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What is Artificial Insemination?

Have you considered using this system in your breeding program? You could be living in Scotland and use a stallion standing at stud in Cornwall. Using our AI services means your mare can be covered at your home of at our stud with none of the problems normally involved with natural covering.

AI or Artificial Insemination involves the collection of semen from the stallion using specialized equipment followed by the insemination of the mare. AI can be used to breed mares with fresh semen or the semen can be placed in an Equitainer and sent to the mare. This cools the semen whilst it is in transit (so saves vital time) and allows the semen to be used up to 72 hours after collection.

We also offer semen collection from your stallion which has a number of advantages, a competition stallion can continue competing uninterrupted and it can save on problems associated with natural covering such as injuries and disease.

 

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Advantages of Artificial Insemination

  • Reduces incidence of injury to the mare, stallion and the handlers.
  • Disease control: protects against a variety of diseases spread by skin contact in natural service. These diseases include the herpes virus, equine coital exthanema and contagious equine metritis.
  • Allows the use of older and valuable stallions. Stallion sperm count reduces as they age; using AI enables the correct amount of sperm to be used for each mare and removes the guess work.
  • Collection can be worked around competition commitments.
  • Allows more mares to be bred. Sperm from one ejaculation can be divided up at as many as 10 to 15 times on alternate day collection. This also reduces the overuse of a stallion.
  • Breeding from mares with problems. A mare with a foal at foot may become anxious when being served or she may not psychologically be ready for service.
  • Semen is evaluated each time it is collected. With AI we can check the fertility every time we collect semen. With natural service fertility rate can only be checked when pregnancy is established.
  • Stallion handling. A stallion coming to us for collection aids in the easier home management of him as he will not associate his own environment with covering.
  • Specialized equipment. Owners/producers do not have the expense of purchasing the necessary equipment and facilities.
  • No problems of having visiting mares at home of having to try mares.
 
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Artificial Insemination - FAQs

 

How long does the dummy mare training take?

On average a stallion will be trained up in 2 weeks.

 

How long will my stallion be at your stud?

After he has done his training he can then use the walk in stallion service or he can stay at livery for the breeding season.

 

How long does my mare need to be at your stud?

We do provide a walk in AI service for your mare but this depends on you knowing the correct time of your mare's cycle.  Better results are usually achieved when the mare is left with us for the duration of her cycle so she can be scanned and given the AI at the correct time.  This would normally be a period of 3 to 4 weeks if her cycle is regular.

 

Can one sperm collection be used for more than one mare?

Yes depending on the quality of the sperm.

 

How long after collection can the sperm be used?

If semen is stored correctly up to 72 hours after collection.

 

What are your qualifications and who are you affiliated with?

I am a qualified AI Technicians approved with DEFRA and I am a member of A.I. of Equines Technicians Trade Association. 

 

My stallion/mare has a low fertility rate, how can AI help with this?

With AI we know the quality of the semen being used for your mare is good and with our expert veterinarian care we have had much success with problem mares in the past.

 

How do you perform artificial insemination?

First - collect the semen.  We do this by preparing an artificial vagina (AV) with hot water (temperature between 44˚C to 55˚C).  Each individual stallion can prefer different temperatures.

Next get rid of the gel and measure the semen volume.  You filter the semen to separate it from the gel and measure its volume using a clean (preferably new) container that has been pre-warmed to 37˚C.

Then extend the semen.  Semen extenders are usually milk based and protect the sperm against seminal plasma as well effects of ‘cold shock’. Semen in extender lasts longer and can be more easily examined to determine motility.

Evaluate the semen and look at the motility . Look under the microscope to determine the quality of the sperm and motility. Semen motility is measured as total and progressive. Progressive motility is a sperm that moves forward in a reasonably straight line and rotates its’ flat head as it swims.

Calculate the dose of semen.  Ideally about 500 X 106 progressively motile sperm (PMS) are needed to achieve consistent and maximum fertility. There are many stallions and many techniques that can be used to decrease this number but we strongly recommend starting with this number.

Breed the mare.  The raw semen is best added to extender early on after collection and the semen extender ratio used to calculate the raw semen constituent so as the mare is bred with the right number of PMS. To breed the mare, she is first carefully cleaned and rinsed. Soaps and cleaning agents tend be spermicidal. Then a gloved hand with a pipette is introduced into the vagina and the pipette passed gently through the cervix. The semen is then deposited into the uterine body.

Monitoring the mare whilst she is in season is vital to ensure that the insemination is timed correctly. When using chilled semen constant contact with the stallion owner is of great importance as this helps ensure that the semen arrives with the mare for insemination at the optimum time.