Artificial Insemination: The Basics

Mini Horses

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Don't do cattle but, have collected and AI'd mini horses. In fact, still have the collection device for them, which I had made by the people who offer larger units. Since they are "minis", the full equine size was way too large. We collected and tested because our farm offered breeding services. My vet was a teacher & equine specialist. Had my own ultrasound equipment but sold that unit. Only used fresh, live sperm for AI but generally my herd were hand bred, live cover, no AI.

I've considered the caprine AI course they have NC but, not been able to be "free to go" when it has been offered in past. It's still in my future! :D
 

Wehner Homestead

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So as a start, for heifers that are calving for the first time, we should look for a high # listed for CE with high accuracy %, correct?

After AI is done, how do you tell if the AI is successful or not?

You are on track for choosing a bull! Definitely have the right idea!

You wait 21 days to see if they cycle again. There is a blood test that can be done. We have always done the 21 day wait and see because you aren’t going to breed them again any sooner than that anyway. Give me a bit and I’ll find out how soon after AI that the blood test can be done.
 

Wehner Homestead

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@Wehner Homestead
When you get ready to try your goats, I have semen :thumbsup

It's a little tricky with goats.

I discussed it a bit with SBC one day. She was telling me that it requires hormone injections and CIDRs. We’ve used those things when we tried to synchronize the cows but our conception rate was higher with standing heats.

Have y’all done goat AI? I knew you had a tank and semen but didn’t know if you’d taken the leap yet.
 

farmerjan

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One thing to correct @Wehner the straws of semen are 1/4 and 1/2 cc not 3 and 5 ml. The French actually came up with the straw as using the old ampules was tricky and messier. I have ampules from some old bulls in my tank now and will have to use an infusion pipette and syringe because they don't make the little "bulbette" that was used to siphon the semen out of the thawed ampule.

Most of the time the bloody discharge is after the heat. 12-36 hours after. So if you are seeing the blood on the tail or flank, watch closely about 1-2 days before hand for her to have heat signs. Anything different from normal behavior. Had one cow that would just stand and moo, never saw her ride or be ridden by other cows. Had one that would get out of any fence when she was in heat looking for a bull. We said she was out slumming.... Had one that we used to lead from pasture to the barn and if she was coming in heat she would try to ride you... if you know your cows, then anything a little out of the normal ordinary, may be the way to catch her in heat.

I have no experience with goats, had a friend store some goat semen in my tank years ago. Have a farmer who did AI on the sows for his kids show pigs but I was never there....

Blood tests are one way, but if she goes over 21-23 days and no more heat signs, then a vet can palpate them and tell. They have to be 30 days, most do it at 35 or more post breeding. Many vets now use ultrasound to see the developing egg/fetus. They can actually tell the sex of the calf after 50 days up til about 90 days. Then the developing calf will slip further down into the cow and it is hard to tell what sex.
One thing about palpation. The vet is feeling the uterus and the slip of the fluid in it. It can disrupt an egg that is not well implanted in the uterine wall as it starts it's growth. So I like to wait til at least 35 or 40 days if doing preg checks with palpation. An ultrasound is a little easier, but I still like to wait til the cow has actually gone by her "second heat" which is 42 to 45 days. Just me. We have fewer slipped pregnancies that way.
 

OneFineAcre

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I discussed it a bit with SBC one day. She was telling me that it requires hormone injections and CIDRs. We’ve used those things when we tried to synchronize the cows but our conception rate was higher with standing heats.

Have y’all done goat AI? I knew you had a tank and semen but didn’t know if you’d taken the leap yet.
I don't know why she said that or where she got that from? :idunno
We have not AI'd any of our goats but Maurine has AI'd others with about an 80% success rate on natural heats

Edited
A very small sample
If you only do a few its easier to have more success than a larger group
With goats most are trying to outcross a nice buck with one of their own does to get a buck
 
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Goat Whisperer

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I discussed it a bit with SBC one day. She was telling me that it requires hormone injections and CIDRs. We’ve used those things when we tried to synchronize the cows but our conception rate was higher with standing heats.

Have y’all done goat AI? I knew you had a tank and semen but didn’t know if you’d taken the leap yet.
I don't know why she said that or where she got that from? :idunno
We have not AI'd any of our goats but Maurine has AI'd others with about an 80% success rate on natural heats

Edited
A very small sample
If you only do a few its easier to have more success than a larger group
With goats most are trying to outcross a nice buck with one of their own does to get a buck

I wasn't in the convo but it doesn't require drugs or hormones, but I know it is common practice.
Probably a misunderstanding between WH and SBC.

With goats, natural heats are generally more successful than induced heats.
Induced heats may be easier in one aspect, because timing can be everything. Who collected the semen, mediums used, process, how you thaw the straw, all make a difference.

