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Old May 27th 2009, 05:31 AM   #1
 IndependenceRanch's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Edgar, WI

Cervid: deer
This article was written by my wife Laurie and I several years ago in an effort to share what we knew about A/I because at the time few were willing to share the information. It wasn't and still isn't meant to be a perfect explanation of the process.

Most of what you will read is nothing new at all, but since there are new people getting into the business each year maybe this will be of some help to them. It has been edited to shorten it some. If you have a better way share it.



-------------------



A look at making babies through artificial insemination.



This article is intended to get you thinking about artificial insemination. This will not be “The Bible,” and is intended only to give the reader an overview of the process. There is more than one way to skin a cat and this is one of those ways. After reading this do more research and see if this is for you.



First lets look at why artificial insemination. ( A/I ) It’s the cheapest and least risky way of improving your breeding program. If you don’t have a buck that scores high enough for the breeding program you want to have you either have to buy one or use A/I.



Buying a breeder can run tens of thousands of dollars only to have him die before the breeding season. If you are lucky and he doesn’t die, you now have one buck to do your breeding. Why limit yourself to that one buck? A/I allows you to use several bucks in the same year. You can pick and choose a buck specific to each doe.



A/I costs relatively little in comparison to buying a breeder buck. There are doctors who travel around in fall doing A/I or you can take a class and try it yourself. (We would recommend both the first year.) The supplies are inexpensive and the semen can be as much or as little as you like. Prices run from $200 per straw up to thousands of dollars per straw. Plus, just about any buck you would like to use for breeding is available through semen.



I am sure many of you have heard the saying, “it costs just as much to feed good stock as it does to feed junk.” It is true. With times as they are no one needs to be feeding lesser quality deer. Hunt preserves are in need of large, high scoring bucks. A/I can put you in a position to have those bucks available for the hunt preserve near you.



Things to look for when buying semen:



Who collected and processed the semen? It should be done by a professional. Self collectors and self processors would make me very nervous.



Where is it being stored and how will I be able to get it? The shipping of semen is really quite simple. Most places will ship it to you in their container or you can rent one locally and send it to the storage place. They will then charge the tank with nitrogen and put your semen in for shipping back to you. Just plan ahead as timing is critical. When the doe is ready she is ready now.



Shipping costs? Those costs can vary depending on how far it’s being shipped.



What size of straw - cc or 1/4 cc? The jury is still out as to what size of straw is considered best. But the one critical point is that whatever size straw you buy is the size of straw you are prepared for. The gun that the straw goes into during the A/I process and the straw you have bought MUST be the same size. That is what counts.



What if I don’t use all the semen I bought right away? If you planned on breeding 10 does and only 9 are what you actually do, the extra straw will be alright as long as it remains in the nitrogen tank. You will need to keep it frozen. Just send it to a breeding service near you and pay them to store it for next year.



If I am planning on breeding 10 does how many straws should I have on hand? No one likes to spend money and have it tied up sitting in a tank not being used. But I prefer to buy extra straws so I have a spare on hand. Occasionally a straw can “pop” while being thawed. If this happens the semen is ruined. If you don’t have a back up straw to use the doe wont be bred for the year, or you will have to let the back up buck have her.



What is a back up buck? After performing the a/i put the does in a pen separate from all other deer. After a period of time you can put a back up buck in with the does. He will then breed any does that were unsuccessfully a/i’ed. This back up buck should not be put into the pen until at least a week or two has passed. We like 15 to 20 days after the a/i process.



Will using a back up buck cause a decrease in a/i success? Some believe this to be true, but we have found no evidence of this. We believe if a doe is left to settle for 15 days she either is bred from the a/i or never was. Our rate of success has not changed from using a back up buck.



What does it cost to store semen? Pennies. It is very cheap to store semen. Most times you will pay a minimum for storage due to not having that high of quantities of straws.



We have found no problems a/i’ing first time mothers. The only issue to keep in mind is again be prepared. A smaller speculum will be needed.





Below is an outline of the process we did at our place.



Things you will need:



Semen - frozen or fresh. If you are close by a farm that has a buck you would like to use and they are collecting when you are A/I’ing using fresh semen is an option.



Items you will have to go through your Veterinarian for:

CIDRs (Controlled Internal Drug Release)

CIDR gun

Biomycin (antibiotic)

PMSG (Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotrophin) This is a hormone.

Sterile water (saline)



Check farm supply catalogs for these items:

French gun

french gun sheaths

straw cutters or scissors

water bath

Speculum - large and small

Vircon or similar cleanser

semen forceps



Place such as fleet farm or supply catalogs for:

sterile gloves

syringes and needles

pen light

KY Jelly (lubricant)

hot water

paper towels





So you have decided to try artificial insemination. Here we go...



