucket of feed, then climbed over the side to get out while Herb put the bar in behind to keep her in. Then Herb opened the head gate while I tempted Sara with more food. When she reached her horns and head through toward the food, Herb shut the head gate. Voila!
Here is The Glove on Mitch's hand along with some lubricant. For the sake of Sara's dignity, I did not take pictures of the actual AI process. Suffice it to say that the gloved arm had to go in her rectum while the long injector sticking out of Mitch's jacket is what introduced the semen straw into the cervix.
Sara kind of messed up our plans to run Siobhan and T-bone through the head gate when she refused to go out through the open gate and instead went out backwards and then started chasing T-bone around. We finally got Sara out of the round pen and Siobhan into the head gate for her immunizations, but in the confusion T-bone escaped.
Not to worry! Three out of 4 isn't bad, and Dr. Miller left us the injections. Being such professionals now, we will catch T-bone AND give him his shots! We're enjoying our shiny new red toy!