Swine AI Simplified

Some have asked about AI. Here is a brief explanation of the supplies and procedure.

Supplies you will need:

  • 2 doses semen
  • 2 catheters
  • 1 tube non-spermicidal lube
  • Slightly wet/damp clean rag (no detergents or cleaners)

First step, if you are considering AI of your sow(s) or gilt(s), is to determine when their next heat will occur. You’ll have to observe them every day looking for signs of the onset of heat. Once signs of heat begin showing try putting back pressure on the pig with the palms of your hands as if the boar were mounting. If the pig “locks up” (stands rigid) she is in standing heat. Mark that day on a calendar. Do this procedure again to determine the number of days between standing heats. This is usually between 18 and 21 days. When the heat cycle is determined AI supplies can be ordered.

Ordering of the semen and supplies is done so that they arrive the day of expected heat or 1-3 days ahead. Just call the boar stud and let them know when the pig is expected to be in heat and they can determine the best delivery date.  Semen is shipped fresh not frozen, usually. Frozen swine semen loses about 50% of it’s motility compared to about 10% in fresh semen. Fresh semen will be viable for about 9 days if handled and stored properly. Keep the container the semen arrived in closed until ready for use. Store the container in a cool place, 61-65 F, 63 F is ideal. Gently turn the container over once each day to keep fresh extender around the spermatozoa.

When the day of insemination arrives and you’ve checked that the pig is in heat take one dose of semen, one catheter, lubricant and damp clean rag to the pig. Your job is to imitate the boar so she will stand and receive the AI. This may include back pressure, nudging flanks or vulva area and messaging udders.

First remove any debris from and near the vulva with the clean wet rag (no soap or cleaners, water only). Next put a generous amount of lubricant on the end of the catheter but do not cover the opening. Insert the catheter into the vulva at a slightly upward angle so you don’t hit the urethra. Push the catheter in until you feel some resistance and a little more. This will be 6 -12 inches depending on the size of the sow. The catheter will pop into place. Give a slight tug on the catheter. You should feel resistance again and the catheter should spring back in place. With the catheter inserted break the end off of the dose of semen. Turn the end of the catheter upward and insert the tip of the dose into end of the catheter. Gently and slowly give the dose bottle a squeeze only until the semen starts flowing into the sow. From this point back pressure, nudging flanks or vulva area and messaging udders may be used to keep her stimulated. During this time, she will have contractions to suck the semen out of the bottle. As the bottle collapses you may need to remove it and reinsert it to relieve some vacuum. Squeeze the bottle to start again.

When the bottle is empty or near empty leave the catheter raised for a minute. It’s now time to remove the catheter. Gently pull the catheter out. If the bottle is almost but not quite empty that’s ok. Also, some semen may run back out of the vulva, there shouldn’t be much.

Eighteen to 24 hrs. later the second dose will be administered.

For more information email: jmyers@watchtv.net
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