We always wanted to be able to test our cows with a simple pee test. Something similar to what us humans use to see if we are pregnant. We looked before but could never find one and were told they don't exist... Then we found the P-Test from Emlab Genetics. And not only does it test for pregnancy in cattle but also goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas, bison, elk or deer. How many of you out there are raising deer or elk? So cool that it works for such and array of animals.
As of this writing, there is a notice at the top of the website that states the site will soon be unavailable. This is due to the fact that it was created using Office 365 Share point program that is set to be discontinued. I'm sure they probably have another website ready to go but I wanted to let you know in case the above link becomes broken due to this fact. If so just google them.
Now back to the test. It is used very much like a home pregnancy test. However you don't hold any stick or wand in the urine stream but instead must catch the urine and insert it with a syringe into a vile like the one in the pictures above.
The question is, how do you go about catching cow urine (glad we don't have bison!)? I noticed when I went to the Emlab website to get the link for you that they had a video on collecting cow urine. That would have been very helpful if only we had seen it before we did the test!
The most comical part of this test I failed to take pictures of. I'm sorry. I'm sure some pictures or even a short video of the trials we went through running behind our cows and heifers would have worked up a nice belly chuckle for you. You see, we thought we could just be sly and sneak up behind them once they started peeing and collect some pee in a pint jar. Yeah, that didn't work out so well.
Despite the fact that it was bitter cold I decided one morning when going out to milk the cow and to do the morning chores with the kids that "today was the day" we were going to collect the pee and see if our Vondi was pregnant. We were sure she was/is because we could see the baby kicking around in there. This is really amazing thing to see and there is no denying a kick from a baby calf.
So we go out to do our chores. I walk out behind the barn to call Pippy in so we can milk her. Walking over to her at the feeder I start to look at Vondi and then ask my daughter to go get the extra jar we had been keeping in the milking parlor just for this purpose. Would you like to catch the pee of a cow in a pint jar? I don't know what we were thinking! Cows have large streams of pee. LARGE. And they pee, and pee, and pee. I wanted to tell you just how much they pee in one pee but I couldn't find the answer. Google your slacking.
However, when I did my Google search the first thing that came up was "Do cows pee milk?" What? I'm sorry people if you are one of whats seems to be the many who don't know that cows do not pee milk nor do they pee from their udder which was the number one search suggestion at the bottom of the page. No offense to you, but wow, we have lost touch with where our food comes from! In my search I also found that you can buy cow urine from Amazon. Apparently it is used as a supplement. So grateful that we eat a healthy, non-gmo, organic, whole food diet so we don't need any cow urine supplements!
Back to the story, cows pee large quantities of pee. I can't tell you exactly how much, but trust me, it is a lot! My eldest daughter and son were each holding a pint jar as we were waiting for one of our cows to pee. Any other day they all would have peed 4 times each by now. OK, may be only 2. But really, any other day they seem to be peeing all the time. I guess on this day they knew what we were up to.
As we were watching Vondi my daughter Elly realized that Crawford was peeing. Elly ran over there as fast as she could in her boots and coveralls trying not to trip over frozen cow pies. As soon as she got there Crawford stopped. Oh, she was not done peeing, but she stopped. No, she was not going to let us get any of her pee.
It was at this point that it occurred to me how foolish it was to try and catch the pee with a pint jar. Elly now had pee all over her glove. So off my son Carter went for a bucket. In the meantime the steer peed, then the calf peed, then the other calf peed but no heifer or cows peed,
By now I was getting pretty cold and we still needed to finish the chores and milk Pippy. Caleb stayed out with the new found bucket while Elly, Carter, and I went back in to the barn. It was well below zero and we had spent the last half an hour to 45 minutes trying to catch cow pee. My desire to catch this cow pee for the test had completely diminished. I just wanted to get inside and stand in front of the fire and Caleb, although one of our heifers peed, was unsuccessful in catching any. I guess cows aren't comfortable having a bucket placed under there parts while they pee because as soon as the bucket arrives they stop peeing. It's the darnedest thing.
I am soooo grateful that we are able to have milk cows. We do not and will not buy milk from the store, not even organic. It is just not the same and not as healthy as fresh raw milk and I just know to much about the truth of store bought milk. So if we do not have a cow in milk we do not have milk or butter or yogurt, or cream. I love cream :). That being said, it can be challenging, to say the least, when it is negative 40 degrees outside. The cups for the milking machine are stainless steel and they get pretty darn cold so my hands are pretty freezing after milking in these weather conditions. You just can not hold on to them the same with gloves on. I've tried and I've failed. So after I'm done milking I'm not interested in lolly gagging and I was certainly not interested in trying to catch cow pee any longer. I was going in.
Fortunately for me and the pee test I have a son who is very determined. Carter loves taking on challenges like this. If we need to catch a sheep or calf he is the one to we call on. He will assert himself whole heartily to meet the goal. Man that boy can hang on to a calf. They might seem little but they are STRONG. With this same determination he decided to stay out there and get the job done. He said he wasn't coming in until he got the pee. We helped him get Vondi into the milking stanchion (what a novel idea!) so he wouldn't have to follow her around to collect the sample, then we went inside.
Low and behold right about the time I was done washing the milker here he comes with a pint of cow pee! Carter saves the day again!
Now let me go back to the video I mentioned earlier that I didn't watch until just now. Apparently you can get a cow to pee whenever you want. Yeah, just like that! You simply massage the area from the top of the cows udder to just below their vulva. No, you don't have to touch that. Sure enough, the man in the video did this and within a minute or two the cow peed. The video cuts off before it gets to a full stream but just like that it started to pee. That would have been nice to know the morning we went out to do the pee test! .
The process is very simple once you have your urine sample. Use the syringe to inject 1.5mm of pee into the little vile. Then wait ten minutes. There is a little pellet at the bottom of the vile. Gently invert the vile several times until the pellet is dissolved. If the cow is pregnant you will see it start to change colors right away. The cool thing about the test is that it also tells you in what general term of pregnancy the cow is in. The darker the color the further along in pregnancy the cow is.
Amber indicates not pregnant, light green-very early term, green- early term, blue green-mid term, dark blue- late term. The colors are shown on the package and in the directions.
Is Vondi pregnant? YES! And it seems as though she is late term. Yeah!
We still have two heifers to test but we will not be following them around with a pint jar or bucket. We will be bringing them into the milk stanchion and massaging that area above their udders with one hand and a bucket in the other. So grateful to have found that video.
Have you ever tried using a P-TEST with any of your livestock? What did you think about the process? Are we the only ones that made fools out of ourselves chasing our cows around trying to get a pee sample in a pint jar? Did you all know the secret get any cow to pee technique? Please do share!
Have a blessed day and may it be free of cow pee and buckets!
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Hello, I'm Jaci. I love wandering around in my gardens admiring God's creation. I'm passionate about whole foods and clean eating. I look forward to sharing my farming and homestead adventures and helping you reach your gardening goals! If you have any questions then don't be shy, I'd love to hear from you. Send me a message and I will be glad to help!