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Sunday, 2 March 2014

Feeling Flushed?


Thankfully hot flushes are the furthest thing from my mind at the moment, though a collection of our donor females may be excused from feeling a little that way this evening.



Yesterday, with the big fella due home from a Brisbane work trip at lunch time, we had heifers yarded in anticipation of his arrival.  The recipient females were run through the crush to ascertain which ovary they'd released an egg from the week prior.  By determining the presence of a CL (corpus luteum) on an ovary, we can establish that an egg was indeed released and into which uterine horn we need to deposit a transferred embryo.


Home for the weekend to offer assistance, Sarah and Jessie absolutely rose to the challenge and were wonderful offsiders.  Though at times a touch cheeky.





Those not used to the ultrasound technology may be excused for anticipating a cyclone on the horizon, those in the know keeping a close eye and able to accurately guage a CL.


Today saw pink shirts in vogue and the A team busily retrieving embryos from donor females.






Our donor cows are those deemed the most 'special', those from which we wish to breed more calves than 'naturally' possible.  By superovulating these females with a series of hormonal injections over four days with needles twice daily, they are then AI'd (artificially inseminated) to produce embryos with the genetic traits we wish to have within our herd.  Seven days after fertilisation the flushing and transferring process takes place, when embryos are 'flushed' from the donor female, graded and readied for transfer into a recipient (surrogate) heifer, whose cycle has been synchronised with that of the donor.


In theory, the recipient female will maintain a pregnancy, as though her own and raise a calf for us.
Pregnancy will usually result in greater than fifty percent of transfers.


Results were rather disappointing today, the quantity of embryos procured less than we'd have liked.  The great book of excuses was again pulled down from the shelf and we're blaming the late break to the season for all ills.  We'll line them up again in six weeks and hopefully have a different tale to tell.

Troops were eager to bed this evening, an early start tomorrow morning to have girls back to town and Wallace off for his boarding school interview!

Three at boarding school next year?  Now I'm feeling a little flushed.

12 comments:

  1. I tell you what won't be flush, and it will be your bank account. Geez that came around quickly and no doubt I will be saying the same thing far too soon myself. You best improve that rate of successful embryos' and pregnancies!!!

    Matthew really is embracing a new look with a pink shirt AND the slightly manscaped facial hair. One must ask, has he been helping you undercoat the kitchen? (speaking of?!...) Or is he compensating for lack of hair on the top of his head by growing it lower down?! (ok I will admit it, yes that is a bit cheeky!)

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    1. He knew you'd be onto the pink shirt even before I'd put it on the blog! And yes, the salt'n'pepper look is showing a lot more salt than pepper.

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    2. Sharon, what;s happened to your picture?

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  2. Oh wow, I had no idea that cattle breading is so scientific! I would love to be part of this one day. I didn't spot the CL (but at least I know what it is!). Do you have all the necessary equipment or do you have to hire this for the duration of the process? I am in awe of all farmers and hope that one of my offspring has enough stamina to choose agriculture for their future. Cx

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    1. Christina, we had the pleasure of being taught by one of the embryo transfer pioneers, a little Indian Dr Dan Jillella about eight years ago. We bought all of our own equipment and spent countless hours/days/weeks practising on cull cows until we were dreaming about CLs, morulas, blastocysts and UFOs (unfertilised ova). In those days, the end of an embryo recovery/transfer day would see us with tension headaches, frayed tempers and the need for strong alcoholic support. Now, even though we only do one or two programs a year, it's a really enjoyable aspect of what we do. Lovely to see how keen the kids are to learn, so hopefully we'll teach them in years to come.

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  3. That was interesting, I don't know much about AIing. Hopefully all looks a bit better in a few weeks. Wow three at boarding school, that sounds scary to contemplate.

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    1. Hard to believe that come next year Sally will be an 'only child'. Not sure if it's going to be harder on Mum & Dad or her.

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  4. Amazing stuff Fiona. Technology eh? Three at boarding school would make me feel flushed too...this is a few years away for our two and I feel completely overwhelmed whenever I think about it. Have a great week x

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    1. You have a great week too Jane.
      Yes, one minute boarding school seems a whole lifetime away, next thing you're name-tagging everything that stands still. Enjoy them while you can.

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  5. Really interesting Fiona. Good to have it explained.

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  6. Hey Fiona, this is a very intricate process. L and I used to do the A.I program every year but over the month, this is possible considered the old way these days. I certainly admire how much you have learnt and what you are trying to achieve.

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  7. I've heard many stories about hubby's family AI'ing, but the only images retained in my memory are gloved arms in all sorts of warm places! So it's nice to see the other side of the event, it's quite the process, particularly interesting in pink lab coats! x

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