Breeding cows

CattleMax users can select from several ways to breed (expose) a cow, depending on whether you want to breed a single cow or breed multiple cows at one time.

From the Dashboard, go to the Breeding icon. When opened, included in the list are all cows with a breeding status of Open.  The user can narrow the list by clicking the Customize button on the upper right and selecting Days Since Calving, a specific Group or Pasture, then selecting the breeding status of the cows - Exposed, Pregnant or Open.  More than one status can be selected.  Once the selections are made, be sure to click Update Criteria.  The list will be populated with cows which meet the criteria set.

Select, by checking the checkbox beside the ID, the cows to be included in this breeding.  If all the cows on the list are to be included, click the checkbox in the header to select all.  Keep in mind, only one bull at a time can be selected to which to breed (expose) the cows.  Once the selection(s) have been made, click Continue to Breeding for Selected Cows.

In the popup window, click the dropdown to select the Method of Breeding - Artificial Insemination (AI) or Natural Service (NS). When that selection is made, if NS, you will have the opportunity to select the bull for creating the exposure record. Enter the breeding begin date and an end date (if known - this is not mandatory, but is a good idea to enter an end date so the breeding doesn't remain "open" forever). Select the bull to which the exposure(s) is made. (Note: only 1 bull can be selected per exposure record.)

For detailed information regarding the checkbox for Cleanup Breeding, see  How is estimated calving date / expected due date calculated?

Make any comments needed regarding the breeding and click the Create Breedings button.  A breeding record will be created for each of the selected cows.

For Artificial Insemination breedings, the procedure is just a little different.  Selecting AI from the dropdown will open a single Breeding Date line, then allow the entry of the technician who performed the AI breeding. Selection of the bull is the same, except if the semen used is purchased and the bull is not in the user's herd. In that case, the bull will need to be entered into the file as a Reference animal in order to be selected as the bull for the AI.  

If you are keeping semen inventory (Activities tab > Semen & Embryos), you will first need to be sure to have gone to My Account > Account Settings > Cattle Records and checked the Show Semen Inventory box.  Also note, semen inventory must be kept manually (when a straw is used, manually mark it so). 

Embryo Transfer breeding is only available in the registered plans and must be done on an individual basis. To learn more about semen and embryo transfers, see Working with semen and embryo records.

Turn in Bulls

Probably the easiest and best way to create "group" breedings by natural service is to use the Turn in Bulls and Remove Bulls feature in CattleMax. The procedure would go like this:

Move the cows into a pasture.  After moving the cows into the pasture, go to Pastures, select the pasture in which the cows reside. When that pasture is opened, you will see a list of the animals in the pasture.  On the upper right you will click Pasture Actions > Turn in Bulls.  A popup window will open allowing you to select a bull or bulls to turn into the pasture. 

After a bull or bulls have been Turned In to a pasture, all of the cows in the pasture prior to the Turn In bull action will have a natural service breeding record created for each bull with the specified turn-in date.

Note: It is important to note that the cows are already in the pasture before the bull(s) are turned in - no breeding record will be created for cows moved into the pasture after the bull. However, if a cow is added to that pasture later, you can manually start a breeding record for her.  Also, take notice - today's date defaults to the turn-in date - you should correct that if needed.

When a bull is removed from the pasture through the Remove Bulls process, the breeding end date will be recorded for all those cows.

There are some instances where an automatic new breeding record is created. What Triggers a Rebreeding?

Using a Composite Bull

When you turn a bull into a pasture, all of the cows in the pasture will have a breeding record created, with a current breeding status of Exposed. If you turn in 2 bulls each cow will have 2 breeding records created, one for each bull.

Some customers who turn multiple bulls into a pasture will create a "composite" bull in order to have only one breeding record per cow. The composite bull will have the IDs of the bulls as the ID of the composite bull or put the IDs in the Comments section of the composite bull’s record. Each of the cows will have only one breeding record and it will show the ID of the composite bull as the "exposed to" bull. 

When a calf is born, the sire will be the composite bull, but users will be able to identify the bulls represented and change the sire to one of the actual bulls represented by the composite bull, if desired.

After the composite bull is removed from the pasture, set it's status to reference so it will no longer be included in the active herd count.

One drawback to this method is the active bulls will not have a movement history showing they were turned into the pasture. You can get around this by ‘Moving’ the bulls into the pasture individually or by using Group Update actions then ‘Moving’ them out when you pull the Composite bull. Since you have to use the Turn In Bulls feature in CattleMax to generate breeding records within a pasture, moving the bulls into the pasture will not create additional breeding records.

Individual Breeding

Of course, it is possible to breed one cow at a time.  Many small producers may not have the facilities to separate a bull from the cows.  Since the bull runs with the cows year-round, the producer relies on observation to record breedings. To record an individual breeding, go to the cow's record/breeding tab, click New Breeding and enter the details.

Breeding records can be created on an individual basis if needed, just go to the individual cow record > Breeding tab > New Breeding. 

Note: Once a breeding is created, it can always be edited by going to the individual cow record > Breeding tab > click the breeding date and an Edit screen will appear.

Breeding/Pregnancy Check and updating the breeding status

When working with breeding/pregnancy check records in CattleMax, it is important to remember the sequence of event entry must be in order: Breeding entry prior to Pregnancy Checking.  If a pregnancy check record is entered for a cow with an archived (not active) breeding record or no breeding record at all, the cow's breeding status will not be updated according to the Pregnancy Check result.  Learn more about pregnancy checking here: Pregnancy Checking

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