It’s that time of year to get ready for breeding season for your miniature Jersey. Depending on what part of the country you call home, breeding season may be all year long or very short periods of time. On Mini Miracles Farm we have 2 distinct breeding seasons: June – September, and December – January. These seasons give us calves from March – June after the last freeze and much of the late winter rain is over with, and again in September and October before winter rains and slush set in. Many times, however, we’ll miss these exact times due to breeding issues of various sorts.
People ask us all the time when to breed their heifers/cows. What I tell them is to consider what month they want the calf to be born and add 3 months to establish the breeding date. So, if you want your calf to be born mid-May, you’ll breed your cow mid to late August. Being able to choose the date your cow will calve is one of the many advantages of artificial insemination (AI).
Even though we have bulls on the farm, and one of them is always with the herd, we don’t allow our bulls to naturally breed unless we are struggling with AI on a particular cow/heifer. Artificial insemination allows you to establish the date breeding occurs and gives you many options as to the bull you choose for your breeding program. AI also protects your bulls from mishaps associated with live cover.
So, with so many bulls to choose from, how do you choose the “right” one for your cow? There are many factors to consider with each bull: bloodlines, genetics, size, color, polling, etc. However, at the end of the day, until you gain experience and see what your cow produces with a particular bull, find one you like and a supplier you trust and go for it. As with any breeding program, your goal is to produce a calf that is equal or superior in quality to your cow.
A wise breeder once told me that regardless of how large your herd is, “the bull is half your herd”. We could not agree more! At Mini Miracles Farm we purchase bulls that we believe will compliment our herd of breeding females. We have a look in mind that we’re trying to achieve, plus genetics we want to establish; and we want to do all this with as wide a gene pool as possible. Mini Miracles Farm does not line breed nor inbreed as we believe that mini Jerseys have experienced enough of these practices in the past and it is our responsibility to expand the gene pool to protect future generations of miniature Jerseys.
At this time Mini Miracles Farm offers mini Jersey frozen bull semen on two outstanding bulls: South House Dapper Dan and D C Ebenezer. These bulls are both young so it will be a few years before we see what they produce over time, but they were selected because of their outstanding bloodlines, conformation and genetics.
Take a deep breath and enjoy breeding season – it’s a magical time in your breeding program.