It started out so well that day; just a trip to visit a rancher to explore what types of cows we should purchase. Black Angus are all the rage, but their dark coats are not the best in hot southern climates. The rancher we met with raises Red Angus cattle and has a very large herd. He graciously invited us to his 1,000 acre piece of heaven to help educate us. We showed up at his farm armed with a long list of questions.
So there we stood, on his dusty dirt driveway finding out everything we needed to know about Red Angus cows. The guy knows his stuff….well, I am pretty sure he knows his stuff but I could barely understand him. Strong southern accents are extremely tough to follow when the ear is trained to understand those from the Midwest. It took me half an hour to figure out that he was saying “want” instead of “won’t”. I spent most of the time trying to figure out what he “won’t” do!
He helped us understand more about feeding, watering, shelter needs, pasture management and reproduction. I had no idea the science involved in reproduction! I just assumed that you introduce a frisky bull into the pasture and let nature take its course. Apparently, many cows are artificially inseminated to ensure maximum pregnancies within the herd. Okay, I was cool with that. I pictured a veterinarian showing up in scrubs with a couple of assistants to do the honors. Ummmmm, found out I was way wrong.
The rancher offered a tour of his herd; absolutely we said! As we walked to his pick up truck he stopped by a barn and opened the door to show us his stockpile of frozen sperm and embryos. I had imagined that the vet brought that type of stuff with when the insemination was performed; I guess not. The rancher keeps sperm right there….pretty cool, I thought. As I opened the door to the backseat of his truck he began to tell us how he does all of the extraction of sperm and the insemination of sperm by himself, along with all innoculations /vaccinations . And then I looked in the backseat. It was covered with syringes, both new and used….rubber gloves, both new and used. There were questionable stains EVERYWHERE! I tried to hide my horror, so I bit my lip and climbed on in. OMG, I spent the rest of the afternoon bumping along the rut-filled pastures with my entire body marinating in bull sperm.
Needless to say, those pants never made it past the outside garbage can in the carport.
My life is glamorous.