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Breeding Box For Heifers
Wisconsin dairymen Darrell and Dan Heisenbeck, of Durand, use a home-built "breeding box" to get artificially inseminated heifers to settle on first service.
"It's simple to build and is virtually guaranteed to work," says Dan. The box is completely enclosed except for the rear end. A heifer to be artificially inseminated the first time is led into the box. A sliding door closes in front, and a chain is hooked across the hind legs. The darkness of the stall soon quiets the animal and she stands for breeding.
"The breeding box is not a squeeze chute or constraining stall," Dan Weisenbeck points out. "It's the darkness that makes the heifer settle down. An animal would probably stay there all day if you left her."
The breeding box is an idea the Weisenbecks picked up while reading a beef magazine. Without any details about it, Dan built one of 3/4 in. plywood to try out. It is 61/z ft. long, 5 ft. high, and 27 in. wide - just right for an 850-1b. Holstein heifer.
"At first, we had the front completely closed and had to back the heifers out after breeding. Later, we made a sliding door to raise and let them walk out forward," says Dan. "The chain across the back adjusts to cows of different lengths and is all the restraint they need. The feel of the chain keeps them from backing out."
The box fits conveniently in a center alley between pens. Heifers can walk down to it and out the other end. Dan Weisenbeck does his own artificial insemination work so he is there when a heifer is ready for breeding.
Why are the conception rates better with this system?
Dan says, "The semen moves up the reproductive tract to meet the egg in a quiet cow. In an excited, nervous animal, the uterine contractions work against the movement of the semen and the cow may not settle. It's the calming effect that makes the difference."
Still another key to successful breeding is inseminating at the right time. The Weisenbecks use KaMar heat detectors (made by KaMar Inc., Steamboat Springs, Colo. 80477). This is a white stick-on tab that is placed on the tail head of every heifer. The pressure of a mounting heifer squeezes a red dye out of the tab and it turns red. This signals that the heifer is in standing heat.
The Weisenbecks have been using the breeding box for three years. They built it for less than $50, and they say it is simple enough for anybody to build.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dan Weisenbeck, Route 3, Durand Wis. 54736 (ph 715 673-4981).

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1981 - Volume #5, Issue #2