If you are interested in a real increase in herd productivity, then artificial insemination of cows and heifers is exactly what you need. Breeding cattle in the old-fashioned way can be at home. In medium and especially large farms, calving needs to be clearly planned. Let's take a closer look at what is so good artificial methods of fertilization of cows, what they are, and what are the disadvantages. And for practitioners, we have prepared instructions for the three most popular ways.
What benefits artificial method
A good sire is deservedly considered one of the components of the success of any farm. But no matter how hard you try, a bull is a living creature, it gets tired and a relatively small number of cows can be seeded in a day. Plus, it has long been proven that the total amount of sperm that the bull spends on fertilization of a cow is only 5%. The remaining 95% is wasted.
With artificial insemination of cows with valuable sperm collected in advance, it is possible to inseminate up to several tens or even hundreds of cows per day. And most importantly, it is done systematically, on a certain day and time. With this approach, even the bull does not need to contain. It is enough to buy his frozen sperm, which is very beneficial for small farms.
With natural fertilization, there is still such an unpleasant moment as diseases that can be transmitted through sexual contact. Artificial insemination for 99% excludes infection, 1% is charged to negligent specialists and unsanitary conditions.
To get a healthy calf, it is not enough just to buy quality material from some bull-record holder. Here time is still important when seeding a cow. In primiparous cows, age must be considered. The fact is that in the female half of cattle puberty occurs at about 7-10 months of life. Specific dates depend on the breed and quality of feed.
But it is impossible to allow a bull to a young immature calf, as well as to perform artificial insemination. The animal's body is still growing. If the heifer becomes pregnant, the formation of the organism will take place simultaneously with the growth of the calf in the womb. The result will be a spoiled cow with heavy deliveries and low yields, plus underdeveloped offspring. The first mating can be planned at the age of 1.5 to 2 years old with a heifer weight of at least 65-70% of the total weight of an adult cow.
As for experienced cows, there are no special restrictions. As a rule, after giving birth in healthy cows, the cycle and hormonal balance return to normal within a month. Theoretically, pairing can be carried out at the very first hunt, but experts recommend postponing the process for 2 or 3 cycles. Although this is a controversial issue and there is no consensus.
The cycle structure of cows
By the time the cycle in cows lasts about 3 weeks and is divided into 3 stages - arousal, inhibition and stability. In this case, we are interested in the stage of arousal, better known as estrus, which in turn is also divided into 3 stages.
It is caused by an increase in the blood level of estrogen as a result of the growth and maturation of the follicles. This hormonal surge activates the uterus and causes the release of a secret that comes out through swollen vaginal lips. The cow is excited, moves a lot, in some cases the appetite disappears.
About a day after the start of heat, the cows begin hunting. The main sign of hunting is considered a fading reflex. When the bull approaches the cow, it stops and waits motionlessly for mating. Some cows during the hunt become deliberately affectionate and kind.
Ovulation occurs by the middle or the end of the hunt and is diagnosed by pink or brown discharge. The egg cell leaves the follicle and is ready for "reunion" with the sperm cell. In this state, the cow is up to 20 hours. With both natural and artificial insemination, this is the ideal time for fertilization.
Organization of the insemination process
Proper organization of artificial insemination takes at least a third of the time in the process of successful fertilization. According to the approved standards, a zootechnician or a veterinarian should do this. But now many educational institutions organize courses where interested breeders can learn the details of the process.
Of course, it is better to fertilize cows at specialized stations. But what if there is no such station nearby? It turns out that, if desired, it is not difficult to equip houses. Moreover, the breeders say that the insemination of cows on their own farm results much higher.
The main premises are the laboratory, washing room and playpen. The laboratory stores a stock of sperm, as well as a microscope and reagents to determine its quality. Disinfection of tools and equipment takes place in the washing room. And on the arena set machine for fixing cows.
There are several methods of artificial insemination of cows, but only 3 are massively used:
Cervix in translation means the cervix, respectively, the cervical method of insemination of a cow means the delivery of sperm to the cervix.
Each method is good in its own way and then it will be discussed how to apply them correctly.
Insemination by the manocervical method
You will need a vial for sperm, a catheter for this vial and deep, up to 80 cm, rubber gloves. Disposable devices are removed from the packaging immediately before use, and reusable equipment is sterilized and "fried" under an ultraviolet lamp.
A separate instrument set is prepared for each session, and the “conveyor” fertilization of several cows with one instrument set without intermediate disinfection is not allowed.
Work only in deep gloves. First you need to disinfect the external part of the genital organs of the cow and, having inserted the hand into the vagina, check the opening of the uterus. If the uterus is opened, the neck is massaged for additional 2 minutes.
Next we connect the vial with the sperm to the catheter, insert it into the uterine canal by about 70 mm and inject sperm inside. We take out the arm carefully, because if the cow is hurt, then the uterus will involuntarily contract and throw away the sperm.
