A day in the life - AI'ing in Eastern Washington.

Hi friends!  I thought it was time for another "Day in the Life" post (you can read my last one here) and for this one, I thought I'd take you along with us on a Saturday we spent AI'ing.

Clint (my husband) works for All West Select Sires as a Large Herd Specialist.  His job is to facilitate commercial beef ranches utilizing Artificial Insemination (AI) in their herds.  Because beef cattle tend to calve during two times of the year (early fall and spring) a majority of his hands on work is done during the months of Oct - Nov and March - June.  He's gone from home a lot then, so if there is a project he's going to that is close, we try to go as a family if it works out.  Saturday, it did - so we packed up early and hit the road with him.

Our goal was to be out the door by 6 am.  The boys needed a bottle before we left, so they got to snuggle in our bed after for a few minutes as we were getting things packed up. By 6:10 we were pulling out of the driveway.  Tyler was here helping Clint, so he & Clint manned the front seats and the boys and I held the fort down in the back.

We were pulling a single AI barn, so that limited our breakfast options.  McDonald's in Hermiston is easy to pull in to, so the guys ran in to get breakfast to go, and we were back on the road up the Columbia and into Washington.

I had just taken the picture above when Clint got a phone call from Morgan letting us know that Andy Anderson had passed away that morning.  It was a shock to all of us; Andy was 63.

Andy (red hat) at Battle Mountain - 2017

Many within the Select Sires family will be there to celebrate a man who was honest, detailed, set in his ways, hard working, a cowboy, a lover of the old West and a friend to many.  We've worked with Andy when he, Clint and Morgan were all at Genex and then when the three of them all made the transition to Select Sires at the same time.  You'd usually find the three of them at very large projects like the GI, Ellison, etc (although he never liked his picture taken, which is why I don't have a good one of him) and it was on those projects that we'd give Andy a hard time about his paper towel choice, ha ha - Morgan, myself and Andy are VERY opinionated about paper towels - it's kind of an inside joke.  Andy also loved a cold Diet Coke, and so we always shared our love for a diet cola while the rest of the crew would be enjoying a Mt. Dew or Gatorade.

 Andy will be missed so much, by so many - his family, who I never met but whom he talked about all of the time; his friends and the ranches he worked with.

The next stretch of time after Clint talked to Morgan and then Stan on the phone, was pretty quiet....

But then the boys started to wake up, as we drove through big, open wheat & rangeland type country.


We pulled into the Barker Ranch a little after 8 am and the guys met with the owners, learned that half of the heifers were in heat at 48 hours (which is good!) and worked on getting the single box set up in front of the ranch's squeeze chute.  The plan going in was that Clint would thaw for the first group, and Tyler would breed so I wasn't needed and worked on dressing the boys, and getting them loaded into the stroller with some snacks.

After the first set of heifers were bred, we had a stretch of time before the time breeds were going to be ready (and more heifers were coming in, so we wanted to give them a chance) so we left the ranch and headed north to Ritzville to drop off a set of CIDRs and patches for a ranch Clint will be breeding heifers at in April.  The drive there was gorgeous, and a good chance for us to stop for lunch & a coffee before starting the drive back towards Washtucna.

As we were leaving Ritzville, there was a train headed towards us.  We could have probably beat it, but we did the safe thing and stopped.  Chandler LOVES a "choo choo" so the guys caught up on email and Chandler pumped his fist in the air for the train.  :)

It was about a 2 hour drive from Ritzville back to the ranch, and we really enjoyed the scenery.  Clint & Tyler both grew up in big, open range country and it was just really nice to sit back and enjoy the drive.  As we were pulling into the ranch, we rolled the window down for Chandler and he loved getting to stick his hand out in the wind.

Would you even believe that we passed a herd of Scottish Highlander cattle out grazing.....and I didn't get a picture!!!  But it was cool (and funny at the same time) to see.  There was also a ranch that we drove by that ran a big herd of Hereford cattle.....we couldn't figure out where the headquarters were though, but maybe next year we'll get to AI a set of Herfs!

We pulled back into the Barker's about 3:30 pm and drove around back to watch the remaining set of heifers.  There was a lot of activity, and a lot of cattle with green Estrotect patches which was awesome.  After visiting a bit, and making a plan the ranch crew brought the cattle in and we got to work. 


Our original plan going in was that I'd thaw for the time breeds, Tyler would breed in the box and Clint would breed in the chute - but things went so well that morning, and we didn't want to throw changes at the ranch crew (this was their first time AI'ing) so we stuck with the morning plan and that left me to play with the boys.  Chandler had plenty of energy by this point, so it was probably good it worked out that way.


Can you tell who wants to be just like their dad???

Since another 50% of the cattle had come in that late morning/early afternoon, on top of the 50% that were in overnight, that only left 25% of the heifers as true "time breeds" which helped things go pretty quickly.  The time breed appointment is the hardest for the guy AI'ing the cattle, especially if you have a lot of cattle with silver patches.  Tyler is a pro though, and was quick and efficient.  He always is - like a lot of our crew, and it's why we like working with him so much. 

The last heifer went thru, and the guys jacked the single box up and pulled it out with the ranch's four wheeler.  They invited us to dinner, but Tyler still needed to drive home to the Boise Valley that night, so we thanked them for the offer but hit the road.

The 2 hour drive home was quiet.  The boys snacked on crackers and yogurt, the guys talked about the day and what they could improve on, and we pulled in the driveway around 8:30.  Tyler packed up his bag and headed home to his family, Clint did chores and let the dogs out, and I got the boys settled into bed.....well, Chandler.  Cal had slept on the way home, and woke up when I took him in the house and was wired, so he stayed up with us.  :)  Clint came in and we fixed a snack since we didn't eat dinner, and watched an episode of American Idol to unwind.  10:00 rolled around, and Cal was finally ready for bed, and so were we.

It was a nice day, spent as a family, doing something we all enjoy.  The weather was great (we don't mind a bit of wind if we're dressed for it) and the response of the cattle was great too.  We hope the conception rate is good, and that we get to go back again next year.


So that's a look at a day in the life of us, during the AI season.

If you're a cattle rancher, wanting to know if AI has a place in your herd (it probably does!) Clint would be happy to visit with you.  His contact information is here.

Happy Thursday friends - Success is Reason Enough!


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