What's in our Breeding Barn.

This week, we are crazily breeding LOTS of heifers.

"You can't have a million dollar dream, with a minimum wage work ethic."

If you're new to the blog, Clint and I both have full time jobs, but on the side we have (well Clint has, I just help) a custom cattle AI business.  We work with ranches to help breed their cows and heifers using synchronization and artificial insemination (A.I.). While most of the cows we breed are located within an hour of our home, we do travel to ranches that are in other states and have portable equipment that we take with us to facilitate the project.

April & May is the peak AI season for ranches that calve in the spring (cows have a 285 day gestation period) and the first week of May is the FAVORITE week for custom AI because a lot of ranches like to calve the 1st week of February.  We usually book the first week of May in January for our customers.

I take vacation from my "real" job this week, and this year due to some other circumstances we also asked if Genex would help provide some extra help since the projects are a part of their Genex Chuteside Service.  Morgan & Miles will be here like always, (we are so thankful for these two!), Stan is flying in from Missouri and Justin, another Genex large herd manager is flying in from Texas.

Since I wrote about What's in our AI Kit, I thought that now would be a good time to follow up that post with additional items that we travel with in our breeding barn!

So here's:

What's in our Breeding Barn!

In 2011, Clint & RJ bought a Large's Portable Breeding Barn that was built in Nebraska.  (Shown above in front of our Daniels Portable Alleyway.) The barn is like our "home away from home" this time of year and makes breeding cattle so much easier and safer to work in.  While our AI Kit travels with us in the pickup, the majority of our supplies get stashed in the barn in totes, or on a shelf that is built above where the cows stand once they're in the barn.

Here's what we travel with:
Extension Cords
Box Fans
Heat Lamp
Gallons of Lube
Paper Towels
Trash cans
Steak Seasoning

Our crew gets hungry, and I like to make sure they're well feed!

With beef, of course.

Our barn has a battery that runs the hydraulics that are used to raise it (for traveling down the road) and lowering it to the ground (when we're ready to breed cows).  The same battery can be used to run the thaw unit, and a light bulb.  However if we're somewhere where we're close to power, we travel with extension cords to run from a pole to the barn where there is a special plug that provides electricity to two plug ins, and a light.  

Air Conditioning:
We joke that have AC in our barn, when really what we have are two box fans that we place in the front to circulate air. Well actually, we're down to only one box fan - on a trip to Loomis last year we lost one on a VERY bumpy road.  The first week of May in Eastern Oregon is either SUPER hot or raining cats & dogs.  So when it's hot, we open the front upper doors and turn on the fans and it really makes a difference.  Cheap box fans from the store work just fine here. 

Heat Lamp:
We don't use this in the spring, but when we're breeding fall cows in December, a heat lamp comes in handy.  Clint uses it to make sure the lube doesn't freeze (the brand we use can freeze into a block) and to make sure our syringes don't freeze up either. 

Lube & Paper Towels:
These are just things you need to get the job done, and we go through a lot of both. We travel with cases of AI lube, and our barn has a special holder for the gallon jugs.  The Vet One brand is our favorite, but it can be hard to find so often we use Safe Lube and it works just fine.  I talked about paper towels in my AI Kit post, but again Costco half sheets are where it's at! :)

Trash Cans:
The first year we started breeding a lot of cows, RJ found collapsible lawn & leaf garbage cans, and it's all we've used since.  You can find them in the lawn section of your hardware store (we buy them at Home Depot) for about $15.  They're nice to travel with since they collapse down to flat discs.  We also travel with black garbage sacks to line the cans with, so everything can be tied up & tossed when we're done.

You never know when you'll need to tie a panel to the barn, or a spare tire to the front of the hitch.  Rope is our fastener of choice, and we make sure to have a few lengths of it.

Breeding cows is hard work, so I try to make sure that there are lots of cold beverages on hand.  Snacks too - I figure you get your energy from sleeping or eating, and we don't sleep much this time of year, so eating it is.  Lol.  I'll bring an extra cooler or two if we're away from home, so that I can feed the crew.  We also use the coolers to store GnRH if needed, or other items that need to stay cool. 

The Story Behind the Steak Seasoning:
Last year, when we were breeding in Loomis, we had a crew of 10 helping us.  The ranch there at Double R had a really nice guest house, with two Traeger BBQ's.  I knew this ahead of time, so I brought a big prime rib and steak seasoning that I put on the Traeger at 5 am before we left to breed so that when we were done that evening I had a large component of dinner already done.  The seasoning was so good that now I just leave it in the tote in the breeding barn, and pack whatever beef I need for meals in the coolers!

*The one thing we don't travel with is a Hot Shot.  Like our friend Annie (who pulls a lot of heats horseback for us) says, "Hot shots are for humans who don't know how to work cattle."  

I couldn't agree more.


So those are the "extras" that we travel with.

Am I missing anything?

If so, leave a comment.

We're all about making our lives easier this time of year!



  1. looks and sounds pretty ideal to me ~ wishing you all the best as you travel and enjoy life to the fullest! :)

  2. This is awesome. I am not sure if you know by my office job is working for VitaFerm and Sure Champ. I do all their marketing. I am definitely pinning this onto the Sure Champ Barns board! Good luck this week.


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