Having another discussion and wondering if anyone knows of any articles online that discuss the levels of bacteria present of pasture breeding stallion penis' vs. in hand/live cover breeding stallion penis'.
You and I know that washing a stallion before breeding is the best bet these folks are bound and determined that "nature intended" stallions to breed by pasture. I'd like to provide scientific data on the "gross factor" if possible.
Amanda: Sorry, don't know of any articles regarding that. Personally, I pasture breed so I'm probably NOT the person you want to prove your point with. LOL! I maintain my boy on a regular basis and I personally have never had any issues with bacterial infections due to the fact that he is breeding via "pasture". He is cleaned prior to being turned out daily with mares in the pasture so I can't see how that would be any different than cleaning them and holding onto a lead rope with them. My mares are never in heat at the same time so even though I am pasture breeding, I know who's in heat and who's not. Those that are not won't let him attempt breeding anyway and since he's cleaned daily during heat turnouts, there's no risk to spreading infection from mare to mare with regard to bacteria anyway.
I would suppose that even with AI if not done in a safe and sanitary manner, you could still run into bacterial infection risks. I think its more of a management issue perhaps than a method issue.
Sometimes there just isn't any hard data to offer the "doubting Thomases" of the world... Plain good old common sense really isn't that common at times, and this is probably one of them. When I run into a situation like that, I reach a point where I decide it's not worth arguing with the person, and let them carry on in their own uneducated way, while I do it my way. In the long run, I will have more pregnancies than they do...
Remember - "You can lead an ass to water, but you can't make it think...!"
Jos I am stunned reading your reply to this subject.
I never thought of you as a do it my way or you are uneducated kind of teacher. I have been to a seminar of yours and have been reading your site for years.
I know of studies done at both Iowa state and Colorado State comparing breeding methods and conception rates, I can find that data if you like? I don't know if any "study" has been done about bacteria levels in each scenario though.
Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - 01:47 am:
I'm not quite sure if I understand your observation, or perhaps you misunderstand mine...
I am always happy - nay, eager - to impart knowledge that I have been fortunate enough to obtain from others willing to share over the years, and I suspect that if you have attended one of our courses you are likely to have heard me say something on the lines of "there is no one way to do anything in the breeding shed", so I am a little puzzled over your observation about me being "a do it my way or you are uneducated kind of teacher...
There does come a time when common sense needs to prevail, and to have someone arguing the point that a cleaned penis does not have fewer bacteria than an uncleaned penis - as the original poster is unfortunate enough to be facing - is I think an example of that. Typically when one is unfortunate enough to encounter someone that is arguing a subject such as that, and demanding research to back up the claim, it makes more sense to accept that they are happy enough with their own method, and are preparing to argue the point ad infinitum than it does to stand there and argue the point back. I have the same feelings when I encounter a breeder who insists that AI does not allow "the best sperm" to achieve fertilization and therefore live cover must be the only technique used...
I have all the patience in the world for the uneducated person genuinely seeking information, or even the person that has been misled and is willing to listen - heck I have been in both of those conditions myself many times in the past, and I am sure will be in the future as well! Where I lose patience is the person who is not willing to use either common sense or remain an open book for learning more - something that I am distressed, Lauren S, that you appear to be suggesting is my state, and which I hope with this explanation you now understand was not my intention to present.
As far as the original question... as noted above, and to paraphrase Freud, "Sometimes a dirty unwashed penis is just a dirty penis"...
One point I will add, lest it be overlooked, and that is that washing the penis with anything but water (in most cases preferably warm) is likely to increase bacterial presence. Use of cleansing agents such as Betadine, Chlorhexidine or even soap has been shown to increase the presence of opportunistic pathogens 24-48 hours later. That has been well researched, but as I am on the road at the moment I do not have access to my books and Journals and can't cite the research off the top of my head, but I suspect that if you look at publications in the late 1970's that were around at the time of the CEM outbreak in KY, you should find the research.
Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - 08:08 am:
Thanks Jos, I guess lack of sleep and being on the road myself clouded my eyes
I thought you were saying pasture breeders were uneducated. The way I read Amanda's post was that she was anti-pasture breeding and was looking for scientific proof to the "dirtyness" to back her argument.
I am sorry Jos, and you are right I heard and read many many times from you there is no one way. Which is why I guess I misread your post as being odd from you Accept my appologies please!!
I wholeheartedly agree with you about people who do not see all the possibilities and have a one track mind They can be irritating.
Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - 08:18 am:
Here's the deal, at point blank range....the man can have all the education in the world and still be an idiot! All he needs to know for "gross factor" he can study himself. Ask him to go out and have sex with a couple of different women, then roll in the dirt. Then a day later (without showering) go have sex with his wife (or whoever). Think she won't get an infection?!?! I bet she does....she's just been pasture bred. you've seen a stallion's unwashed penis, yuck. It even smells ridden with bacteria...and there's no way in the world anyone with common sense would say, (when comparing a washed and unwashed penis) "Well, I bet that crusty one has less bacteria than the shiny one!"
