Norma gets Artificially Inseminated.


So yesterday, exactly 21 days after Norma was in heat, which I wrote this post about  finding Norma a bullfriend, Norma was again in heat. This means that her first breeding wasn’t successful and we needed to try again. This time I had my camera handy and got photos along the way. Probably needless to say, if you are offended by words like sperm, semen, vulva, cervix or photos of cow lady bits, you should probably go read this post instead. But if you are someone who wants to learn more and aren’t easily offended… Join me on a photo tour of our attempt to get Norma knocked up using Artificial Insemination.

First a short video to get you in the mood….. No, not that mood.

This tank holds liquid nitrogen and the units of semen. This size tank can hold almost 500 units of semen.[/caption]

A semen tank holds canes of semen. A cane of semen usually holds 10 units of semen. Here you can see 7 canes of Holstein and Normande semen. Bulls are referenced by their numbers.

You thaw a unit (or straw) of semen in warm water to reactivate the sperm.

Everybody, say hello to Kevin. Kevin is the herdsman on the farm and will be the one breeding Norma today. The long metal rod is called a “gun” and it is how the semen unit gets into the cow’s uterus. He is warming it up both for the cow and to help keep the sperm alive.

This is the breeding kit. A fairly standard kit for people who breed cows, it contains the thermos, a thermometer, long gloves, plastic sheaths that go over the breeding gun and a scissors for cutting the end off the semen unit.

The end of the semen unit is cut off and the opposite end that has a fiber stopper in it is placed into the breeding gun. Then a plastic sheath that keeps the gun clean and helps stabilize the unit is slid over the top.

It’s important that Norma stay put while we are breeding her so she goes into the chute.

And here we go! This is a long glove required zone. One hand goes into the rectum and holds up the cervix. The other hand is on the breeding gun.

The tip of the breeding gun is inserted into the vulva. A cow has three rings in her cervix that you have to carefully navigate so that the semen is placed directly into the uterus. A shorter swim for the sperm means a better chance at pregnancy.

It takes practice, skill and concentration to maneuver the end of the breeding gun through the cervix. Once you have made it through the rings of the cervix the plunger on the end of the breeding gun is pushed and the sperm is on it’s way to do it’s thing.

The deed is done! Here you can see the used straw in the sheath without the breeding gun.



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6 Comments on Norma gets Artificially Inseminated.

  1. Elizabeth Martin
    October 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm (7 years ago)

    Hahaha!!! Great post! 🙂 Loved the humor along with it!

  2. Jamie Rhoades
    October 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm (7 years ago)

    This brings me back to my repro management days where we had to pass 10 catheters on the dairy farm to pass the class! It’s defiantly a learned skill – great post!

  3. cheyl
    November 1, 2012 at 2:08 pm (7 years ago)

    you do an awesome job! I’ve thought of blogging (as a dairy farmer) but I could never do it the way you do! Thanks.

    • dairycarrie
      November 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm (7 years ago)

      Cheyl,thank you! We need more people bogging about the who, what, where, when and mostly why’s! Would love for you to join in the fun. Check out to learn more about how to get started. 🙂