Pick a date that you want the does to give birth. Normal gestation for fawns is 200 days. Now that you have a date picked, back it up 14 days and start the process. Example: To have fawns born on May 30th count back 214 days. This is the day you will insert the CIDR, starting the process. You can run the doe into a handling facility or tranquilize them. Once you have them were you can work with the doe, use the CIDR gun with KY jelly on the tip to insert the CIDR into the vagina of the doe. Lift up the doe’s tail and insert the CIDR first at an upward angle to get past the pelvis bone and then push level into the deer pushing the plunger of the CIDR gun and inserting the CIDR so the plastic tail is still visible once the gun is removed. The CIDR stays in the doe for 14 days. After those 14 days, bring the doe in again, grab the plastic tail of the CIDR and pull it out. If you don’t see the tail of the CIDR, push apart the vulva and see if it is inside the deer. Always use sterile gloves and KY jelly for lubricant. Once in a while, the deer will pull the CIDR out on their own but not very often. If that has happened, it does not pay to try and A/I the deer. Once the CIDR is removed, give the doe 8cc of Biomycin in the muscle and 150 IU of PMSG in the neck muscle. The PMSG comes in a powder form and needs to be reconstituted with saline or sterile water. (For example, if the PMSG is 200IU add 1cc water and use 3/4 cc to get 150IU.) 56-65 hours later the doe will be ready to A/I. Bring her into your facility again.



Make sure the water bath is between 90-95 degrees. Try and keep the french gun warm until you are ready to use it. Have the semen tank and semen accessible. Remove one straw of semen from the semen tank using a semen forceps. (Do Not pull the remaining straws of semen all the way out of the AI tank because you don’t want them thawing early.) Put the straw you want to use in the water bath for 45 seconds. Remove the straw from the water bath after 45 seconds and dry it thoroughly. Water will kill semen. Using the scissors or the straw cutter cut the semen straw to remove the PVC sealed end - not the cotton plug end - and make sure the straw is rounded where it was cut. Put the straw into the french gun. Put a sheath over the french gun and semen straw. Push the plunger of the french gun far enough to get rid of air in the straw. Keep the semen and french gun warm until ready to insert into the doe. Tucking it into your jacket is a good place. Insert the correct size speculum, larger for older does and small one for yearlings and smaller does, into the doe’s vagina. Light the opening with the pen light so you can see. Push the speculum in until you see the rosebud and push a little further until you see the rosebud open. Take the french gun and insert the end of it into the open rosebud. Move any mucus out of the way with the end of the french gun - the mucus acts as a natural spermicide and should be removed within reason. Once the french gun tip is inside the rosebud, pull the speculum back about half way to allow the vagina to close around the gun, and push the plunger of the gun in to put the semen inside the rosebud. Remove the french gun. A/I is complete. Clean the equipment with the Vircon or other disinfectant and dry completely. Start over with the next doe.

This gives you a look at the basics of A/I and now maybe you will give this a try. It can be rewarding watching fawns run around knowing you had a part in it. Good luck this next breeding season!
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Old May 27th 2009, 05:33 AM   #2
 IndependenceRanch's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Edgar, WI

Cervid: deer
I started this thread and reposted this from the old forum because I saw on another thread there was some basic questions being asked about A/I. Hope this helps the people just finding this new forum and were not aware of the old forums.
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Old May 27th 2009, 05:56 AM   #3
 
  Apr 2009
Folks,

I believe it was this article that inspired the onset of the A/I programs of today. Back when Roger and Laurie wrote this article, not to many people were A/I'ing.



Maybe it was just coincidence, but soon after this article everybody and their brother started A/I'ing.



Thanks Roger and Laurie for posting this great article many moons ago. I have pretty much followed these same protocols for 6 years and have averaged 70% + conceptions for many many farms all across the United States and Mexico.



I do run in to a few farms where I crash and burn with low conceptions, but the majority are in the 70, 80 and even 90% conception rates.



Much appreciated and thanks for sharing. I hope it helps others as well as it helped me.