I have considered AIing, and may in the future, but I have seen the ugly side of things.
Hard to know who to trust (when buying from strangers). I saw there were some big paperwork issues with certain collectors this year. So many little things to think about.
Some do not even check the quality of the semen. I got this job when I went with a friend to have her does AI'd. LOL It was interesting- straws from a certain buck was "overpacked". There was so much movement on the slide. Many would think that was a really good straw. I learned that that is not always the case. Interesting enough, none of the does that were dosed with those straws took- even though it was a good AI (got through all the rings).

I just worry about bringing in straws from herds all over the country. I have read that mycoplasma could possibly be spread through semen. :eek:

I was able to go with a friend when she took her does to be AI'd. Very good learning experience. I think I could do it with a little coaching. Something I'd be interested in doing.

@OneFineAcre 80% is really good. How many goats was that?
 
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Wehner Homestead

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@OneFineAcre @Goat Whisperer

I must’ve completely misunderstood something in the conversation. That’s highly possible considering there are always 2-3 kids clamoring for my attention on this end when I have any phone conversation.

I wouldn’t be against AI, just not sure I’m at that point in my dairy herd development yet.

I have found that I much prefer having Nigerian Dwarf bucks around versus bulls! That’s one of the reasons that we AI our Cattle is being able to match up sepecific traits that we do or don’t want without having ten bulls on the farm causing trouble for about 15 cows.

In fact, I’m up to 4 bucks. 2 are bucklings that I’m retaining from kidding this year. One will be used in my Mini program for sure. Waiting on a daughter of one of my older bucks to freshen to decide if he will be the other buck used in the Mini program or if it’ll be the other buckling.

DH and I discussed breeding our two Standard Lamancha does for a set of standard kids down the road with the intent to retain doelings. We would very likely AI for this as I wouldn’t want to buy a buck to use one year, especially a larger buck of breeding size that may or may not do well with my kids, other goats, dogs, etc.

Either way, I apologize for the confusion. It’s good to know that breeding on natural heat has a pretty high success rate. We actually have about 90% success rate on our natural heat AI for our cattle.

OFA- I’ll be sure to get in contact if/when we AI goats to gather input and purchase semen.

GW- If you ever get your bucks collected, I might be interested in some. I do have a tank so I can store it until I’m ready to use it. You know CeCe and Sparkle and will definitely be on my contact list for best buck to breed to when we look at doing a round of Standard kids down the road.
 

jhm47

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You are on track for choosing a bull! Definitely have the right idea!

You wait 21 days to see if they cycle again. There is a blood test that can be done. We have always done the 21 day wait and see because you aren’t going to breed them again any sooner than that anyway. Give me a bit and I’ll find out how soon after AI that the blood test can be done.

The blood test is called DG29. You can use it 29 days (or more) after breeding the cow/heifer. It works with either AI or natural breeding. My company (Genex) sells the kits, and I have used them. Basically, you raise the tail of the animal, locate the vein under the base of the tail, insert the needle, and push the vial up into the needle, and it sucks a sample of the blood into the vial. You then send the vials off to a lab, and you will get results in a couple days. Worked perfect for me!
 

Goat Whisperer

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@OneFineAcre @Goat Whisperer

I must’ve completely misunderstood something in the conversation. That’s highly possible considering there are always 2-3 kids clamoring for my attention on this end when I have any phone conversation.

I wouldn’t be against AI, just not sure I’m at that point in my dairy herd development yet.

I have found that I much prefer having Nigerian Dwarf bucks around versus bulls! That’s one of the reasons that we AI our Cattle is being able to match up sepecific traits that we do or don’t want without having ten bulls on the farm causing trouble for about 15 cows.

In fact, I’m up to 4 bucks. 2 are bucklings that I’m retaining from kidding this year. One will be used in my Mini program for sure. Waiting on a daughter of one of my older bucks to freshen to decide if he will be the other buck used in the Mini program or if it’ll be the other buckling.

DH and I discussed breeding our two Standard Lamancha does for a set of standard kids down the road with the intent to retain doelings. We would very likely AI for this as I wouldn’t want to buy a buck to use one year, especially a larger buck of breeding size that may or may not do well with my kids, other goats, dogs, etc.

Either way, I apologize for the confusion. It’s good to know that breeding on natural heat has a pretty high success rate. We actually have about 90% success rate on our natural heat AI for our cattle.

OFA- I’ll be sure to get in contact if/when we AI goats to gather input and purchase semen.

GW- If you ever get your bucks collected, I might be interested in some. I do have a tank so I can store it until I’m ready to use it. You know CeCe and Sparkle and will definitely be on my contact list for best buck to breed to when we look at doing a round of Standard kids down the road.
I am all for AI, it's a great tool! :thumbsup
 

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