We keep reasonably good cattle records. Our systems may not be the most sophisticated, but they work. To record breedings, we have a calendar and a pen by the door. We write the cows number and the sire’s name on the calendar.
This system has not failed in 5 years of AI breeding, until now. A couple months ago David noticed number 896 was looking pretty round. Her milk production was also falling off. Hoping to be able to dry her up soon, he checked the calendar.
There was no record of her being bred any time in the last 10 months. He confirmed her bred the old fashioned way, by bumping a calf. We dried her off without treating her and kept her in the nearby maternity pasture since we did not know her due date.
On December 13th, she had her calf. For the first time, we were relieved it was a bull. If it had been a heifer, having no record of her sire would greatly increase our chances of inbreeding when mating her in 13 months. We had discussed counting breedings and finding the missing semen straw. It might have worked, but it might not.
Regardless, it’s not an issue now. We’ll sell the bull calf to a beef farmer who won’t care who his sire was, and we’ll milk the cow for a few months and try breeding her again. This time, we’ll record her mate. Things will move forward unaffected by our error. Things have a way of working out.