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.