Dan Goehl, DVM, Canton Veterinary Clinic, Canton, Mo., believes stress plays a critical role in conception rates of beef heifers. To reduce stress, many of Goehl’s clients have been using “breeding boxes” or “breeding barns” to artificially inseminate (AI) heifers.
In a nutshell, the breeding box is a dark enclosed box — some are single and some will hold two cows. The cow walks in and there is no head restraint. A bar drops behind the cow and she stands for AI. After being AI’d, a rope releases the front door and she calmly walks out. “Heifers walk into these amazingly well and tend to stand much better,” notes Goehl. “They do not fight the headgate because there is none and they do not go down on their knees.”
Small things like stress can play a big role in conception rates, Goehl adds. “The two-cow barn really speeds things up because someone can be loading a cow while you are breeding so there is no down time.”
The photos show a portable breeding box built by Missouri cattleman Mike Wright. While they may not have all the bells and whistles of a commercial unit, they still work very well.
For information on commercial breeding barns, visit www.largesbreedingbarns.com.