On Monday we had the vet out for a visit. The bulls we bought at the last sale were in for an interesting morning…
Routine fertility tests are often done on new bulls that join the herd, and while we were at it we thought we’d test the bulls for any STD’s.
The bulls get rounded up, which resembles more a rugby match than anything else.
So how exactly do you go about testing for fertility and venereal diseases in a 600kg bull that knows he’s big stuff?
Well, um, there’s no beating around the bush here. So I apologise for the lack of euphemisms. You quite simply have to get down and dirty and retrieve a semen sample.
Yup, you guessed it. The bull needs to get himself pretty hot and heavy to produce a “sample”. But short of flaunting a few sexy cows in front of him, there’s not really much else you can do but artificially stimulate him…
Queue that Barry White song…
So the vet brings out his box of tricks, and the aptly named… Ejaculator.
Nice. It’s moments like these where it’s not embarrassing in the least to be the only girl surrounded by 20 men. NOT!
I’m sorry, I know you’re all cringing right about now. But there’s no room for prudish behavior on a farm. We need some bull spunk, and we need it now!
The bulls get channeled through a narrow chute, and secured with poles on either side of them to keep them safely in one place.
The vet gets the apparatus prepared with a bit of lubrication, and in it goes…
It only takes a minute or two for it to get the required result…
Why am I still humming to Marvin Gaye?
First the vet takes a sheath wash, and this is then sent to the lab where they will test for any STD’s such as vibrio, bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) and Trichomonas.
Once the sheath wash is stored in a solution, marked and packed in a refrigeration box they get on with collecting the semen.
He even brushed his hair for the occasion. What a gentleman.
There, all done. He certainly didn’t seem to mind!
The semen samples go back with the vet who will analyse it under the microscope and give us a fertility report for each bull. We then dashed off with the sheath wash samples for analysis at the state vet in Grahamstown.
Nothing like having a whole box of willy water on your lap for a three hour drive. Who said farming wasn’t glamorous?