Regards,

John







.
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Old May 27th 2009, 07:09 AM   #4
 Wicked Whitetails's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Clinton, PA

Cervid: Whitetail Deer
Not to get things side tracked but I was reading this very seriously bc i am planing on AI ing some time soon and want to know everything. Then i get down to john's post and see his avitar. So i read it and proceed to do what it says. Needless to say I bust out laughing. "go ahead try it you'll laugh for sure"
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Old May 27th 2009, 07:26 AM   #5
 allenb's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Burlington, West Virginia

Cervid: Small Deer Farmer
Thank you Roger and Laurie, Great info,This will be our first year to AI. I have printed the post and put it in my files. Thanks again. Allen
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Old May 27th 2009, 07:27 AM   #6
 allenb's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Burlington, West Virginia

Cervid: Small Deer Farmer
For got to add how good John's avatar is.
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Old May 27th 2009, 09:28 AM   #7
 IndependenceRanch's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Edgar, WI

Cervid: deer
Thanks for all the great words. We just try and help others as much as we can.
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Old May 27th 2009, 04:12 PM   #8
 Antlershed's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  cental Pennsylvania

Cervid: taxidermy
i never AI'ed before, but I liked the article thanks for posting. And now I finally know PMSG and CIDR actually stands for, I was always a little lost reading those AI post not knowing what it meant.
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Old May 27th 2009, 05:32 PM   #9
 IndependenceRanch's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Edgar, WI

Cervid: deer
Antlershed, thanks for your post. A/I is not for everyone, but now you have insight about some of the basics. And that insight will make reading the forums and talking with other farmers more fun. Thanks again for posting
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Old May 29th 2009, 09:17 PM   #10
 
  Apr 2009
  Sullivan,MO 63080
Hi,Roger We have tried aiing with a good friend here were i live that is a vet.He has done cows but never deer.We did 7 last year and only had 2 have fawns we thought we were using 1/2cc straws but turned ot they were only 1/4cc straws dont know if that would make much difference.We put the cidrs in and toke them out at 14 days gave a 3cc shot of pmsg it came frozen from a place called international boar semen.I seen that you use powdered is this better and if so where did you get it?We gave the shot of pmsg deep in the muscle in hind quarter.Then aiid them between 59 and 60hrs.We didnt give them the biomycin is this really important to give? This year we did the same as above but only did 5 does and used 1/2cc straws this time. Last year doe had fawns at 190days,and 196 days.This year so far one had at 192days,and 198days there is still one out of the 5 that looks bigger than the other 2 left today is 199days.What is the longest you ever had one go that you aiid? last year was like28% sucess rate and so far this year were at 40% so a little better this year both years we used same semen.All does were tranquilized when aiid what is the best way to postion them when aiing them this way?So far it has been pretty cheap to do vet doesnt charge us anything and semen was like $50 per straw and since we only got 1/4cc the first time when they were supposed to be 1/2cc the guy we bought it from was kind enough to make it good and gave us the semen this year to ai with for free.Is there anything you think we could do different to up are sucess?Both years there was one doe that toke both years? Thanks roger sorry its so long
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Old May 29th 2009, 10:03 PM   #11
 
  Apr 2009
  pa
Great Info!!!
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Old May 30th 2009, 06:52 AM   #12
 IndependenceRanch's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Edgar, WI

Cervid: deer
Quote:
we thought we were using 1/2cc straws but turned ot they were only 1/4cc straws dont know if that would make much difference.


Whether you use 1/2cc or 1/4cc makes no difference in you a/i success rates in this case. That said studies show that in Canada they get better success rates using 1/4cc straws. But a certain Dr. here in the U.S. insists that 1/2cc straws are the best and so that is what is used most often here. Some bucks semen actually freezes better using 1/4cc straws resulting in better semen quality during the thaw process.



Quote:
We put the cidrs in and toke them out at 14 days gave a 3cc shot of pmsg it came frozen from a place called international boar semen
.



14 days is good for the CIDR's.

The 3cc shot of the stuff you used is correct. That said we here are not fans of the stuff from International Boar Semen. We have a couple of different suppliers. If you call me and we talk I can give you a different place to buy stuff from.



Quote:
I seen that you use powdered is this better and if so where did you get it?


See answer above. Call me. 715-212-5640



Quote:
We gave the shot of pmsg deep in the muscle in hind quarter.


We have no idea what if any difference it makes, but we have always given the PMSG shot in the neck area.



Quote:
We didnt give them the biomycin is this really important to give?


Bio Mycin 200 is to control or prevent infection. We will be looking into possibly switching to a new drug though. We have been told that this drug maybe has more of a "sting" to it and that we should use a different drug that is easier on the animal.



Quote:
Last year doe had fawns at 190days,and 196 days.This year so far one had at 192days,and 198days there is still one out of the 5 that looks bigger than the other 2 left today is 199days.What is the longest you ever had one go that you aiid?


