Artificial Insemination (AI)

Almost a year ago, we attended our first Artificial Insemination (AI) class. At that time it was only a thought for the future. We asked around to find if anyone was doing AI in our area: we asked our Vet, the Coop, the County Extension Center - no one knew of anyone doing AI on goats in the area. Well we heard of a lady that did sheep; the Vet knew several people who did cows and horses; but not goat folk. We did hear that a lady a couple of Counties away did AI on her diary goats. So AI sorta went on the back burner.

In the fall of 2002, we lost what we though would be our herd sire of the future. He was dead and gone and we had nothing of his. Well we did have one of his offspring… a cute doeling born March 2003. The more we though and the more we talked to people in the goat business, we found that we should insure our Bucks - take out some insurance if we lost them, we would not loose all of them.

Life went on; we purchased a buck, Enhancer II from Cookville, TN, a good looking little dude. Hercules was born on the place, out of one of our does. Several folks suggested we collect our bucks. We talked to the Robert Spencer of Alabama A&M University’s Small Farms Research Center and decided collecting our bucks would be a good risk management tool, and Robert had room in his nitrogen tank. So following the Collection, we had 89 straws in the Spencer tank.

I looked for a tank in town, asked at the Coop, the Extension center, nothing. We had looked at buying a new tank but really had not decided. One night we were on line looking at Superior Semen Works, the Masterman’s web site and noticed they sold semen they had collected. We spotted a couple of bucks we would like to use. But, we had no tank and didn’t have an idea where to go.

Then from out of the blue, we heard that Dr. Maria Browning, formerly of Tennessee State University Goat Specialist, was doing AI training. We contacted her husband but she had nothing going on at the time.

A few weeks later, we came home early and on the answering machine was a massage from Dr. Richard Browning, Maria’s husband. They were putting on an AI class; it was full, but our names were on the list of attendee. The AI class was to be in a neighboring town the next day, 8 am Saturday morning. We were up and gone, looking forward to the class. When we arrived, we learned that only one other couple had shown up for the class.

The first part of the class was a ground school. We were instructed on the inter-working of a goat, both male and female. Goat Reproduction Management. We had had the freshman class, and probably during the Collection the sophomore level class. Well, we were in Graduate school. We, Pat and I and the other couple, had the opportunity to ask as many ‘dumb’ questions as could be; and Maria and Richard had answers and gave us time to absorb the answers before moving on.

In the afternoon, we looked at the female goat reproduction system from some slaughtered animals. We were given the opportunity to insert the insemination gun with a French point needle into the training aid to feel what it was like for the needle point to pass through the rings of the Cervix. Then real goats were brought in. We were able to insert the speculums, pen light and take a look at the cervix. Maria spent time showing us exactly what to look for and where to insert the insemination gun. I must have done three or four does. Oh, we were also shown how to handle the straws, remove them from the tank, check to insure we have the correct straw, warm them up, cut the tips, insert them into the gun and insert them in a does. On the way home, we felt comfortable about this AI stuff.

A few weeks later, we went to Heart of Dixie Boer Goat Field Day, 2004. Jackie Edwards was there and talked about their AI class in Stephenville TX. On the way home we decided that we want to do this AI.

We called the Masterman’s and placed our order for the tank, AI kit, and some semen. They agreed to deliver it on their way from New Hampshire to the ABGA show in Louisiana. On the side of Interstate 65 and US 64, I took possession of our new tank, AI kit, and the straws we purchased. We were ready to do the AI.

We inserted CIDRs in four goats, then another four, a week later. All of these would be trial runs. We would inseminate each of the does with Hercules’s semen then turn them out with Hercules for breeding. Failure proof.

Failure proof bull….. We pulled the CIDRs, gave the Lutalyse, and waited for the does to go into heat. We walked Hercules through the pen; of the four, he only showed interested in two. Ok, the classes were great, but until you have that first doe on a stand and you are the one that is going to inseminate her… Well, it was an experience. I followed the step-by-step procedures that we had gotten from Maria, and other sources. Hercules may have been interested, but I could not find a ‘rose bud.’ We put her back in the pen and get our second goat. Followed the steps and, well, I think I found that ‘rose bud.’ We determined which canister, cane and goblet had Hercules straws, removed a straw, thawed the straw in our brand new thaw tank, cut the straw, loaded into our brand new inseminate gun with French needle, and got ready for to insert it into the doe. Well, with all of the possibility for things to go wrong, we had success. Well if success is placing the semen, through the cervix into the uterus, we had success with our second doe.

The third does was not in heat or we missed her cycle and also on for the fourth. One of four. We pulled our second group of CIDRs, gave shots and watched better this time. We paraded the buck thought the pen a couple of time. At 9 pm, we had a doe in heat.

This time, of the four, we were able to inseminate two.

Our Artificial Insemination was not a failure, but also not the success we had dreamed. With additional practice, I think it will become an important part of our reproduction management. Maybe another class…..

Since we had a difficult time finding a how-to precedure for doing AI, we have written step-by-step procedure for performing AI. Some of the information came for the various classes we have attended, and some of the information came from our first-hand experiences.

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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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