We have six possible bovine pregnancies at Happy Earth Farm: five heifers (meaning females that have never been pregnant) and 1 cow (mother of two). All, some, or none might be pregnant. We had three of them artificially inseminated in June and then added Balls the bull for an additional three months as the clean up stud. I really really really want them to be pregnant so I am determined to figure out if they are, indeed, with child.
If Balls was still here I could watch him. Bulls will get behind a heifer or cow as they are peeing and drink their urine….yes….I said drink their urine. The bull will then throw his head back, forcing urine to travel down a different pipe that leads to a place where estrogen is measured. If levels are high, the cow is pregnant and he will move along to taste the next one. Balls did this while he was here, but I had no idea it was “a thing” so I didn’t pay attention. I just thought Balls had a super kinky urine fetish so I turned my head in disgust.
So I am on my own now. Here is how I am spending a good hour or so of my day:
Mothers-to-be carry their fetuses on their right side and digest their food on the left. I stand behind them and try to eyeball a measurement detecting if the right side is larger than the left; no easy task when all they do is gorge themselves on the round bale so, most of the time, the left side seems larger. I make them extremely uncomfortable lurking behind them so they start to walk away……then I just follow behind trying to detect if they have that “pregnant girl waddle”.
Next, I cozy up to the friendlier of the heifers and try to feel fetal movement. This only seems to annoy them so they give me a swift warning kick to back off. I have found that a heifer hoof to the shin leaves a mark.
As I rub my bruised leg, I sneak up behind them, get down on my hands and knees, careful to avoid steamy piles, and try to see if their teats are growing. Heifers have underdeveloped teats until they experience their first pregnancy……..so it is legit test and by no means is evidence that I have a super kinky fetish of my own.
In all honesty, there is only one true way to know for certain if a cow is pregnant: palpating. For you city slickers, let me school you on what that means. It entails someone putting on a rubber glove and sticking their entire arm up these ladies woohoo’s to feel for the fetus.
One, two, three….not it! Steve, you’re up.