I have heard numbers of 190 days and 200 days as being the "magic numbers." Like any female having offspring they can come early or late. We have seen fawns come as early as 184 days here at our place. And as late as 203 days. These were verified by running DNA samples. I have heard of A/I fawns being as late as 213 days but that is just what I heard.



Quote:
All does were tranquilized when aiid what is the best way to postion them when aiing them this way?


I understand that not everyone has a handling chute and they need to dart their does to a/i then. I don't like this because that is 3 different times darting. I have a friend who has a chute system that allows him to put the CIDR's in and take them out, but not to do the semen insertion. (He uses the chute for doing his TB testing also) The chute floor doesn't drop out so to do the semen insertion would be impossible because the animal can still reach the floor and they move too much then. But at least the doe is only darted 1 time.

We have found that if the doe is on a surface about the height of a pickup truck bed the person doing the a/i can work better. We hold the doe so she is on her chest for the most part. Then if you hold her back legs in just the right way you can hold her so her rear is hanging off the edge of the surface, but NOT that there is down pressure on her abdomen. If there is pressure in this area it kinda squeezes her insides and makes if hard for the tech to see inside. Also pressure in that area could push the semen back out at you. This is hard to explain without seeing what I am talking about. Laurie and I have got it down pat and it works great.

I have heard some say they like to leave the doe laying tranq'ed in a head down position for a while to let the semen "flow forward" to get it in there better. They say it works great. I have no idea if this is true.



Quote:
So far it has been pretty cheap to do vet doesnt charge us anything and semen was like $50 per straw


It is nice you have a vet to help you with this. I will say sometimes you get what you pay for though. But if the vet has done cattle then he should know how to handle semen and thaw semen. The most critical part the tech doing the a/i needs to do is be gentle. Any blood or urine will kill the semen. Don't be forceful during the process. Don't injure the does inside.

(By the way a/i'ing does that are tranq'ed can be tricky because of the possibility that they will pee while tranq'ed)

I also wonder who collected the semen you are using. And how it has been handled since you used the same semen both years.



Quote:
Is there anything you think we could do different to up are sucess?


I have spoke with Dr Gourley who is one of the best in the industry. (I said one of the best, I know there are a couple of others who are just as good, and I would use any of them for our collections, and if we wanted to hire someone to do our a/i instead of Laurie)

But Doc listed off all the possible reason why a doe might not give fawns from an a/i breeding. When he was done I was wondering just how stupid I was to use semen that costs so much. Hearing all the issues that can happen before, during, and after the a/i process it is a wonder that we all get as good of results as we do in the industry.

That said, yes there are things you can do to get better results. There must be since your results aren't so hot.

What are those things? Super question! But without seeing your operation, and watching the whole process in action I am not sure exactly what you need to do.

I think too many people think their a/i program takes place during the 14 days the CIDR is in, plus however many hours after you pull the CIDR till you do the semen insertion. I feel that our program runs all year round. You want your does bodies in good shape. They have to be as free of parasites as possible. Stress levels are important. Make sure you pull your does from their fawns early enough so they can recover prior to the breeding season. And the list goes on and on.



Quote:
Both years there was one doe that toke both years?


That doe is your Golden BeeBee. Some does you can walk past them with a straw of semen and they get bred. I would like to think that her offspring may be the same way. You may want to consider upping the quality of semen for that one doe and see if you can make her your a/i program foundation doe.



This was only my thoughts on the subject. I am not a professional and never claimed to be.



John Swank please give us your thoughts on the questions above as well as you have been very successful with your programs.
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Old May 30th 2009, 07:50 AM   #13
 Jack's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Vaughn, MT 59487

Cervid: mule deer,whitetail,elk,goats,bighorn & stone sheep & Alaskan dahl sheep
I have for the last few years had a problem with birthing only single fawns from AI. I was talking it over with Roger and Laurie and they suggested to try GnRH which I did last year. This year my first AI doe only had one fawn. I thought I was going to have the same problem as I had the last few years. Well to make a long story short the rest of the AI does have had twins and triplets. Well Roger and Laurie you guys hit it right on the head, thanks.
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Old May 30th 2009, 08:12 AM   #14
 IndependenceRanch's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Edgar, WI

Cervid: deer
Hi Jack, Glad your having better luck.
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Old May 30th 2009, 01:37 PM   #15
 
  Apr 2009
  Sullivan,MO 63080
Hi,Roger I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to answer all of my questions. Let me know when would be a good time to call to get info on the pmsg didnt want to bother you on the weekend. Thank You,Brad
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