There are only a very few donors that are flushed for years without them having a natural calf. I agree that the reason we all raise our cattle is to generate income. If a donor can generate more dollars by flushing her, then I have no problem with that. That does not suggest that they are not capable of raising a natural calf, it simply means that she can generate more dollars via flushing. I have one donor cow that lost 3 quarters to a viral mastitis after losing a set of twins at birth, just over 4 years ago now . In fact, the viral mastitis almost killed her, as she was so weak she could not even get up for weeks. I carried feed and water to her and had decided that if she ever refused to eat or drink, I would have to put her down. I treated her with massive amounts of drugs, so there was no salvage value from her. She eventually was able to stand, and literally looked like a walking skeleton by this time. I turned her out onto grass for the summer and by fall she was looking good again. Since she had always been a very good producer, I decided to try to flush her that fall. Since then I have flushed her every two months, and she has consistently produced between 8 and 12 grade 1 embryos. She has just passed $60,000 in sales of embryos and flushes, and I still have about 15 embryos stored, and I have 3 live ET heifers from her her at the farm. She had calves in 5 countries in 2007. Last fall, I sold 8 embryos from her in a cattle sale, and they brought $1000 each. That is $8000!!! I did not have to feed, fit, clip or do anything but collect the cheque. Of course, there has been considerable expenses in getting this $60,000 from her, but I am sure I am still far ahead of what she would have produced if I had put her down.
I have several donors that I flush for at least a full 12 months, then I try to rebreed them for a natural calf. Once she calves, she usually goes back into a flush program where they are flushed every second month.
ET has allowed me to fast forward my breeding program. I used to spend about $30,000 a year buying some good replacement females for my herd.I always made sure I had sold more than this amount before I bought them. Since i started ET, the only females I have purchased have been a few donor females, and I have paid for them all with the embryos produced from their first flush.
So, if you ask me what I think about a cow that has not had a natural calf for awhile, I usually think she must be a pretty exceptional female, or she would have been sent to town a long time ago.
I have proven to myself, that you do not have to pay the huge dollars to develop a good ET program. Yes, some of these high dollar cows do generate interest faster maybe, but if you study your lessons, search for good cows that have a proven track record, and look for the bargains, it is possible to put a good group of cows together. My first donor was purchased in a sale in Illinois for $1500 as a bred female. She calved a beautiful heifer that sold to Texas privately out of my yard at $10,000 and this heifer did a fair bit of winning in the US. I decided to flush her and she became our highest grossing female ever, as we sold over 150,000 in progeny and embryos from her in 5 years. Since then, I have been patient and waited for the good cows to appear.
My point is, that in this day and age, we have the technology to speed up the production from our better females. If this means that she gets to go for awhile without a natural calf, to allow her to be flushed, then I see nothing wrong with it. We all raise these cattle to make a living and to improve our farms and our famiilies futures.