Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Embryo Transfer at Federal Research Centers

Today was a very busy day which made it fulfilling and exciting. We went to two Federal Research Centers to set up donor and recipient cows for embryo transfer. These institutions both had good(for Ethiopia) cows to use as donors. They also both had many research animals that we could choose from to use as recipients. These animals had been at the centers longer than the ones at Adami Tulu and were in much better condition. We were able to use all but one of the animals at each place.

The exciting part for me is that once we showed the staff what to do with animals they took over and did most of the work with Haven, Mark and I helping a little bit along the way. At Debre Zeyit a lady showed up with a large TV camera. I think she must have been from the local news but I am not sure. Seyoum drove down from Addis and met us at Debre Zeyit. It looks like he is going to be able to be their when we flush the cows in two weeks.
We arrived at Holeta just as everyone was headed to lunch. We thought about starting the work ourselves but the guard at the corrals wasn’t even going to let us in to the animals. After talking with him for several minutes he finally relented and let us walk in. We decided not to push our luck and just wandered around making observations. We noticed that the lug nuts were missing from their hay cart which caused the holes in the rim to wear. On the other side of the cart they had welded washers to the rim to stop the hole from getting bigger.
Haven got a rope and made a rope halter which we used on most of the animals because the holding facility was not the best and the animals were trying to jump out. We also volunteer to trim the feet of their best milk cow that had toes about six inches long. Haven taught them how to do it so hopefully they will continue to do it in the future.
The highlight of our trip to Holeta was the new milking parlor with 10 milking machines. It was the first milking parlor that I had seen with padlocks on the cow gates going in and out of the barn. This is in addition to the guard at the corrals and the guard at the gate to the compound. They were just starting to use the machines and were very excited about them. Now I can finally say that I have seen automatic milking machines in Ethiopia.

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