Superior Semen Works

21-22 November 2004

After a lot of negotiation, we finally got a date from Geoff and Nancy Masterman of Superior Semen Works, Milton, New Hampshire for our Artificial Insemination (AI) Class and Semen Collection. We put the information out by e-mail, e-groups, on our web site, and published posters inviting folk to the AI Class and letting them know about the collection. One of the people we notified, Karen Jackson, goat specialist at our local University of Tennessee Extension Office, wrote an article that appeared in the local newspaper, The Advocate.

As soon as we penned down the date, we had to program tease does for the class and for the collection. In addition to the tease does, we had talked to Gregg about AIing a couple of our does with some of the semen they had collected since we had seen them last. CIDRs went into eights does - four does to be AIed and the other four for tease does. Other tease does would be brought into standing heat using Lutalyse with no CIDR. Things were looking good.

In addition, a dozen fresh (within a week) unrefrigerated eggs are required. The egg yokes are used in the freezing of the semen. After several attempts, we found a source for the eggs.

A week before our collection date we thought we would have eight bucks to collect on Monday the 22 of November and 14 to 16 people to attend the AI Class. All was well.

Starting that week we began to get calls from folks who had either had a failure at an earlier attempt to collect or had missed a previous collection or could not come to the Monday collection. The Mastermans, after conferring with us, told several folks they would collect their buck on Sunday afternoon – either before or after the class.

So here we were, the AI Class to began at 1 pm on Sunday, with the Mastermans arriving at the collection site from Fayetteville, TN, at 11 am on Sunday morning.

Pat’s Dad and Mom, where the collection was held, would not be available until after 11 a.m. on Sunday nor would we. I did mention to her Dad where I though the Mastermans should set up. When we arrived at 11 a.m., the Mastermans’ camper trailer was in location, and two groups were there with bucks to be collected. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

On Friday the 19th of November, we pulled four CIDRs at 12 a.m. and 2 at 6 p.m. and 2 more the morning of the 20th of November. In addition, we gave Lutalyse shots to 3 does who had CIDRs and three does we had not CIDRed. We added our tease buck, Fred, to the group, and he has a ball. Fred, our tease, had a vasectomy performed by our vet, Dr. Wyatt Galbraith, in July 2004 and tested to insure he was safe to be used as a tease in September 2004. On Saturday afternoon, we moved all but three does to the trailer along with the tease buck. Those three does were given a shot of Lutalyse (being programmed to use on Monday). We hauled the entire group to the collection site early Sunday morning and parked the trailer so we could take the does, as required, to the class room, a metal carport.

We did not haul our bucks to be collection to the site even though originally our buck were to be collected late Sunday afternoon. With all the new arrivals, ours would be done on Monday.

It took about an hour to get everything going. Geoff and Nancy need electrical connection from two different breakers but straight 110 electric. While this was going on, Nancy set up the travel trailer from living quarters to working area.

Geoff had a couple of bucks brought back to the collection area, and the collection began. Our first doe was ready and was placed in the collection stand. The first buck was collected the first time and then a second time. The second buck, a RRD Remington son, did not like the tease. She was small and not something he was interested in. So we brought out another does, then another, and finally we brought out Kattie. It was love at first sight. He was collected, then collected again. After a discussion, and a little horse trading, it was decided that instead of us buying a couple of his straws, we would get her naturally bred after he had a chance to “recover.” Kattie was bred a couple of time around 4 p.m.

Two buck from Alabama were collected; however, the bigger buck had an infection, and the sperm were not swimming really good. Geoff decided the sperm would not be frozen. The buck needs medication to get him back at the top of his game.

A senior Myotonic buck from Mississippi that had been physically unable to perform to the top of his game a couple of week earlier had been medicated for his arthritis – and had bred the myotonic tease doe on the trip to Tennessee – was collected even though the quantity of the semen was less than the owners would have liked.

Once the semen is collected, it is analyzed under a microscope and a machine to determine the quantity and quality, density and viability, before determining if it should be saved. Also the volume is determined … the number of straws for that attempt. If all is well and the owner wants more straws, a second or third collection is affected. Following each collection, the analysis is preformed.

Because of the number of bucks collected on Sunday and because some of the owners did not make it to the collection site on time, the AI class did not start until 2:3o p.m. 33 people attended the class. The Mastermans’ class is more mechanical than other classes I have attended. Some I have attended talk about the reproductive system of the doe, the timing of the AI, and what causes the timing to be correct; but Geoff’s class was more concerned with the AI procedure itself. All of the reproductive stuff is suppose to have been accomplished before getting to this point. He talks about the equipment required and where and how to place the semen where it will do the job.