Of course "nature intended" for them to pasture breed...they were wild animals at one time! But when man stepped in to tame them, and care for them, that all changed, and there is no longer any reason to have bacterial related problems in the breeding horse. Washing is just a precaution...it helps minimize the chance of bacterial infection, therefore raising the chances of a healthy successful pregnancy. There is a wealth of information on breeding and handling...none of which is what "nature intended"...but it is there to learn from, and to help us be better breeders/handlers. And I'm positive that there is a study out there somewhere that states that a dirty penis has more bacteria than a washed one! Even if there isn't.....what difference does it make?! Anybody with any common sense knows!
Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - 08:21 am:
And I am with Bobbi....it has nothing to do with whether or not they're pasture bred or bred on the end of a rope in hand....it has everything to do with whether or not the penis is clean or dirty. You can collect a dirty stallion by hand, and AI a dirty mare....but why would you want to?!
Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - 10:56 am:
This is an EXCELLENT discussion! I must admit, when I first read JOS's response, I was a bit taken aback as well. I thought he was slamming pasture breeding/live cover methods. (I apologize for even thinking that JOS, now that I realize your response was directed towards the "let nature do its own thing and not intervene with sanitary methods...makes more sense now!)
Diana, I really do think that it is a breeding management issue and not necessarily just a methodology issue. I appreciate the support.
Certainly, in a well run specialized breeding arena, such as JOS, using AI and all the "healthy mare" concepts, the reduction for anything to go wrong is much better than my own personal method of pasture breeding with a clean stallion and clean mare. The best way for those of us on a small scale with no other breeding options is to stay as educated as possible, maintain a clean operation as much as possible, and have a great veterinarian who assists you in maintaining the health of your horses; both mares and stallion.
When I pasture breed my stallion, he is only turned out for several hours with a mare in heat. He is washed with warm water in the morning prior to being turned out. The mare is likewise. That's AFTER my veterinarian gives everyone a clean bill of health and the go-ahead. Does it guarantee that I will have a bacteria free breeding? Nope. But it certainly reduces the chance by just taking the time to run a conscientious program. Twice a year, during non-breeding periods, he is anesthetized and cleaned by my veterinarian with a cleaning solution. Doea he get bacteria, oh I'm sure of it. Do I do the best I can to minimize infection, oh I'm sure of it, can I totally eliminate it, nope. But, then again, I'm breeding my stock only at this point because I'm not willing to take the risk with other's mares or other's mares risk to my breeding program. With our cattle and hogs, we call that a closed breeding herd, I assume that it is termed the same for horses. However, I am pleased to say that in the two years I've owned "Mr. Never Handled & Crazy Stallion" he has really come around after being worked with, never thought I'd get him where he is today. My veterinarian and I just recently talked about the fact that he has become soooo much easier to handle that perhaps AI will become a reality in our future and I can offer to breed outside mares.
My stallion does a great job in the pasture breeding style but, its because he knows the procedure and he knows these mares; and the mares know him. By turning them out together to breed "naturally" I find for my own personal situation that they settle easy; but they KNOW each other. After the first 5 minutes of re-introduction, everyone is down to doing business and then they calmly graze side by side for a few hours. It works for me and mine because after everyone is confirmed prego, they live together up until two months prior to foaling. My stallion is treated as if he were a gelding. Penis, clean or dirty, when its not wanted, is policed quite well by my mares. LOL!
Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - 12:48 pm:
I absolutely respect the fact that JOS can hop on, say his piece, then back out gracefully.... WE, however, are like a bunch of pit bulls on a lamb, and can't let go until we've said all we've got to say....then some! Good job, Jos, how very professional of you...
Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - 01:05 pm:
You are all correct in your re-evaluation of my original post, that I was not referencing pasture breeding at all! However, since you raised the point...
I think anyone that has attended our course will be aware that I am not in favour of pasture breeding - although I do not rail on about it incessantly, and mention it only very briefly - for the very simple reason that I have seen too many injured animals - both stallions and mares - as a result of the use of the practice. I have one slide that I use in the presentation that shows the end of a pony's penis with a serious cut in it that also has maggots in it - all as a result of pasture breeding. The cut was a tail-hair cut (as tail bandages are generally not used in pasture breeding), and as the whole process was unmonitored (as is most pasture breeding), nobody was aware of the injury and it became infected and maggot-ridden (the good news was the maggots were cleaning the area, the bad new was that they were there in the first place!).
I have euthanized both stallions and mares that have had broken legs as a result of pasture breeding. I have seen wounds requiring many sutures as a result of pasture breeding.
I have heard many times "well something like that has never happened to us", but my feeling is that it only has to happen once, and once is too often...
So yes - I am opposed to pasture breeding, but I am not derogatory toward those that practice it, nor do I think them necessarily "uneducated". But I do fear for their horse's wellbeing somewhat... Please do consider the risks...
Sorry to blow your respect of my ability to back out Diana - I posted this at about the same time you did!! I'm done now though!
Posted on Thursday, September 25, 2008 - 12:01 am:
Thank you Jos. I'm right on board with your sentiments.
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