Pros and cons of the manocervical method
On the one hand, the manocervical method is perhaps the simplest and cheapest. And on the other hand, he is considered the most controversial. The pros and cons here are equally divided.
The indisputable advantage is the possibility of using different tools. In addition to a catheter with an ampoule, zoo syringes, specialized SCHO-3 syringes, and even pipettes are suitable for delivering sperm to their destination. The main thing is that the tool is clean. There are also no special requirements for the packaging of sperm itself.
Opponents of the method indicate that it is not suitable for primipara female with narrow vagina.
According to statistics, the safety technique is usually violated precisely by the manocervical method of fertilization. A cow that is inseminated by negligence is often infected by the workers themselves.
And, finally, there is the largest number of involuntary emissions of semen from the uterus. To calm the cow, the cow should be kept in the machine for about 2 hours, which is often neglected.
Insemination by the visocervical method
The prefix "viso" means visual control over the process. Therefore, it uses a vaginal speculum with illumination. The sperm is injected with a long catheter with a syringe.
In addition, it is necessary to prepare 4 glass containers. Three of them are filled with a warm solution of sodium chloride (1%), and the fourth - with medical alcohol. All containers are lined up in a row, and a jar of alcohol is always placed second.
Before insertion into the vagina, the entire instrument is first immersed in the first jar of sodium chloride. Then it is disinfected in alcohol, and then it passes through 2 and 3 jars with the same sodium chloride.
Outside, the vagina is disinfected with a warm solution of furatsilina. After that a mirror is introduced and opened into it. When the zootechnician visually sees the opened cervix, a catheter is inserted into it for 70 mm and sperm is injected. Then the catheter is removed, and behind it - a mirror.
The method is good, but requires professionalism. Too great a risk to inflict a wound on the animal vaginal speculum.
Insemination by rectocervical method
Compared with the previous two, the rectocervical method is considered the most reliable and efficient. The probability of successful fertilization here reaches 80%. The point is that at the beginning the zootechnician fixes the cervix with a hand through the rectum, and then inserts a catheter into it through the vagina and injects sperm.
For the operation it is necessary to prepare deep gloves and a special gel for lubricating these gloves. You will also need a two-cube syringe or special ampoules and a long catheter. In this case, the entire instrument is disposable.
Initially, the zootechnician enters the hand into the rectum and through its wall after a light massage fixes the cervix. The neck is fixed by two fingers, second and third, and the entrance to the canal is controlled with the thumb. After that, a catheter is inserted through the vagina and a sperm is injected.
An indispensable condition of this method is the complete relaxation of the animal. If the walls of the rectum are strained, then the probability of injury is high. In addition, under stress, the cervix is compressed and the folds in the neck can be mixed up with its entrance, respectively, the sperm will go to the wrong address. In terms of labor costs, the method is the hardest, but it is quick and effective.
There is still a way to fertilize cows with inseminated eggs, that is, ready-made embryos. The technology partly resembles artificial insemination, it is not the sperm that is introduced into the mother’s womb, but the fertilized embryo. During transplantation, the problem of marriage is removed almost completely. Donors are proven, healthy cows with high rates of productivity.
By administering hormonal drugs, ovulation is artificially induced in animals. After that, they are inseminated several times and fertilized eggs are washed out using a special technology. Next, the embryos are sorted and placed in other cows, which act as surrogate mothers. This procedure is well suited for large individuals, since a large cow can bear any fruit, and a small cow, only a small one.
But this technology is possible only in breeding farms, where there are highly qualified specialists and the appropriate equipment. Simple breeders buy frozen embryos and transplant them themselves into cows using any of the 3 insemination techniques.
Definition of pregnancy
After artificial insemination, cows must be given rest, and in comfortable conditions and with good nutrition. At this stage, any stress or catarrhal disease can cause pregnancy failure.
When the insemination procedure is over and the cow is identified in the pen so that she calms down and gains strength, the blood can flow out of the vagina. This usually occurs within 2 hours after the procedure. Inexperienced breeders take this incident as a guarantee of pregnancy. But this is not so, the blood indicates an attempt at fertilization, but it does not guarantee pregnancy.
It is possible to diagnose pregnancy for 100% only in 3 weeks. But again, the cow passes 3 checks. First, the absence of regular heat. Secondly, the veterinarian should fix the pregnancy during a rectal-vaginal examination. And third, a blood test is taken from the cows. A serious jump in progesterone in the blood will be the latest evidence of cow pregnancy.
Modern methods of artificial insemination of cows allow you to accurately plan the appearance of offspring at the right time. Fertilization cows - although it is important, but still only part of the work. To systematize, and most importantly, predict an increase in livestock and, as a result, profit, it is possible to keep a calendar for calving cows.
These calendars have special tables. Knowing the exact date of insemination, you can calculate the approximate date of delivery and, more importantly, find out the date of the month when the cow should start. Therefore, it is difficult to achieve success without keeping such documentation.
Artificial insemination of cows is, of course, a serious matter, but still very real to be learned by a simple breeder.
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