Other than the class starting later than planned, all the attendees seemed to get a lot out of the class – at least a better understanding of the process, to include the collection phase. Everyone had the opportunity to examine all the equipment used as well as the opportunity to examine Dolly, our non-volunteer doe. While Dolly would have preferred to be anywhere except where she was, she patiently stood on that stand for hours waiting for everyone to get their chance. Finally, Geoff AIed her, using semen from KWM’s Enhancer II who was collected last fall – about six months before we sold him.

While Geoff was teaching the class, Nancy was preparing straws for semen by putting the name of the buck, registration number, date collected, etc., on each tiny straw.

Following Dolly, I brought out Quartz then Panna. Geoff AIed both with straws from RRD RS14 Remington’s Hot Shot, an *Ennobled* RRD Remington son. Finally Betsy was put on the stand; however, Betsy was not ready. Geoff thought she should be ready to AI on Monday. We had programmed five does to be used as teases for the collection for Monday and had Brandy ready, we hoped, to be AI.

We returned the AIed does to the farm and prepared for Monday. We unloaded the AIed does, fed the herd, dogs, cats and rabbits, loaded the does to be used for Monday, and returned to the Hillhouse place. Geoff and Nancy worked long after everyone had left - labeling, filling, and freezing straws. By 9 p.m. the first two bucks’ semen was frozen and in the tank. We took the chance to offer food to the Mastermans - chicken stew that had been cooking all day. They then returned to their trailer, working long into the night labeling, filling and freezing semen straws. We dropped the goat trailer and headed home.

At 7:30 a.m. we returned to the in-laws. Since everyone had been told the collection would start at 8 a.m. and since so many people had arrived early on Sunday, I expected there to be trailers in the yard with bucks ready to go. But no bucks were there. The Mastermans continued to work on getting the Sunday straws ready. A straw from each buck was unfrozen to test for motility.

At 9 a.m., we decided I should go get my bucks and bring them out. I returned at 9:30 a.m. with Hercules, Lucky, and Nickodemus. When we returned, a doe was in the collection stand and a buck was being collected.

The next buck up was Bingo’s Superman, a very big dude. After his first collection, the doe did not capture his attention. We swapped does. Eventually I went through all of my does. None were in standing heat (although many of the bucks didn’t seem to mind). I got worried. Geoff had told us about a couple of his stops where no does were in heat. Finally, Mark Lucus and Barry Quillan show up with their bucks. Just before leaving home they discovered a does in standing heat and put her on the trailer. If it had not been for her, I’m sure the day would have been seriously different.

She was ready, and the bucks to be collected knew it. We collected four Boer bucks, two Nubian bucks, my Hercules, then two other Boer bucks. Finally it was Lucky’s turn; we got 20 straws. Nickodemus was the last buck. He was young; but since we lost his sister the week before, poisoned by blue-green algae, we wanted to get his semen collected. Unfortunately, Nick was too young, did not give us the volume or concentration needed to freeze.

With all the bucks collected, Geoff and Nancy went to work, labeling, analyzing, freezing, etc. Geoff did take a break and AIed Betsy with a straw from FSE 3061 Mayo, a Mojo Magic son, and attempted to AI Brandy. Brandy was not ready, but Geoff thought if the tease and Brandy were left over night, well, we might have a chance on Tuesday morning.

We moved Brandy and the tease, Fred, to a holding pen, returned the balance of our goats to the farm, fed, and returned to the in laws’. At 8:30 pm we finally talked Geoff and Nancy into taking a food break. We took them to our favorite Leoma restaurant.

At supper, Geoff stated that some people who host collections required two straws from any buck collected at the collection be given to the host for hosting the collection. Sure wish we had known that going in!! After a relaxing meal, they went back to work and we went home.

On Tuesday morning, 7:30 a.m., we attempted to AI Brandy; but she was still not ready. We had lutalysed her in an attempt to short cycle her, but she did not come into estrus. We purchased some ‘good stuff’ semen from Geoff for Brandy; we determined we would AI her when she comes back in to heat naturally.

By the time we got there, Geoff and Nancy had placed the semen of the various bucks into their respective storage tanks and were still working. Finally, Geoff and Nancy said goodbye and got on the road to Louisiana. We were not trying to run them off, it was just that they had such a long drive for Tuesday.

All in all, hosting the AI Class and Buck Collection was great fun. The Monday participants particularly seemed to like their bar-b-qued goat sandwiches. If all goes well, we will be honored to host another collection next year.

On Sunday afternoon, November 28, Brandy was flagging away; so we brought in the tease buck, Fred, who indicated she was ready. We moved Brandy to the AI/grooming stand. I checked to see if she was ready, and she was. We retrieved the purchased straw from the tank, BNZ Zanadu, and with little difficulty, inseminated Brandy.

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Ken and Pat Motes
Clear Creek Farms
33 South Clear Creek Road
Fall River, Tennessee 38468
Phone: (931) 852-2167
Fax: (931) 852-2168

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