Fertility Issues

Sienna stands out in the pasture with her adopted Jersey calf, Gusty.

“Her uterus is closed up tight,” were not the words I wanted to hear from the vet last week. I took my family milk cow in for a pregnancy check and was disappointed to find out that she was not bred. Sienna has taken me through one frustration after another over the last year. 

Although I know Sienna has been cycling (going into heat) regularly since having her last calf in September, she has not gotten pregnant. The first time I noticed she was in heat after calving, I brought her over to a new bull. About a month later, I borrowed a Charolais bull and put him in with all my cows. Imagine my surprise when I see that the very first cow he’s interested in is Sienna. 

So, when my vet asked when Sienna had been “exposed” to a bull, my thought was, which time? She’s been “exposed” multiple times by two different bulls. And, just in case I was prone to blame the bull for this development, we brought him to the vet at the same time. I won’t go into details here about the whole process, I’ll just sum it up by saying he was checked and deemed fertile.

I was told Sienna is getting older, so her body may not want to supply milk and breed back. She’s the ripe old age of… Nine! I realize that this is not the prime of her life, but I think she’s too young to be having these issues. 

To try and resolve the issue, Sienna is getting the royal treatment. A whole bale of hay to herself (and her calf), an increase in her feed, extra protein, and special supplements. Perhaps the extra nutrition will help her fertility problems.

Another complication I’m facing is with her teats. Sienna keeps getting terrible abrasions on her teats. I thought this was due to an issue with her calf’s nursing habits. However, when I put a different calf on her, the problem persisted. When I asked the vet about it, I was told Sienna probably has a topical bacteria infection that is causing the sores. 

To rid her of the infection, I have to wash her teats and udder with an iodine-water mixture twice a day until it clears. 

After all the problems I’ve come across with Sienna this year, not to mention the jump in feed prices, I’m considering throwing in the towel.    

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