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Tools for Success: Livestock Breeding Supplies

Tools for Success: Livestock Breeding Supplies

Three Calves

There is a lot that goes into breeding livestock. From planning the right time to start and administering pre-breeding vaccinations, to getting all of the right supplies. Jeffers has you covered with all of the pre-breeding and livestock breeding supplies needed to breed cattle, sheep, and goats. Whether breeding livestock using artificial insemination or naturally, this list ensures you are prepared for success this breeding season.

1. Vaccinations

Reproductive and respiratory disease vaccinations are essential to administer before the breeding season starts. If you haven’t given livestock vaccines yet, allow at least 6 weeks before the breeding season starts to ensure you have enough time for the first and second round of vaccine shots. Two livestock vaccines we recommend to give to your bulls and entire heard are basic five vaccines, Bovi-Shield Gold 5 and Cattle Master Gold FP 5. Both aid in the prevention of Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR), Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD type 1 and type 2), Parainfluenza (PI3) and Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV). It is important to give respiratory vaccines prior to breeding (or regularly) to an adult female because it protects against respiratory complications. They also protect against abortions that can occur from exposure to the pathogens that cause those respiratory illnesses.

Other things to consider vaccinating for before breeding season are reproductive specific pathogens such as Lepto and Vibrio. Two recommended vaccines are ReproStar VL5 HB and StayBred VL5. ReproStar VL5 HB also protects against Harjo in addition to the Lepto and Vibrio. An additional vaccine to consider for your bulls and whole herd health care is a Trichomonas vaccine. TrichGuard Vaccine helps protect against infertility caused by Trichomonas in both cows and bulls.

In addition to needed pre-season vaccines, make sure you have the proper needles and syringes, as well as a cooler to ship your vaccines. Coolers help keep the vaccines at the right temperature to protect from freezing as well as from overheating. Freezing a vaccine can ultimately cause more damage than the vaccine getting too warm.

2. CIDRs

Most often used in estrus synchronization protocols, CIDRs release progesterone at a controlled rate into the bloodstream. This acts to synchronize the estrus cycles of all females receiving a CIDR insert. This way groups of livestock can come into heat together and can all be bred in a narrow time window. CIDRs are most often used in AI (artificial insemination) “time” breeding protocols but can also be used for pasture breeding if a producer has enough males to cover all females who will be cycling together. Plan ahead when using CIDRs as many breeding protocols involve hormone injections prior to inserting CIDRs as well as when CIDRs are pulled. A proper timeline should be worked out with your veterinarian or breeding specialist.

3. Paint Sticks

Paint sticks are handy during breeding season when using the AI breeding method. Use them to mark who you have CIDRed as well as who you have bred. This makes it easier to watch for signs of heat as well as looking for CIDRs if you haven’t CIDRed the whole group. Another useful factor of marking with a paint stick is if an animal loses a CIDR. You would know if it was lost and not that one was not put in.

4. Scrotal Tape Measures

Scrotal tape measures are also essential for a breeding season. You want to measure your bulls, rams & bucks to ensure that they have ample scrotal circumference. Scrotal circumference is proven to be directly linked to fertility. It is better to measure before breeding season and feel confident that the males have adequate scrotal circumference than to assume and be disappointed when it is time to check for pregnancy. Scrotal measurements do not take the place of a pre-breeding season exam performed by a veterinarian. However, when selecting young males for breeding, small scrotal circumference should be a definite red flag as well as culling criteria.

5. Disinfecting Solutions

Disinfecting solutions, like a good chlorhexidine solution, aid in farm biosecurity.

6. Mounting Detectors

Mounting detectors are another breeding aid that producers can use to make accurate heat detection easier. Two good mounting detectors that we recommend are the aiAlert Heat Detectors and the Kamar HeatMount Detectors. aiAlert Heat Detectors have a self-adhesive detector with no need for glue. Kamar HeatMount Detectors use adhesive glue.

7. OB Sleeves

OB sleeves protect the farmer and rancher as well as the livestock. As with disinfecting solutions, keeping everything clean and sanitary is vital during the breeding season. They are typically shoulder-length, and some have a neck loop to prevent the glove from slipping off.

8. OB Lube

OB Lubes are typically needed for rectal lubrication during AI breeding. Choose from a variety of brands and sizes.

9. Early Pregnancy Detection Kits

To check if pregnancy has been successful during a breeding season, Livestock Early Pregnancy Detection Kits are available for cattle, sheep, and goats.

In addition to these top livestock breeding supplies, Jeffers Livestock also recommends getting a gestation calendar or table like this goat gestation wheel. These tables help you decide when you need to start your breeding season based on when you plan to market.

Jeffers Livestock also recommends making a breeding sheet. This breeding sheet could have six columns to cover a 90 day breeding season. These columns include a column for the animal ID number, date bred column ( three times to allow for three different breedings), a result column, and a breeding season year column. Keep this breeding chart sheet on a clipboard in the barn, so it is easy to access. Use it to mark if you see animals breeding and be able to check if an animal is not showing heat. Watch our Livestock Breeding Supplies Video for more information on making your own breeding sheets.

This blog is meant to be helpful and educational. It is in no way intended to supersede, challenge or supplant the diagnosis, treatment or advice of a licensed veterinarian.