With a 4yr old turning 5 yr old stallion, how often does he have to be collected to ensure the best quality in sperm count and progressive motility? In other words, what are the "best practices" according to research/experience for how early in the season to begin collections (with the understanding it takes 60 days to make a sperm) and how often should he be collected in a week/month/season?
I ground collect myself, have a lab, and do all the lab work, etc., so I am not having to pay for each collection (except in terms of my blood, sweat, tears, and breeding supplies (uugghh!).
My stallion's count last season was consistently at 180 or more (sometimes over 200) with 80% progressive motility. At my vet's suggestion I was collecting religously every other day, whether necessary for business or not. He also said that I need to start this every other day regime at 60 days out from the first time I want to breed...in other words, get him producing sperm so that when I need it for breeding the count will be there. Frankly, I cannot imagine having to collect him every other day starting now in order to have a successful breeding season with him.
So, again, the question is, how early do you need to start and how often should you collect to ensure optimal sperm count and progressive motility? (p.s. this stallion does not live cover, so his only "action" is when he is collected for A.I., either shipped or on-farm.)
Thanks in advance for all responses. -- SH
Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 01:58 pm:
I've never heard such a thing. Stallions continually produce and reabsorb sperm (just like men). I've never heard that you have to collect them early to make them more fertile. I've always just started breeding when the first mare is ready. I haven't had any fertility problems.
Mostly, I'd say it depends on the stallion but every other day is really likely to be unnecessary. I collect everyone 60 days out from the season to see if there are any big problems like infections that need time to be cleared up. Then 30 days out once more, to be sure nothing new is there.
During the season, if one of the boys is not being used much, I'll probably collect once every few weeks just to look at the sample under the scope and see if things are ok. Also to keep their ground collection manners in tip top shape. Other than this, I've never found more frequent to do any good.
In fact, most stallions will get a bit fatigued with an every other day collection schedule. Nothing major, but I find volume goes down a bit and it can take a bit more work for each collection versus once a week or so. This does vary by stallion, of course.
I don't want to throw another wrench into the discussion but is it really suggested that you should collect 60 days prior to the breeding season?
Something to think about:
From what I learned at the last Equine Reproduction Course is that if you start breeding your stallion early in the year that he will not last to late in the breeding season. For example: If you start breeding your breeding season in Feb then you stallion may last until May or June. If you start breeding your stallion in May then he will last until August or Sept. This is just a for instance you can have any variation in here but I learned that stallions are not like mares in the fact that you can start them seasoning early and they will cycle to late in the year. If you move a stallions breeding start up then you move his whole breeding season up. I wonder if doing a few collection 60 days prior to breeding actually affects that as well. It would certainly put a damper on some peoples breedings seasons.
Jos Posted From: 220.127.116.11
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 09:41 pm:
Not sure what equine reproduction course is teaching that, but I would be interested to know where they got their research validated...
There is no correlation between usage and sperm production. These are stallions producing sperm, not mares producing milk. With a mare, the more she is milked by the foal, the more milk she will produce - this does no apply to stallions!
The stimulus for increased daily sperm output is light - length of day (or combination of day and artificial light). The stallion - like the mare - is a seasonal breeder. Unlike the mare he does produce sperm year-round (while 85% of mares "shut down" in the winter), but his daily sperm output is greatest in the height of the breeding season - which is June... when the day length is longest.
Now - if you put the stallion "under lights", just as you can a mare, THAT will affect the "end" of the breeding season, as the stallion has in his mind a fixed duration of breeding season, but his trigger for the start of the breeding season is increased light duration, not being collected for the first time!!
So - continue to collect stallions 60 days in advance of the breeding season to perform pre-breeding season evaluations as outlined above. It is a sensible and ethical practice.
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