I wrote this summer about why you don't mess with the bull on a dairy farm. While you never want to mess with the head male of nearly any farm species, dairy bulls are particularly known to be mean and downright dangerous. Therefore, a majority of dairy cows in the U.S. are bred using AI (Artificial Insemination). This also allows us to utilize the best genetics in the world, as we can access bulls from Germany or New Zealand, or across the U.S. or Canada. It allows us to use the best genetics, and do our best to improve our herd, and correct the flaws in each individual cow. Instead if we had one bull on the farm, every cow in our herd would be mated to that bull for a time, creating a lack of genetic diversity, and potential problems. We will occasionally raise a bull or buy a bull from another farm to use for awhile, but it usually isn't much more than 6 months and on a few cows or heifers, not the whole herd. For example, we found that Kahlua sires REALLY big calves at birth, causing us to have to use chains & pullers in order to deliver the calf. (and right now, we are blaming the colds we both have on the cow that we spent a night pulling a calf out of) If we had a whole bunch of those calves, we'd be in for a long winter for both us and the cows.
Instead, Brent spends hours pouring over bull catalogs that come from the different AI companies with the different bull choices available for our farm. We can buy a variety of different bulls that work for the variety of different cows on our farm. Some cows are short and stocky, and need to be a little longer & longer; some need better udders, or better feet; while yet others aren't producing much milk, so we try to improve their production in the next generation. The semen is stored in a tank, and available for whenever a cow is ready to be bred.
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