Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Herd Check...

One of the things that is important to successful dairy farming is overall herd health management. 

We do a lot of diagnosing and treating of minor problems on our own...Jim gives medications  through injection, orally, or through IV when necessary...we do our own vaccinating, and he can usually diagnose things like a twisted stomach by listening to the cow's rumen with a stethoscope.

One valuable asset that we do use, however, is our veterinarian.  Jim can call him for advice, or have him come out to check on an animal when necessary...and one of the vets is always on call for after hours emergencies.

There are some things that we aren't able to do.. so we have a regularly scheduled "herd check".   During herd check, the vet will normally do pregnancy checks and "GYN" exams on cows.  It's also a great time to ask questions, stock up on meds or have him examine an animal that's not doing well.

Here, Jim is getting ready for herd check this morning.  He's checking the Herdex for cows that have been bred at least 40-42 days, which is when we choose to check them for pregnancy.  He will also have the vet check cows that have been fresh for over 60 days that haven't yet shown a heat.  The vet can tell if they are cycling normally or if they are "cystic" (have a cyst on their ovaries)

Below is the Herdex chart...Each cow has her own line on the chart.  The AI technician puts a green X on the date that she is bred.  When her green X reaches the second green line from the right, it has been 42 days since she's been bred.  If she is confirmed pregnant, the box is colored in solid purple.  It's a great way to keep records!

This is Dr. Ellis, the vet that we see most often on our farm.  He is checking this cow to see if she's cycling normally after freshening.  He does pregnancy checks in a similar fashion...he can feel the uterus with (hopefully) an embryo the size of a marble inside if she's pregnant. 

His truck is stocked with supplies and medications...if we need anything we get it from him before he leaves.

Then, when he's finished, he disinfects his boots and is on to the next farm.

This is just one more aspect of life on the takes working together to keep the animals healthy and the dairy running smoothly.

*Coming soon..."New Kids on the Block"...Jenna's 4 - H goats arrived's already been an adventure!


  1. Every two weeks is quite often. We have one vet office in the area and they are hard to get scheduled sometimes, but regular care is important. After reading around Blogland, I do feel lucky that I have a vet that does make farm calls. Unfortunately, not a lot of vets around here spend time getting to know about goats. My girls have been some of my best teachers.

  2. This is an interesting post I do not know much about dairy but I do know cows and the vet is very important around here. We have two vets offices that we are lucky enough does large animals a lot of them just do small animals now.We are lucky enough to not have to use a vet only about once a year if we are lucky.We can usually handle everything but cesarean births. I am pretty good at most that comes up. B

  3. Great post. We truely do appreciate what a dairy farmer has to do. My cousin and aunt have a dairy farm.

    Are the goats being ornery? That goes along with having goats. We have Nubians.

  4. Wow.....and I think I am busy with a flock of chickens and a few goats!

  5. What an interesting post. Thanks for giving us a peek.

  6. Dr. Ellis is my absolute favorite Vet! He's fantastic!

  7. :) :) Marika! Glad you found it...hope I did him justice! Have a great weekend! Alica


I enjoy hearing what you have to say! Thanks for your comments!