There are two ways to get a cow pregnant.
1) Identify when the cow is in “standing heat” — when she’ll stand and let a bull breed her — and then put her in a chute, and pay a professional to artificially inseminate her. The advantages to this method are: you get to choose whatever bull you want to breed her, so her calf can be a milk cow or a beef cow, of various options; also you don’t have to deal with keeping a bull around. The disadvantages: buying the necessary supplies, paying the professional, and the off-chance that she doesn’t get pregnant and you wasted your money.
2) Put the cow in the pen with a bull, and leave her there for a couple of months. The advantages: it’s cheaper, typically more effective (because he can breed her as much as she’ll let him…and because, well, his anatomy is built for just this very thing), and I personally prefer it because it’s the more “natural” way. (Joel Salatin doesn’t artificially inseminate, and he gives his reasoning for it here — he says it allows the less-strong sperm to survive, which in his theory, weakens the herd…. he acknowledges there could be plenty of arguments about this, but he calls his stance “intuitive”) The disadvantages: you have to know somebody who has a bull and will let you use him.
Thanks to our friend Matt, Gertie is now hanging out with a nice herd of cattle, three of which are bulls. So we imagine she’ll be pregnant pretty soon.
We should have a calf and milk by July! We’re hoping for four gallons a day — but even if we get less than that, we’ll certainly have more than enough for our needs.